NDNA responding to early years life chances inquiry

NDNA is putting together a response to a new inquiry launched by the Education Select Committee into the impact that a child’s early years have on their life chances. 

Robert HalfonWe are encouraging members to also respond to the inquiry by its short deadline of 1 June.

The Committee’s inquiry aims to understand the impact that early years education and social policy have on determining children’s life chances. The Committee will examine the Government’s current policies in these areas and make recommendations to promote social justice. The inquiry will focus on early years educational settings but will also consider the role of other services, including health services and services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Launching the inquiry, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said: “The first few years of a child’s life are crucial in determining their future success. Research indicates that children who start school with poor language skills are six times more likely to struggle with reading, and 11 times more likely to struggle with maths, at the age of 11. While home and family life are the biggest influence on a child’s language and skills development in their early years, high quality early years education can have a major impact in helping even the most disadvantaged children to compete with their better-off peers.

“Inequalities in children’s life chances sadly often depend on where they live. In this postcode lottery, some children will benefit from schools and health and support services who co-ordinate their work effectively and help to deliver great results. Unfortunately, in other areas this won’t be the case and children will not get the support they deserve. The Education Committee is dedicated to promoting social justice and ensuring that all children have the best life chances must be a vital part of this objective. As a Committee we are determined that our inquiry will recommend practical proposals to ensure that all children have the chance to reach and climb the ladder of opportunity and succeed in their lives ahead”. 

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “We welcome this inquiry which should strengthen the well-documented link between high quality early years education and a child’s life chances.

“We have always championed the need for investment early in a child’s life which will pay dividends later on, and yet the lion’s share of education resources is put into school years.

“For example, the Early Years Pupil Premium is much lower per child than for school children, although this is the time that it can make the most difference.

“The Government’s policy on early years entitlement could also hinder children from disadvantaged backgrounds whose parents don’t both work at least 16 hours per week, so they won’t get the additional 15 hours of funded childcare. This could continue the cycle of deprivation by making it more difficult for their parents to work and putting the child at a disadvantage compared to those who are accessing 30 hours per week.

“NDNA will be submitting evidence to this inquiry and would urge others within the sector to do the same by the deadline of 1 June.”

In this inquiry the Committee will examine the role of early years education in determining life chances. The inquiry will also explore the prevention and early intervention support which is available to parents and families to help deliver better outcomes for their children, and the importance of communication skills and language development.

Life chances—call for written submissions

The Committee invites written evidence on: 
The role of quality early years education in determining life chances and promoting social justice; 
The importance of support for parents and families, and integration with other services, in prevention and early intervention; and 
The importance of communication skills and language development. 

The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2018