The early years sector has been applauded in Ofsted's fourth annual report on schools and further education released this week. It highlighted positive outcomes for children in the early years and also for primary schools with 85% now rated good or outstanding, up from 82% last year.
In contrast, HM Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw stressed in the report an educational divide at the age of 11, with secondary schools performing well overall in the South but struggling to improve in the North and Midlands.
The report shows that while the proportion of good and outstanding secondary schools increased overall this year, from 71% in 2014 to 74%, there has been greater improvement in the South, where 79% of schools are now good or outstanding. In the North and Midlands just 68% of secondary schools are good or better.
The report concluded that the early years sector had never been stronger and there have been significantly positive gains in educational outcomes throughout the UK.
Wilshaw said that: “Focus in early education must be on ensuring more disadvantaged children begin primary school with a good level of development.”