The latest Social Mobility Commission report reveals that failures in early years education in England is creating a huge gap between the poorest children and their counterparts, and leaving many children starting school already behind their peers, which have life-long consequences. According to the report, at current rates of progress, it will take 15 years before all children are school ready and 40 years before the attainment gap between poor 5 year olds and their better-off counterparts is closed.
In response, Kevin Watkins, Chief executive of Save the Children said: “It’s nothing short of a scandal that in this day and age, so many of our children are falling behind in their learning from the start and left to stay behind throughout their lives.
“We all know that unless we get education right in the early years of a child’s life, so many of them – especially the poorest – will struggle right through to their GCSEs and beyond; into the world of work and even in their relationships.
“But while there has been a welcome government focus on providing free hours of nursery care, not nearly enough has been done to improve the quality of nursery education. When we have a shortage of 10,000 qualified nursery teachers and hundreds of thousands of children starting school are already behind their peers, it is time government made the quality of our nurseries a top priority.
“If we truly want to be a fair and prosperous society, we need to start at the beginning and give every child – no matter what their background – the very best start in life. This means making sure that every nursery has a qualified early years teacher to give them the confidence and education they need to prosper and excel.”
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the UK and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.