The Guardian is reporting that Sir Michael Wilshaw has called for children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to be taught in schools from the age of two…
…Wilshaw urged the parents of disadvantaged two-year-olds to access free early years places provided by the government, adding that half of the parents entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week were not taking up the offer.
Providing early years care in a school setting could particularly benefit children from poorer backgrounds, because children would find the transition to school easier, expert adult help would be closer to hand, tracking children through the system would be easier, while “well-qualified graduate teachers” could also make a real difference, he said.
Improving the educational chances of toddlers by putting them in a school setting was not proven”, he admitted, adding: “But it is obvious what has been done to date has not worked. It’s time to try something different.”
Ofsted found that while 40% of two-year-olds in England were eligible for a funded place based on family income, only 9% of two-year-olds in schools were actually on a funded place. The rest of the places were filled by children whose parents were paying.
“It seems that school nurseries have been colonised by the middle classes,” he said. “And who can blame these parents? I’m sure they see the well-qualified staff and the appeal of an easy transition to reception and conclude that it’s a good option for their children…”
Two questions here: why are disadvantaged parents not taking up the opportunity of free child care, and what do you think of SMW’s idea of getting more early years provision into schools?
Do you think it would help in closing the attainment gap?
Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…
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