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Children struggling at school entry more likely to face disadvantage at age 16-17

Date:
May 23, 2024
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
Children who were behind in their development at age 4-5 were almost three times as likely to have been out of education, employment, or training at age 16-17, analysis of pupil data has found.
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School readiness at age 4-5 could help predict unemployment and education drop-out at age 16-17, according to a study led by the University of Leeds with Lancaster University.

Children who were behind in their development at age 4-5 were almost three times as likely to have been out of education, employment, or training at age 16-17, analysis of pupil data has found.

4-5-year-olds in England are assessed by the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, and those who reach the threshold of a 'good level of development' are considered 'school ready'.

The new study in the journal BMC Public Health has found a significant gap in GCSE results and Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) outcomes between those who were ready and unready for primary school. The research drew on data from more than 8,000 Bradford young people whose records are linked as part of the Connected Bradford project.

Lead author Dr Matthew Warburton, Research Officer at Leeds' School of Psychology, said: "These findings tell us that there are clear, early indicators for children and young people being at risk of disadvantage in late adolescence. As schools routinely collect this data, the research could be used to kickstart early intervention in schools based on primary school readiness."

The research found that 11% of children who were not school ready went on to be NEET at 16-17, compared to just 4% of children who were school ready.

This early disadvantage also predicted achievement at GCSE level. Of children who were assessed as not school ready, 44% achieved GCSEs at level 2 (grade 4 or above) in English, Maths, and five subjects overall, where 77% of those school ready achieved these results.

The research team, which also included academics from Lancaster University and the Bradford Institute for Health Research, say this shows a clear need for early intervention by schools to reduce disadvantage in later life.

This echoes the message from a series of N8 Child of the North and Centre for Young Lives reports on the need to put children and young people first.

Senior author Dr Amy Atkinson, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University said: "Data from the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile is readily available for millions of children and young people in England. This information could, and should, be used to identify pupils at increased risk of becoming NEET."

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, UK Prevention Research Partnership, the Medical Research Council, and an anonymous donation to the University of Leeds for Dr Warburton to investigate NEET.

The researchers point out that data availability meant that NEET could only be assessed at 16-17 years of age, with further work needed to assess this trajectory over a longer timescale.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew Warburton, Megan L. Wood, Kuldeep Sohal, John Wright, Mark Mon-Williams, Amy L. Atkinson. Risk of not being in employment, education or training (NEET) in late adolescence is signalled by school readiness measures at 4–5 years. BMC Public Health, 2024; 24 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12889-024-18851-w

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Children struggling at school entry more likely to face disadvantage at age 16-17." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2024. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/05/240523112536.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2024, May 23). Children struggling at school entry more likely to face disadvantage at age 16-17. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 13, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/05/240523112536.htm
University of Leeds. "Children struggling at school entry more likely to face disadvantage at age 16-17." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/05/240523112536.htm (accessed June 13, 2024).

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