Hartlepool has been tipped as one of the top for helping to close the gender gap which puts girls ahead of boys in their basic language and communication skills as they start school
A Save the Children report puts the town as one of the best council areas in England for the difference between the genders.
Although the Save the Children report identifies Hartlepool as having one of the lowest gender gaps in terms of basic language and communication skills, we are not complacent and are constantly looking for ways of building on current good practice to further address this key issue.Hartlepool Borough Council
The study found children are struggling to speak in full sentences or follow simple instructions, crucial skills in learning to read and write.
Boys are less likely to take part in activities including story-telling and nursery rhymes, stay focused on a task or have the concentration, motivation and self-confidence to learn.
It can impact on job prospects, health, relationships and behaviour.
In Hartlepool, 23% of boys did not meet the standard, while 15% of girls did not reach the level, with a gender gap of 8.5% identified by the University of Bristol research.
The figures put it in joint seventh place, with the lowest gap found in Richmond-upon-Thames.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “As a local authority, we are committed to giving children in Hartlepool the best possible start in life and supporting them to achieve their full potential.
“As a result of setting up the Hartlepool Education Commission last year with the aim of improving education outcomes for all children, we have a clear strategy for closing gaps in early years development and raising outcomes for all children and young people through targeted interventions.
“A lot of valuable pre-school work is carried out by children’s services staff, through the town’s network of children’s centres for example, and also by health colleagues in terms of promoting early childhood development.
“Although the Save the Children report identifies Hartlepool as having one of the lowest gender gaps in terms of basic language and communication skills, we are not complacent and are constantly looking for ways of building on current good practice to further address this key issue.”