CHILDREN are being ‘left behind’ by the education system in Hillingdon, according to a London Mayor hopeful.
Dame Tessa Jowell, who is in the running to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor, points to analysis by the House of Commons Library which shows that in 2014, 48% of children failed to achieve the expected level of development aged five.
The figures suggest Hillingdon is the worstperforming borough in London, children failing to achieve the expected standard in communication is particularly poor, at 31%.
Dame Tessa said: “We should all be shocked and galvanised to action by these figures which tell a story of nearly half of Hillingdon children beginning on a path that will take them to a lifetime of inequality and denied opportunity.
“What is even more shocking is that this waste of potential can be prevented by support for very young families and children in the first 1,000 days of their life to ensure that when they get to school they are ready for school and ready to learn.”
The politician, who was MP for Dulwich and West Norwood until May and a former Culture Secretary under Tony Blair, has said she would make £61m a year available to support development in a child’s first 1,000 days.
She added: “If I become Mayor of London I will act immediately to restore Sure Start to its founding purpose and ensure that every child has every chance.”
Cllr David Simmonds, Hillingdon cabinet member for education and children’s services, said: “The council is holding schools and other providers rigorously to account for their performance and challenging Ofsted to fulfil their responsibility to drive improvement.”
The five disciplines measured in the research are: communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development, literacy and mathematics.
n CANDIDATE: Tessa Jowell