GM Community of Practice

Huge thanks to Miriam Loxham, GM School Readiness Project Manager for this blog post about last week’s Community of Practice event.

Measuring School Readiness – GM Community of Practice Event

GM Pathways to Talking is one part of the wider Greater Manchester School Readiness programme which brings together partners from across GM to work collectively on ways to improve children’s readiness to learn.    Greater Manchester remains an outlier in Early Years outcomes compared to the national average, with only 68% of all eligible children achieving a good level of development (GLD) at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (reception) in academic year 2017/18, compared with 71.5% nationally. This represents 11,800 children in GM who are starting school not ready to learn.  We know this is harming the life chances of thousands of children and the programme aims to address through tackling some of our biggest challenges – including speech, language and communication outcomes.  

Last Monday over 70 stakeholders from a range of organisations attended a Community of Practice event to look at how we can use data to broaden our understanding of school readiness. The Community of Practice is an opportunity for practitioners, policy officers, analysts and wider stakeholders to come together to discuss the key issues around school readiness and early years provision in Greater Manchester. Past workshops have looked at monitoring and data frameworks; delivering the GM Early Years Delivery Model; and using data for the early identification of need.

Attendees heard from experts in the use of data within the context of early years outcomes, including Leon Feinstein, Director of Evidence at the Early Intervention Foundation; Professor Ruth Lupton from the University of Manchester; Professor Deborah James from Manchester Metropolitan University and Dr Caroline White who leads the Children and Parents Service for Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Discussions focussed on strengths and challenges of the current approach of using the Good Level of Development measure and considered other measures that could be used to produce a holistic assessment of a child’s development. Attendees came from a range of professional backgrounds and organisations so conversations were diverse and lively! Outputs from the event will inform further work to develop a GM measure for school readiness. 

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