Here's something which is cause for optimism: Sadiq Khan has appointed a deputy mayor, Joanne McCartney, to lead on education - including early education and childcare. At the 2017 Mayor's Education Conference last week, in a gloriously sunny City Hall, Khan also clearly stated his commitment to high quality early education, and better availability of childcare.
|The view from London's City Hall|
In the Manor Park hub, which is where I am based, schools, settings from the private and voluntary sector, and childminders have been working hard, together, to improve quality and to make the whole system easier to access for parents.
We have a way to go yet, but the impact of the last few years of work has been impressive and a tribute to the joint efforts we have made and our determination to keep doing better.
In Manor Park all the early years group provision - whether in schools, or in private or independent settings - is graded Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.
Childminder quality has improved significantly and is close to the average for England.
Over 75% of children eligible for a free place at the age of two are now accessing that place.
Outcomes by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage in Manor Park are ahead of the national average, too. In summer 2016:
- 69.3% of children nationally achieved a Good Level of Development (PDF);
- 72% of children in Manor Park achieved a Good Level Of Development
But it does mean we have made some progress towards our big goal: working with parents to give children in a disadvantaged part of East London the best possible chance to develop as happy, curious and eager learners, pupils, students and citizens in a great world city.
So, what could the GLA hope to achieve by developing a new early years hubs programme across London?
At the Mayor's Education Conference, I argued that the current Early Years system suffers from disconnection, especially if your family is not well off. Whilst it seems unarguable to me that more must be done to reduce the shocking number of children living in poverty across London, improvements in public services can also make an important difference to children's life chances.