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Study confirms positive impact of quality early education

By Rachel Lawler
child playing with blocks
Children who spend time in quality early education are more likely to have improved language and non-verbal skills, according to the latest Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) report.
Published by the Department for Education (DfE), the report confirms that early education has a positive impact on children, regardless of their household income and disadvantage level.
Positive trends
The study said that these positive trends were consistent across different regions in England and different levels of disadvantage.
While a child’s home learning environment was also found to be important in improving their outcomes at age four, the study suggested that even children with the most stimulating home environments would benefit from spending time in early education.
However, the study could not conclude on a specific number of hours spent in early education or care that would be the most beneficial for children.
Quality practitioners
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Alliance, said: “In recent years the debate around what the early years should look like seems to have shifted. We’ve moved away from a child-focussed approach to one more concerned with practitioners’ qualifications and children’s school readiness.
"But, even if the conversation has moved on, the facts haven’t changed. The latest findings from SEED’s research are testament to that. It’s pretty clear: children – especially those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds - benefit from high quality practitioners, not necessarily those with the highest qualifications, and their childcare should address their broader needs as children, rather fixate on literacy and numeracy.
"With the return of baseline assessment and the regular headlines about school readiness we can sometimes lose sight of this. Ministers and other commentators would do well to reflect on this research – and ask if their priorities align with the high quality, broad early education this report makes clear is best for children."
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