Commenting on the call by the Sutton Trust to put the development and wellbeing of pre-school children at the heart of the education recovery plan, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We fully agree with the need to make investment in early years education a key part of the education recovery plan following the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is an area which has received far too little attention from the government – both before and during the pandemic – despite the clear evidence of the crucial role that early years education plays in children’s outcomes and life chances.
“Disadvantaged children are already 4.6 months of learning behind other children in their reception year at primary school and this gap then widens during the course of their education to 18.1 months by the time they take their GCSEs.1
“If we are to have any hope of eliminating this manifest inequality it must start with a commitment to investing in high-quality early years education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds so that they start school on equal terms with their peers.”
1 Education in England: Annual Report 2020
. Education Policy Institute. 26 August 2020.