Almost half of five-year-olds do not have a good level of behaviour and understanding in their first year of school, according to research.
The stark inequalities in children’s development between local authorities is revealed by data published by the Marmot Review.
It shows that 44% of all five-year-olds in England are considered by their teachers to be falling behind in their development. This assessment is based on levels of behaviour and understanding.
In Solihull in the West Midlands, almost seven in 10 youngsters (69.3%) are considered to have a good level of development, while in Richmond upon Thames, west London, this figure is 68.8%. See file at right for a full breakdown of the Early Years figures by region and local authority area.
But in other parts of the country, children are lagging far behind.
In Haringey, north London, considered to be one of the most disadvantaged areas of England, just 41.9% of five-year-olds have a good level of development.
This means that the majority of children in the borough, 58.1%, are falling behind.
Low proportions of children in Brent, north London (44.5%), and Newham, east London (44.6%), are also considered to be making good progress.
The figures were released to mark the first anniversary of the Marmot Review: Fair Society, Healthy Lives.
The original review was commissioned by the previous government to look at health inequalities in England.
Sir Michael Marmot said: “Health inequalities are a tragic waste of life and health and cost this country tens of billions of pounds every year in lost productivity, welfare payments and costs to the NHS from ill health.”
He said the coalition government was “working in the right direction” by transferring the responsibility of preventing ill health to local authorities.
He added: “We need to ensure that local authorities invest money and expertise to ensure long-term reductions in health inequalities.”