Joyce Connor, Director of the Early Childhood Unit at the National Children’s Bureau said:
‘Today Ofsted have confirmed that the quality of early education in England has risen dramatically. This is great news for families, as research tells us that only high-quality early years services will have an impact on children’s early development and later chances in life.
‘What is worrying is that the gap in attainment between poor children and their better off peers has not narrowed. Despite the investment in free childcare for disadvantaged two-year olds, many parents are not making use of their entitlement and for families of children with disabilities or special educational needs there remain considerable barriers to accessing provision.
‘Our work with schools, nurseries and other providers has shown that it is vital for early years settings to build positive relationships with local families through home visits and open days, and by building on links made through family support services, children’s centres and health visitors. Once these relationships are in place, parents are more likely to make use of free early education, and to recognise the importance of what they do to support their own child’s development and what a setting can also offer.’