YEP Says, October 27: Are we failing our children even before school?

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HOW can teachers be expected to perform miracles in the classroom when so many under-fives in this region are failing the most basic reading and writing tests when they begin their education?

This is the question that goes to the heart of today’s annual State of the North report, published by the IPPR North think-tank, which cites early years education a key concern.

Surely the much talked-of ambition for the Northern Powerhouse won’t deliver its full potential unless more young people from Yorkshire become more proficient at school. This is borne out by disturbing data which reveals that just 47 per cent of children from the poorest backgrounds in the North have achieved a good level of development when they start full-time school compared to nearly 60 per cent of comparable children in London.

The size of this disparity cannot be ignored. And where does the responsibility lie? With the nursery schools? Or with the parents?

Perhaps the Government and LEAs need to find a more effective way of identifying those children falling behind their peers, rather than continuing their ideological war of words over academies, free schools and so on, so remedial action can be taken.

Irrespective of their background, all youngsters have the right to the best education possible.

Doing nothing is simply not an option – it will simply lead to another generation of young people leaving school with inadequate qualifications and, therefore, becoming an even greater drain on the welfare system because of the lost potential.

A smart way to help the homeless

The Yorkshire Evening Post is delighted to be teaming up with our friends at StreetSmart again this year to raise money for Leeds homeless charities.

So far, a dozen local eateries have signed up for the annual campaign which raised a staggering £21,000 last year. The StreetSmart initiative sees participating restaurants add a discretionary £1 to their customers’ bills.

If you’re eating out - and see the logo with the menu, please support this worthy campaign.