Children with nursery education get better GCSEs

The Independent is reporting a major new study that suggests children who attend nursery or pre-school go on to achieve significantly better GCSE results than those who are kept at home before school age…

The boost from pre-school education is equivalent to gaining seven B grades at GCSE rather than seven C grades. Children who go to pre-school also develop better literacy, behaviour and concentration as teenagers, and can earn an extra £27,000  over their working lives, the research found.

“There is an enduring effect of pre-school. Attendance, quality and duration at pre-school all show long-term effects on students’ academic outcomes,” concluded a major longitudinal study, The Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project, which has tracked more than 3,000 youngsters since 1997.

The findings, revealed exclusively by The Independent, show that the younger pupils were when they started pre-school – and the longer they attended – the stronger the boost to GCSE results.

However, it did not matter whether children attended pre-school full time or part time as the eventual gains were the same. The quality of pre-school also predicted the children’s GCSE results. Those who had attended high quality facilities were more likely to achieve 5 A*-C including English and maths, and were also likely to show better behaviour and lower levels of hyperactivity.

The study also showed a particularly strong effect on boys’ maths results. Boys who attend a high quality pre-school obtained significantly higher grades in GCSE maths than either those who attended lower quality pre-school or none at all.

The Effective Pre-school and Primary Education project (EPPE) was the first major longitudinal study in Europe to investigate the impact of pre-school provision on a national sample.

It has already reported the positive effect of attending pre-school on pupils aged seven, 11 and 14. Today’s findings confirm that the positive effect continued as far as GCSE. Sam Gyimah, the childcare minister, told The Independent that the Government’s commitment to early years education was helping to “level the playing field” between rich and poor…

More at: Exclusive: Children with nursery education get better GCSEs


As ever with research like this, it begs the question whether a causal relationship has been found (as implied in the report above), or whether it is a correlation with children likely to do better also being more likely to go to pre-school, and better quality pre-school. What’s you take on the study? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Almost daily a new study appears whose findings contradict previous studies; MPs lap it all up. No wonder educators struggle

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