17th July 2020

EPI response to Children’s Commissioner early years report

Today the Children’s Commissioner has published a new report, Best Beginnings, examining the provision of early years education in England, and how it can be supported in both the immediate and long-term following the pandemic. 

Commenting on the report, Dr Sara Bonetti, Director of Early Years at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said:

“Today’s Children’s Commissioner report highlights the stark learning gaps already present among young children before they begin school. Our own research shows that disadvantaged children are already four and half months behind their better off peers in their educational development by the time they reach reception year.

The pandemic threatens to exacerbate levels of educational inequality by throwing the future of many early years providers into doubt. Given the precarious state many childcare providers are in, there is a strong case for the government to intervene with a package of financial support to sustain provision through this period of volatility.

Research shows that the first few years of a child’s life are critical for their development. If we do not offer robust support for early years education throughout this period, there is a real risk that we undermine the life chances of many young children, particularly the most disadvantaged.”