Middlesbrough has been named as the worst area in the country for the number of children who are ill prepared for starting school.
The town led in the Ofsted findings, with South Tyneside emerging second.
The report from the Policy Exchange found parents living in the most deprived parts of the country receive the poorest childcare, leaving youngstest ill equipped for full-time education.
The report says that the gap between childcare in rich and poor areas needs to be reduced.
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A pet pooch left his home in Darlington to join a search party on his own accord - and found a missing elderly woman.
A driver and passenger have been robbed at knife-point while sitting in a stationary vehicle in Stockton.
Police are appealing to trace the owners of suspected stolen jewellery which has been found by a member of the public near Middlesbrough.