PRIVATE and voluntary nurseries and preschools for disadvantaged areas and children are lower quality than those for more advantaged areas and children, according to Oxford University research.
The researchers found that the quality gap between nurseries catering for the least and most advantaged three- and four-year-olds is widest in how they support children’s language skills.
The report authors say this finding is significant, because disadvantaged children at the age of five are already nearly a year behind those from wealthier backgrounds.
This is in terms of their vocabulary, and the gap increases as they move through school.
The research says this suggests that children most in need of good quality early years teaching are the least likely to receive it.
Lead author Sandra Mathers said: “This research highlights the challenges involved in ensuring that the children who most need good quality early years provision actually receive it.
“It is vital that we equip nurseries and pre-schools with the tools and support they need to help disadvantaged children overcome the odds and reach their full potential.”
The researchers suggest the difference may be related to the number of graduates who are working in nurseries and pre-schools.
• Our top stories: