Early Years

91% of children aged 2-4 years are not meeting Chief Medical Officer guidelines and therefore missing opportunities to develop the physical, mental and emotional health benefits.

Children starting school ready to learn is fundamental to supporting good outcomes later in life. There is strong evidence which shows us that physical literacy is an important feature of giving young people the best start in life. We know that sedentary behaviour during early years moderately to largely predicts sedentary behaviour during middle childhood. We also know that physical activity levels also track into adulthood, highlighting the importance of creating positive activity habits from an early age.

The Greater Manchester picture

  • Seven out of ten boroughs are below the national average for reaching the least expected level of physical development.
  • There is a 7.8% gap between boroughs in children achieving the expected level for physical development (EYFS Profile, 2018/19)
  • In the 2018/19 school year, 68.2% of children achieved a good level of development, compared with 71.8% nationally (GM -marmot review March 2020)

Our aim

The Start Well ambition will work with key partners and Early Years professionals through the GM physical development task and finish group to support and embed a best practice pathway for Physical development across GM. The pathway forms part of the School Readiness programme which aims to drive improvements in early years services and school readiness which supports the wider priorities set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy and GM Children’s Health and Wellbeing Framework.

Through our work with the Greater Manchester physical development group we will raise awareness of the importance of physical activity from birth, and help to embed physical activity with all relevant professionals. This includes Health Visitors, School Nurses, Physical Activity and Sport providers, PE Specialists in school, and volunteers who work closely with families. We will also continue to support the workforce who interact with families and children under 5 to embrace the role that physical activity can play to support school readiness, physical and mental health and wellbeing.

At-home guidance created to support parents and carers

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we worked with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) with support from the Greater Manchester School Readiness Physical Development Task and Finish Group to create at-home guidance to keep children under 5 moving.

The set of leaflets have been created to provide guidance to parents and carers to support their children’s physical development, from birth through to starting school.

Find out more about the work to create the leaflets here and download the leaflets on this page under the heading 'At-home guidance leaflets'.