IT'S never too early to ensure a child has a bright and successful future ahead of them.

And now a pilot programme to ensure youngsters are ready and eager to learn by the time they start school is being rolled out across the borough.

Figures show that 66.1 per cent of Bolton children achieved 'a good level of development' at Early Years Foundation Stage this, and although this is another year-on-year improvement, the borough's performance remains in the bottom quartile nationally.

Now the council says it is working to ensure that 'every child in Bolton has the emotional and social skills and levels of development which will allow them to start school ready to learn, thrive and be happy' .

A successful pilot programme to ensure youngsters are ready and eager to learn by the time they start school is being rolled out across the borough.

The programme — the Early Years New Delivery Model (EYNDM) — was trialled at Oxford Grove in April 2014 to empower parents to help their child reach their potential before he or she is even born.

So successful was it, the programme, within existing resources, is being rolled out across Bolton to ensure more children are school ready at the age of five.

Jan Robinson, from Bolton Council children's services, said: "If we can improve children's learning and development in the early years we give them a much better chance later on in school, particularly in communication and language. It is a huge barrier if you start school and you don't have those skills.

"We know the research says children more likely to do well in Key Stages One, Two, Three, Four, and are more likely to go to university, more likely earn a salary in excess of £25,00."

She added: "We started the pilot in 2014 to 2016 and finished in April this year, extending it a little bit longer.

"We start in pregnancy so midwives start with messages in pregnancy, messages around talking to your baby and midwives do a lot around preparing for parenthood.

"We are trying to roll out as much as we can at a borough wide level."

Under the scheme, those who work with children have been brought together, including health visitors, midwives and other specialists as part of a 'multi-agency' work rather than them working independently of each other. Children's development from birth to five-years is tracked and and so that children who are not assesses as not developing in line with aged-related expectations are identified much early and helped to to be ready for school.

Parents have been able to take part in the Incredible Years Parenting Course for babies and toddlers. The course focusses on play, praise and rewards, limit setting and effective discipline as well helping children's personal and social development.

Mrs Robinson said: "We have Baby Incredible Years and also a toddler one and the feedback from parents was so good. They were saying it was kind of life-changing it made them really think around parenting and the impact they have, their behaviour has, on how their child behaves.

"They would learn interactions, around setting boundaries and have that responsibility and it is not good to say yes and let them get away and how your own mood actually affects your children.

"It's a 14 week programme so it is a big commitment and had a really good retention level."

"We now have 12 programme planned from January until December right across Bolton."

The course is designed to empower parents to make the right decisions themselves and following the course parents are keeping in touch on social media.

Parents work with health visitors to monitor the development of the child. Families have been taking part in special age-related playing session, which they can do with their child at home.

Although for some families courses such as this can help children breakaway from deprivation, for others it can provide tips particularly for parents who are 'time-poor' as families today work long hours.

And said Mrs Robinson future plans are to provide information and advice for parents online and via an app.

Recently councillors,. Linda Thomas Ann Cunliffe and Madeline Murray visited earlier year settings in Bolton to see for themselves the work being done to make children school ready.

Cllr Linda Thomas, deputy leader of Bolton Council, said: "We have previously met the families because they wanted to tell us how much they enjoyed being on it and how much it had changed their lives."