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Education Committee calls for early years strategy to tackle disadvantage

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Thursday, 7 February, 2019

The House of Commons Education Committee has today released a report outlining a number of concerns about the impact of government's early years policy on the most disadvantaged children.

We welcome the Committee's report, in particular its calls for:

  • sustainable funding for maintained nursery schools as the most effective engines of social mobility in the education sector
  • greater focus on the importance of workforce quality, and in particular the call for Early Years Teachers to be able to access Qualified Teacher Status via a specialist route
  • the development of an early years workforce strategy that focuses on increasing the number of graduates in disadvantaged areas
  • a review of the 30 hours policy to address unintended consequences for disadvantaged children

We also welcome the Committee's focus on the importance of joined up service provision in the early years and the key role of children's centres in bringing together health and other services to provide parents with integrated help and support.

Early Education's Chief Executive, Beatrice Merrick commented:

"There is clear evidence that growing up in poverty impacts hugely on children's life chances, and the single most effective way to tackle that is to tackle poverty itself.  However, improved early years services including high quality education can mitigate some of the effects of poverty and give children a better start in life.  We welcome this report from the Education Committee, which encourages government to rebalance its early years policy towards increasing the quality of provision for the most disadvantaged families, and away from subsidies for the better off.  In particular, we welcome their messages about the importance of maintained nursery schools, qualified teachers with an early years specialism and revisiting how children's centres (or family hubs) can provide seamless and effective support for families."

Notes to editors: 

Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education) is the leading independent national charity for early years practitioners and parents, campaigning for the right of all children to education of the highest quality. Founded in 1923, it has members in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and provides a national voice on matters that relate to effective early childhood education and care of young children from birth to eight. The organisation supports the professional development of practitioners through publications, training, conferences, seminars and access to a national and regional branch network. For more information on the work of Early Education visit www.early-education.org.uk