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Villagers suffer lower lifespans

RESIDENTS in Langley and Sut- ton Valence share the reduced life expectancy of their counterparts in poorer parts of Maidstone. While the electoral wards with

the lowest life expectancy coincide with higher deprivation rates – Park Wood, High Street, Shepway North and Shepway South – com- paratively well-off Heath is at the bottom of the list, with Langley and Sutton Valence coming a surpris- ingly close second, according to a report.

Langley Parish Council chairman

Cllr Cheryl Taylor-Maggio said: “This report reinforces whatwe al- ready knew – that we have a high percentage of social housing in our villages and don’t need any more.” The average life expectancy for someone living in Downswood and Otham is 85 – while in Heath it is just 76. In Sutton Valence and Lan- gley, it is 77. A spokesman for Maidstone Council said: “Not only does this gap mean that those living in the most deprived areas of Maidstone have a shorter life expectancy, they

also have a lower disability-free life expectancy than others in our com- munities.” Cllr Taylor-Maggio said: “We

have a number of residents who have come from some of the most deprived areas of Medway and who are very glad to be living here. We get a bit of vandalism and occa- sional problems with young peo- ple, the same as anywhere else, but, on the whole, the village ticks along quitewell.” The borough’s health andwellbe-

ing group is aiming to reduce health inequalities during the next 10 years through improved hous- ing and education, by supporting lifestyle changes and targeting areas and priority groups. Ideas include helping new moth-

ers make the best choices in relation to smoking, drinking and breast feeding, aswell as more support to teenage mums and women at risk from domestic abuse. As children get older, the aim

would be to tackle obesity, increase children’s physical activity and im- prove immunisation rates.

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Back row fromleft: Samuel, Finley, Poppy-Mae, Toby, Reece, Zak; front row: Aidan, Maya, Cameron, Camron

Young learners graduate

LITTLE Learners Nursery in Loose held a graduation ceremony for pre- schoolers as they left for primary school. The children enjoyed cream teas in the sunshine with their families and members of staff.

School standards ‘improving’

STAFF at Coxheath Primary School areworking hard to raise standards after an Ofsted inspection last year judged it to require improvement. A recent inspection report said

the head, Caroline Robinson, was focused on leading the school rather than managing it, and teach- ing was more consistent across the school. Pupils felt more challenged and

felt they were making better progress – a belief borne out in the

tracking ofwork. However, there was concern

about lack of progress in year 3, particularly in writing. There had been improvements in managing behaviour, but pupils said there was still “rough and un- kind” behaviour in the playground, which staff dealt with. The inspector stressed the impor-

tance of maintaining improve- ments as new staff came into the school.

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