Abstracts: July 13th, 2015

Standards in early education are improving but the attainment gap facing disadvantaged children is not changing.

Early education has never been stronger with 85 per cent of early years settings now judged good or outstanding, the Ofsted Early Years Annual Report 2015 reveals today.

The report finds that rising standards are evenly spread across all types of early years settings. As of 31 March 2015:
• 84 per cent of childminders were good or outstanding
• 87 per cent of private, voluntary and independent nurseries were good or outstanding.

Overall, 72 per cent of all early years settings were good while 13 per cent were outstanding.

In addition, the quality of early years provision in 86 per cent of primary schools inspected during the last two terms was good or outstanding.

Early education is helping to prepare young children to be ready when they begin school. Between 2013 and last year, there was a marked increase in children reaching a good level of development at the end of their Reception year, from 52 per cent to 60 per cent.

Today’s report finds that although poorer children’s development is continuing to rise in line with their classmates, the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers has not narrowed.

The report points out that nearly half of all two-year-olds, around 113,000, eligible for 15 hours of free early education have not taken up their place in any type of setting.

It also finds that fewer than 5,000 schools are taking two-year-olds and those that do are taking a disproportionate number of children from better-off families. Only nine per cent of two-year-olds in schools are on a funded place. There are 40 local authorities where there are no disadvantaged two-year-olds in any maintained school.