Early Years Strategy has been ‘fumbled’

editorial image

Early years children have a massive ‘word gap’ in their vocabulary and in general are “not ready for school,” Peterborough City Council’s Health & Wellbeing Committee heard.

Liz Robin, director of public health, said in developing an Early Years Strategy for children aged three to five: “We have totally fumbled it, and we need to bring it back together. The early years agenda needs a real push.”

She added: “We are very concerned about Peterborough where a high proportion are not ready for school. In Reception class this can be up to 30 per cent of children. The services are being provided, but the most disadvantaged families are the least equipped to access them, so we must find new ways to use what we are doing.

“While there is committed leadership across both Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, and the shared platform is good practice to achieve a better outcome for early years children, there are some serious challenges ahead, not the least of which is bringing together a multi-agency strategy to provide the right support for disadvantaged families.” Earlier this month it was revealed Peterborough was bottom of the SATs table.