New research from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), published today (Thursday 10th December), and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, finds that the presence of a graduate in private, voluntary and independent early years settings demonstrates a small but positive association with young children’s educational attainment.
Furthermore, the report highlighted that there are significantly stronger outcomes for children who have attended an early years settings with a graduate and strengthens the case for an extension of the government’s 30 hours free childcare offer, so that it is open to all families.
The EPI is now urging the Government to focus on a strategy to boost the quality of the whole early years workforce, while also focusing on improving graduate take-up.
Commenting on the new EPI report on the early years workforce and child outcomes, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:
‘We know that highly-qualified early years staff have a positive impact on child outcomes and it is notable that this report finds that this impact lasts throughout the primary years, rather than fading out earlier on as has been suggested by previous research.
‘For years now, we have called on the government to do more ensure that the early years sector is able to both recruit and retain high-quality practitioners – both those with degree-level qualifications, and those who may not have a degree but have a wealth of experience and an in-depth knowledge of child development.’
Purnima Tanuku OBE. Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said:
‘We welcome this new piece of research by the Education Policy Institute although we are not surprised that graduate practitioners have a positive, sustained influence on a child’s learning outcomes.
‘These findings would fit into our own research that higher qualified staff lead to a higher quality of early education which is essential for children’s development and life chances.
‘Although we know that we are living through a very difficult and challenging time, we are clear that the DfE needs a long-term workforce strategy backed up by realistic financial investment that enables children to receive highest quality early education and care.
‘This means they must support the early years sector to continue to attract and retain a highly qualified workforce that will in turn improve children’s outcomes both in compulsory education and in later life. Those with higher qualifications stay in their roles for longer and have demonstrated their passion and commitment to working with young children.
‘The announcement from the Government yesterday that they would be funding Level 3 childcare courses from April will go some way to supporting the sector in attracting more talented individuals to work in nurseries.
‘Obviously we want more children to benefit from early learning in order to reduce the widening attainment gap, but before doing so the Government must first review existing funded provision to make sure nurseries and other providers are not having to shoulder the shortfall between the cost of delivery and the hourly rate they are paid.’