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Greater Manchester has closed the regions educational gap

New figures from the Department for Education shows that Greater Manchester has now closed the educational equality gap between local young children eligible for free school meals and the rest of the country.

The statistics mean that 56% of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are starting school ready to learn, showing a 4% increase since 2015/16, the equivalent of 250 children.

There is a coloration between deprivation and school readiness levels, meaning these results are particularly positive, given the higher levels of deprivation in Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester’s goal to increase the number of children starting school ready to learn to above the national average in the next two years is looking likely following the release of these numbers.

Funded through the Department of Education, the Pathways to Talking programme is working with the ten local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, NHS providers, primary schools, early years providers and voluntary sector organisations.

The £1.5m programme is supporting a range of initiatives across Greater Manchester including:

  • In Wigan, parent champions are being created to deliver training and support to other parents in relation to progressing their child’s speech and language.
  • In Manchester, identifying children in school who would benefit from additional support in their reception year to develop their language skills
  • In Bury work is taking place to explore the role of the library service in helping children develop their language skills

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester continues to lead the way in tackling the issue of school readiness, working together innovatively and doing things differently to make sure no child is left behind.

“The positive impact of this work on families and children across Greater Manchester cannot be underestimated. That we have now closed the gap between children from our most disadvantaged communities and the rest of the country is testament to the pioneering reforms of our early years provision here in Greater Manchester. I’m confident that we are heading in the right direction, and I hope it spurs everyone to go further and faster.”


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