Social Mobility Commission Report November 2016
Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, noted in his 2012-13 annual report that:
"It is widely accepted that progress in early years for children from low income backgrounds depends on attendance in the highest quality settings… The only early education provision that is at least as strong, or even stronger, in deprived areas compared with wealthier areas is nursery schools."
They are able to do this because of the quality of the education they provide. 57% of maintained nursery schools are rated outstanding by Ofsted, and 39% are rated good. No other part of the education sector even approaches this standard. Moreover, in other sectors, quality of education provision is linked to the affluence of the area, while the quality of nursery schools is consistently high regardless of local levels of deprivation. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools confirms this: “The only early education provision that is at least as strong, or even stronger, in deprived areas compared with wealthier areas is nursery schools”
Without urgent action, nursery schools will soon disappear. Once lost, the cost of rebuilding an equivalent reservoir of expertise in early years education would be prohibitive. A rational system would make best use of the highest quality provision for the most disadvantaged children, and as beacons of good practice for the sector as a whole. Instead, we are allowing our finest early years provision to be lost in the interests of short-term cost savings.
"Maintained nursery schools - the state of play report".
A recent study by Save the Children http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-37827374 highlighted the importance of having qualified teachers in nurseries: "The charity found that children in independent nurseries without an early year's teacher were almost 10% less likely to meet expected levels of development at five than children in nurseries with qualified teachers."
"Maintained nursery schools are local authority schools. They provide education and other services to children under 5 and their families. They: