Study finds graduate-led Early Years education is the key to success for school leavers.
A study by the Institute of Education for Save the Children found 21% of pupils who struggled with language as they began school, failed to meet the expected standards in national tests when they left.
Children with poor language skills at age five are significantly more likely to struggle with Maths and English at age 11, the BBC reported on February 17th.
The researchers said poor language skills had an effect on all children, regardless of family background.
Academics at the Institute of Education analysed the progress of 5000 children using data from the Millennium Cohort Study and the National Pupil Database in England.
Gareth Jenkins, from Save the Children, says the research demonstrated the most crucial determinant of success in Sats tests is how well children can communicate when they start school. The charity suggests ensuring nurseries are led by a graduate teacher is the key to improving quality.
“The most important thing we could do is to see every nursery led by an early years graduate teacher, because the research is really clear that this helps improve the quality of the activities,” he said.
Amanda Kirby, Joint Head at Cundall Manor School in North Yorkshire, says graduate-led nursery care is a vital foundation of the school’s early years’ provision. “While it is important that all early education is achieved through play, an experienced graduate teacher is able to ensure the foundations of learning are solid before children move into Reception. Language, communication and fine motor skills need to be firmly established in the early years. In particular sound and letter recognition and pencil grip are key skills which are very hard to relearn if established incorrectly”.
Amanda adds, “Graduate teachers have a knowledge of education beyond the nursery and it is this broad knowledge which helps them to take each individual child through the stages of learning at his or her own pace. Their higher level study also arms them with a range of strategies to be able to tailor learning to each and every child. Children then begin Reception and progress through our school with confidence. ”