A new study has shown that the UK would rank much higher in the international pupil performance tables had a universal pre-school education system been established in the 1990’s.
Researchers have estimated that the UK’s 15-year-olds would have been ranked higher on the PISA literacy test had they all experienced more than a year of pre-schooling. This claim is based on an analysis of the test scores and their correlation with the early educational experience of pupils in the UK.
The study shows that the benefit of pre-school provision is visible for all social groups, with children from the lowest socio-economic groups gaining the most from a universal pre-school scheme. Only 54% of those participants in the bottom socio-economic group had received pre-school education, in stark comparison with 73% in the most advantaged group.
The findings support the Government’s focus on extending pre-school provision. All three and four year olds are already entitled to 15 hours of free pre-school education for 38 weeks of the year.
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