Thousands of children are ‘falling behind in their first five years of life’, are not ready to learn and struggle with their health and wellbeing, reveals an early years manifesto that urges Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “level up” for young children with post-lockdown support. 

The stark truth facing the early years sector ‘obstructs’ England’s path to a more prosperous future and ‘we will never truly level up if we don’t recognise this’, states the cross-party Early Years Commission’s manifesto, published by think tank the Centre for Social Justice and the Fabian Society. 

Almost all (99%) of the 3,023 adults polled in England last December believed that the early years sector has not been prioritised by the Government during the pandemic, and the Early Years Commission calls for post-Covid-19 support for young children and their parents with action taken by 2030. 

More than two million families with children under five live in poverty, and poverty is rising fast in young children, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. At three years old, children in poverty are almost one and a half years behind their more affluent peers when it comes to language development. 

The manifesto states action must be taken not just by Boris Johnson’s government but by local government, community organisations, the private sector, parents, and society as a whole with more investment needed. 

Purnima Tanuku chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “The fact that only 1% of the public believe the Government is investing enough in our children’s earliest years is a damning indictment of the current offers. 

“We back the commission’s recommendations to address underfunding in early years to make sure providers are sustainable and children are truly at the heart of the policy.” 

The full story and manifesto can be read here. 


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