The development of poorer children is continuing to rise in line with their classmates, but the attainment gap remains wide, according to a recent report.

The Ofsted Early Years Annual Report 2015 revealed that 85 per cent of early years settings are now judged as good or outstanding – the strongest it has ever been.

As of March 31st 2015, 84 per cent of childminders were good or outstanding, while 87 per cent of private, voluntary and independent nurseries were given these ratings.

On the whole, 72 per cent of early years settings were rated good and 13 per cent were outstanding.

Early education helps to prepare young children for starting school. Between 2013 and last year, the number of children who reached a good level of development at the end of their Reception year rose from 52 per cent to 60 per cent.

But while poorer children’s development is on the up, the attainment gap between them and their peers hasn’t waned. The report highlighted that 42 per cent of 113,000 two-year-olds who are eligible for 15 hours of free early education have not taken their place in any type of setting.

What’s more, fewer than 5,000 schools enrol two-year-olds and of those that do, most are from wealthier families.

Speaking at the launch of the report, HM chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, said: “…we need to incentivise schools to take more disadvantaged two-year-olds and to work with other early years providers in their local area. We also need to do much more to encourage the most disadvantaged parents to take up the funded places scheme for two-year-olds, which is currently not reaching anywhere near enough children.

“Certainly local authorities can play a role here. Because of their responsibilities for children’s centres, they can do more to make sure children’s centres have the essential information they need to do this work.”


Join our Safeguarding Children newsletter

To subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, enter your email below.