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Mayor of Manchester urges all public sector bodies to support 'school readiness'

Mayor of Manchester urges all public sector bodies to support 'school readiness'

The mayor of Manchester has announced plans to ask all public sector bodies to sign a pledge to work together in improving school readiness for children age four.
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The mayor of Manchester has announced plans to ask all public sector bodies to sign a pledge to work together in improving school readiness for children age four.

Speaking at NHS England’s Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester today, Andy Burnham, who is also a former shadow health secretary, said improving school readiness would ‘galvanise the public sector’ in the city.

Greater Manchester has been a devolved city since 2015, when responsibility for its health economy was given to local authorities.

Mr Burnham told delegates: ‘The postcode of the bed you're born in still determines where you end up in life.

‘I came into politics to change that and yet it isn't changing. If anything it's getting worse.’

He said that by focusing on getting children ready to start school by age four, early intervention is ‘put in such a way it unites all of the public sector’.

The mayor said that he would be asking all public sector bodies to work on the initiative next month.

He said: ‘This isn't an agenda that's based on a judgemental approach to say these are - to use the Whitehall jargon - troubled families. Well no, it's hard to be a young parent these days.’

He added: ‘If we improve school readiness at age four, we will improve life chances, we will improve people's health over the rest of their lives.’

In his speech Mr Burnham also urged NHS managers to move away from the idea of ‘top-down policies’.

He said: ‘We've got to cut it a completely different way and this is the opportunity that devolution gives us, to build from the bottom up and actually to address challenges where the public and the community are equal partners in that endeavour.’

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