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Achieving for Children? Not if you are poor in Kingston

Research into attainment on government criteria by five year olds in London shows that those who are pooorest, measured by eligibility for a free school meal, are in danger of  attaining far less than their peers in other London boroughs. It is a disgrace that those children who are poorest in Kingston and Richmond are more likely to have low attainment than their peers in any other borough in London. It is shameful that Kingston and Richmond are the worst boroughs in London at helping those from the poorest families. What a shocking indictment of 12 years of Liberal Democrat administration. And the Tories are doing nothing to remedy the situation. If anything the educational muddle that is Kingston is getting worse.  Labour demands action. It is totally unacceptable to allow this situation to continue.

New analysis from the office of Tessa Jowell reveals that children on free school meals in Kingston are 70% more likely to fall behind in school than their peers by the age of five.

Kingston is the second worst-performing borough in London for standards among five-year-olds on Free School Meals compared to those not on Free School Meals, below only Richmond, with which it shares services (see table below).

In all, 56% of Kingston children on free school meals were found to be below the standard expected by the age of five. That compares to just 33% of children not on free school meals.

Across London, children on Free School Meals in London are 37% more likely than those not on Free School Meals to fall short of the expected level of development by the end of the year at school in which they turn five. In 2014, 10,123 children on Free School Meals fell short. That’s nearly half (48%) of all London children of that age. In contrast, just 35% of those not on Free School Meals failed to make the grade.

In all, 15 boroughs saw at least half of their five-year-olds from poorer backgrounds failing to meet the expected standard (see table below).

Tessa Jowell said:

“Poor children in more affluent boroughs face a double disadvantage. They lose so many opportunities because their families are poor, and for too many their school fails to help them and their family compensate for this disadvantage. Result – a shocking waste for potential.”

“That’s why if I become Mayor of London I will act immediately to restore Sure Start to its founding purpose, to address precisely this challenge and waste of potential so young families get the support they need and we ensure that every London child has every chance.”

Laurie South, Labour’s candidate in Grove Ward which has a by-election on Thursday 16th July said:

“These are shaming figures which show how both the Liberal Democrats and now the Tories are letting down children from poorer backgrounds in Kingston. The Tories and Liberal Democrats are bombarding your doorstep with leaflets attacking each other but there is not a mention of the way they have let down children in Grove Ward so badly. It’s a story of unequal chances, and one the council needs to start taking seriously before thousands more Kingston children are left behind. This is an issue I will be taking up with real anger if elected. ”

Here is how the research was undertaken.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is a teacher assessment of children’s development at the end of the academic year in which the child turns five. There are five areas of learning covering 17 early learning goals (ELGs). Children achieving a ‘good level of development’ (GLD) are those achieving at least the expected level within the following areas of communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; and mathematics. Those who do not achieve the GLD are not reaching the expected level of development for five-year-olds.

The assessment is primarily based on observing a child’s daily activities and events. Accurate assessment takes in a range of perspectives; these should include those of the child, parents, and other adults that have significant interaction with the child.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-profile-handbook/introduction–27#eyfs-profile

Data has been compiled by the House of Commons Library from government-sourced statistics including Early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) assessments, by pupil characteristics in England, for academic year 2013 to 2014The table attached shows London children’s attainment levels for the 2013/14 school year, broken down by borough, learning area and by gender. This is a comprehensive analysis of over 100,000 London children, based on teachers’ direct assessments.

 

% children on Free School Meals not achieving expected development

% children not on Free School Meals not achieving expected development

Difference FSM vs non-FSM

% children on FSM

City of London

..

..

n/a

12%

Richmond upon Thames

64

34

88%

7%

Kingston upon Thames

56

33

70%

10%

Havering

51

31

65%

16%

Bromley

49

30

63%

13%

Sutton

60

37

62%

13%

Bexley

38

25

52%

17%

Merton

56

38

47%

13%

Redbridge

50

34

47%

13%

Barnet

47

32

47%

15%

Camden

57

39

46%

29%

Greenwich

35

24

46%

22%

Lewisham

32

22

45%

25%

Southwark

45

31

45%

23%

Kensington and Chelsea

56

39

44%

25%

Islington

51

36

42%

41%

Wandsworth

48

34

41%

19%

Harrow

52

37

41%

11%

London

48

35

37%

20%

Hammersmith and Fulham

49

36

36%

25%

Outer London

49

36

36%

16%

Hillingdon

61

45

36%

15%

Haringey

48

36

33%

25%

Lambeth

53

40

33%

30%

Ealing

45

34

32%

16%

Inner London

46

35

31%

27%

Enfield

51

40

28%

23%

Hounslow

51

40

28%

16%

Croydon

52

41

27%

23%

Westminster

48

39

23%

31%

Newham

40

33

21%

25%

Barking and Dagenham

47

39

21%

23%

Brent

49

41

20%

16%

Waltham Forest

42

36

17%

17%

Hackney

39

34

15%

27%

Tower Hamlets

49

43

14%

36%

Restoring Sure Start for London

How children are treated in the first 1000 days from conception to their second birthday shapes their lives – and ultimately our society. Loving, secure and reliable relationships with parents, together with the quality of the home learning environment are responsible for fostering a child’s:

·         Emotional well-being

·         Capacity to form and maintain positive relationships with others

·         Brain development (80% of brain development takes place by age 3)

·         Language development

·         Ability to learn

Tessa has previously announced a £61m a year fund to support development in a child’s first 1,000 days. This will be match-funded with local authorities who are prepared to support this vision. The funding will be available to London boroughs to fund three crucial elements of provision for young children. These are:

·         Universal services for parents and babies

·         Targeted services for parents in need of additional help

·         Re-establishing Sure Start as a community mission