There has been an increase in the inequality gap between the lowest attaining children and their peers, according to the latest Early Years Foundation Stage Profile results.
The results reveal that the percentage inequality gap has risen to 32.4% in 2019 compared to 31.8% last year. The gap between the lowest attaining 20% of children and their peers has grown for the third year in a row and at a faster rate than the previous two years. The mean average total point score for the lowest attaining 20% of children has also fallen, from 23.2 in 2018, to 23 this year.
The results also show that 71.8% of children achieved a good level of development in 2019. This is a slight increase of 0.3 of a percentage point on last year's figure of 71.5% but the rise is at a slower rate than the 0.8 percentage point increase between 2018 and 2017.
The gender gap is decreasing slightly although girls continue to outperform boys. However, boys are improving at a faster rate than girls whose performance has plateaued, which means the gender gap continues to decrease.
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said:
"It's good news that children's overall development has improved since last year, which is testament to the high-quality provision that private, voluntary and independent nurseries deliver to the majority of children in England.”
"But we are worried that the gap between the lowest performing children and their peers continues to widen. The reduced number of two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds receiving funded places and the higher numbers of nursery closures in deprived areas will not be helping this situation.”
"Research shows that children who attend high quality nurseries have better communication and social skills too, so the government must invest sufficiently in childcare to make sure that early years education is accessible for all children."
The full report on the results is available here.
Last reviewed 28 October 2019