Under the new Key Stage 2 assessments, only 66% of 11-year-olds read at the expected level in 2016. Thousands of children are leaving primary school without the literacy skills that they need to succeed in life. The impact on their learning, employability and life chances is significant.


Multi-level modelling was used to investigate the effects of pre-school quality on children’s academic and social-behavioural outcomes at age 11. Pre-school quality significantly predicted most outcomes, after taking account of key child and family factors. More importantly, children who attended low quality pre-schools had cognitive and behavioural scores that were not significantly different from those of children with no pre-school experience.


Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I. and Taggart, B., 2011. Pre-school quality and educational outcomes at age 11: Low quality has little benefit. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 9(2), pp.109-124.


The quality of pre-school centres is directly related to better intellectual/cognitive and social/behavioural development in children.


Settings which have staff with higher quaifications, especially with a godd proportion of trained teachers on the staff, show higher quality and their children make more progress.


Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Taggart, B. and Elliot, K., 2003. The effective provision of pre-school education (EPPE) project: Findings from the pre-school period. Institute of Education, University of London and SureStart, London, England.


"Because a good start is a head start"

Five-year-olds with poor language and literacy development face a substantially higher risk of low achievement at age seven and beyond eight.


Access to good quality early education has been shown to be one important route through which young children’s early language development can be strengthened.


The qualification of child care staff can vary greatly from nursery to nursery and there are large differences between the private and school nurseries.


“In 2013, just 13% of staff in private full day care nurseries had a degree, compared to 35% in school nurseries. Only three out of five (59%) full day care nurseries had at least one member of staff qualified to degree level in a relevant subject, compared to 100% of school nurseries.”


The Power of Reading, Save the Children. (2015) Report

Poor quality early education is a particular problem for children attending private nurseries. School nurseries serving deprived neighbourhoods typically provide good quality early education on a par with those in wealthier neighbourhoods. And children living in poverty are more likely to attend school nurseries than their better-off peers. However, the quality of private nurseries is, on average, lower in deprived neighbourhoods. Only graduate-led nurseries are able to close the quality gap with nurseries in wealthier neighbourhoods (Mathers and Smee 2014).



National Literacy Trust (2015/16), State of the Nation and Impact Report