Attending a high quality pre-school followed by an academically effective primary school gives a significant boost to children’s development. These are the findings of a new study which shows that a stimulating early years home-learning environment also provides a sound foundation on which these experiences build.
The Effective Pre-school and Primary Education Project (EPPE 3-11) carried out the study. One the principal investigators of the project is Pam Sammons, a Professor of Education at The University of Nottingham. She said: “The EPPE research confirms the importance of early experiences and the powerful combination of home, pre-school and primary school in improving children’s learning.”
EPPE 3-11, which is managed by the Institute of Education, University of London, tracked 3,000 children from the time they started pre-school until age 11.
The findings include:
Pre-school helps to combat social disadvantage
Primary schools affect development
Home matters too
The Effective Pre-School and Primary Education project (EPPE 1997 - 2008) is a long term study funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. It has followed the progress and development of approximately 2,800 children since they began pre-school over 10 years ago.
Earlier reports have demonstrated the importance of good quality pre-school experiences in providing children with a good start to school. EPPE has provided research evidence which has been used to inform the Government’s expansion of the early years sector. This final report of the primary school phase of the research focuses on the end of primary school (Years 5 and 6 when children were age 10/11 years old).
The research has provided a unique insight into the enduring impact of early experiences, especially the home learning environment (for children age 3 -4) and the quality of pre-school. It also shows the importance of the primary school attended, especially its academic effectiveness.
The results clearly demonstrate the importance of investment in early years, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and for those who go on to primary education of poorer quality. However, the findings also show that pre-school on its own is not a magic bullet. The project has also revealed that the relationship between disadvantage and educational experience is complex and that multiple disadvantages interact with education experiences and are key sources of inequality. Nonetheless, it is clear that disadvantaged children benefit particularly from ‘quality’ education. These findings have important implications for policies and practices intended to help narrow the achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged learners.
Cite This Page: