MORE of Oxfordshire’s youngest children are reaching expected standards in the first years of school.

The proportion of children in the foundation stage judged to be “making a good level of development” rose from 63 per cent in 2011 to 68 per cent – above the national average and higher than the county’s statistical neighbours.

Oxfordshire came third out of 11 similar counties across the country.

Oxfordshire County Council education cabinet member Melinda Tilley said: “The progress at foundation stage in the last couple of years has been encouraging. It suggests a better future for achievement at all levels of education in Oxfordshire.

“We’ve recently seen better Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 1 results and, of course, the groundwork for those children is done when they are in the earliest days at school and learning the basics. “It goes without saying that while we celebrate these results, we absolutely must not become complacent. “Continued improvement across all parts of Oxfordshire, and in all age ranges, is what is required.”

Nationally, 64 per cent of pupils were deemed to have made a good level of development.

The improvements in Oxfordshire echoed those made nationally, where there was also a five percentage point increase in children achieving a good level of development.

Youngsters are judged across a range of measures, including communication, language and literacy, personal, social and emotional development.