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Report questions value of early years education

A new paper has been published suggesting that early education places in nurseries have had 'no long term benefit' on children's development, since the Labour government introduced free part time pre-school education in 1998.

Victoria Flint, PACEY's Head of Communications said, "The suggestion that early years education has a limited impact on long term outcomes for children goes against a strong body of evidence which highlights the extremely positive role that early years education plays in people's lives. The recent study published by EPPSE project highlighted that children attending early years education receive 'enduring benefits', including better GCSE results and improved earning potential.

"Attending pre-school has a wealth of other benefits for children that were not analysed as part of this study, including the opportunity to mix and socialise with children of different backgrounds and cultures.

"The vast majority of evidence shows that high quality childcare is one of the most effective ways of helping reduce the gap in inequality in the early years, and in boosting children's life chances. It is important to recognise that these high quality learning environments exist across a wide of childcare settings, with home-based childminders as well as in nurseries. Helping parents to access the right childcare provision to suit their needs is vital to ensure a healthy early years sector that delivers the best outcomes for children.

"PACEY is working with government, policy makers and the sector to ensure we are doing all we can to support childcare professionals and helping families to access high quality early years care across a range of settings, especially those in disadvantage."

The paper is based on research carried out by the University of Surrey, University of Essex and the Institute of Education (IOE), based upon observations of 1.2 million children who took up their early education place at age three from 2002-2007.