Warwick district named among worst areas in the country for early years provision

Warwick district has been rated as one of the worst area in the country for its early years provision, a new report has revealed.

Tuesday, 28th November 2017, 6:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 3:40 am
Protestors including Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western campaigning to keep children's centres in Warwickshire open

The report by the Social Mobility Commission ranked the district as 29th worst out of 324 local authorities in the category, which focuses on how likely poorer young children will do at school.

The report ranks authorities by looking at the percentage of nursery providers rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by Ofsted, and the percentage of children eligible for free school meals achieving a ‘good level of development’ by the end of the early years period.

It states: "Experiences in the first few years of life play a critical role in shaping later development. In fact, learning and development at this stage matters more than at any other.

The news comes just a day before a key decision by Warwickshire County Council on whether to definitely close 25 of its 39 children's centres and replace the other 14 with 'children and family hubs'.

The county council will vote on the proposals at a meeting on Wednesday November 29, starting at 10am.

The Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington, Matt Western, who is also a county councillor, said: "“The news that Warwickshire scores amongst the worst in the country for its early years provision is a disgrace in itself, but along with Warwickshire County Council’s decision to close many of our children’s centres, it’s utterly tragic for our young people in Warwick & Leamington.

"It’s about time we properly funded our children’s centres, instead of implementing over £1 million of cuts as the council is doing, to give every child in our area that start in life they deserve.

"In light of this research, Warwickshire County Council must shelve its plans for cuts and to close so many of our children’s centres, in tomorrow’s special council meeting. Myself and my Labour colleagues have been calling on the council to use their substantial reserves to keep our children’s centres open.”