ASCL comment on Sutton Trust report into ‘locked out’ disadvantaged early years children

19/08/2021
Tiffnie Harris, Primary Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Sutton Trust report highlighting that three and four year olds are being ‘locked out’ of crucial early years opportunities. 
 
Commenting on the Sutton Trust report highlighting that three and four year olds are being ‘locked out’ of crucial early years opportunities, Tiffnie Harris, Primary Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“This report from the Sutton Trust throws a critical spotlight onto early years education, at a time when there has never been a greater need for more funding as part of an overall education recovery plan.
 
“It is outrageous that we have an education funding mechanism in place that gives the young children of more privileged families a crucial advantage over their disadvantaged peers. The mismatch happens at the very start of their educational journey and means a large number of young pupils arrive at primary school already nearly a year behind children whose parents are comparatively well off. This is fundamentally wrong on every level and needs to be addressed urgently.
 
“Extending the 30 hours offer to all parents, whatever their circumstances, is therefore absolutely the right thing to do. It must crucially be accompanied by higher funding rates because early years settings do not receive enough money from the government for the 30 hours provision to balance their books. This inevitably results in better-off parents effectively propping up the system by paying extra fees.  
 
“Longer-term sustained funding would also allow early years settings to employ the graduate leaders and suitably qualified staff that will help them address the learning gaps that emerge early in life.”