Why is it an issue?
Levels of educational and emotional development in Devon at school entry are lower than the national average, and further work is needed to understand and address this.
What is the position in Devon?
The latest published results for the 2010-11 academic year indicate that whilst 83% of children nationally and 83% of children in the South West had a score indicating good emotional wellbeing, this figure was lower in Devon at 79%. In Devon there are approximately 37,000 children under five years.
What is the evidence of effective interventions?
A child’s physical, social and cognitive development during the early years strongly influences their school-readiness and educational attainment, economic participation and health. A ‘Call to Action 2011-2015’ will ensure an increase in health visitor capacity to support early years and Devon has a network of Children’s Centres and family support services including parenting programmes. The Board need to monitor the impact on equity of services for all children in Devon with a focus on those in greatest need. Maternal health, including stress, diet, drug, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy has significant influence on foetal and early brain development.
“All the evidence is that if we get things right for young children and their parents at this early age, there is a life-time health benefit for individuals and communities.”