Childcare minister calls for more primaries to offer nursery places

The TES is reporting that the childcare minster has claimed that a child’s life chances have been decided before they have “knotted their tie and fastened their laces” for their first day of school…

Early education gives children a boost throughout their lives, with children who attend pre-school gaining better exams results and likely to earn around £27,000 more during their career than those who do not go, according to Sam Gyimah.

In one of his first major speeches as childcare minister, he called for more schools to “step up to the plate” and offer nursery education. “We know that before they have knotted their school tie, fastened the laces on their shoes and headed off for their first day at school, a child’s life chances are already being decided,” he told a Policy Exchange event.

“That’s how important early education is. It not only sets a child off on the right foot at school, but gives them a boost right throughout their life.”

Currently, just under half (44 per cent) of primary and infant schools in England have nursery classes, but only a few hundred take funded two-year-olds – those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

He insisted that schools that do offer nursery places are seeing “big benefits” with better behaved children and higher attainment.

It also makes the move from nursery education to reception smoother for young children, Mr Gyimah argued, and easier for working parents who can drop off children to school and nursery at the same time.

Mr Gyimah rejected critics who say that placing nurseries in schools is “schoolifying” the early years and is too much too soon.

“Listening to some of the criticisms, you would imagine rows of small children lined up in classrooms, sitting in silence and learning about quadratic equations from a teacher,” he said.

“But I’ve seen school nurseries and I’ve seen the way they are run … It’s not about being taught in the same way as school kids. It’s about teaching children to socialise; to play together and to behave.”…

More at: Childcare minister calls for more primaries to offer nursery places


Generally we get a lot of criticism from readers and via twitter of the idea of starting children at school earlier, but if done right is Sam Gyimah right that this could help improve life chances, perhaps especially for the most disadvantaged? Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Pre-school and Primary.


  1. TW

    Is this bloke going to provide schools with additional funding to pay for the new buildings and extra staff that would be required?

  2. Janet2

    Nursery schools don’t have to be attached to existing schools.  Where does the school minister think the funds are coming from to provide the necessary accommodation?  Or does he think children as young as two (some of whom will not be toilet trained) can be shoved into a mobile classroom?

    Parents may also get the wrong impression that their children will move seamlessly between nursery and school (perhaps the minister thinks so too).  But the schools adjudicator has ruled this doesn’t adhere to the Schools Admission Code.  Nurseries are not compulsory and some parents may be be unwilling or unable to send their child to a popular school’s nursery.  These parents and their children would be discriminated against if seamless transition were allowed.  The Schools Adjudicator reasoned that nurseries don’t have to adhere to the Schools Admission Code because they’re not part of compulsory schooling.  This could allow schools to circumvent the Admission Code by having admission criteria in place which would not be allowed in the Code.

  3. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove Shouldn’t a childcare minister be encouraging mothers to look after their own kids, putting kids before work?!

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