Last year more than 250,000 children in England started school behind in their development – and the poorest children were twice as likely to start school behind.
The early years of a child’s life are vital. Evidence shows that going to a good-quality nursery can act as a safeguard against falling behind. Save the Children’s goal is to see an ambitious new plan for childcare in the next parliament.
All nurseries should be high quality, parents must clearly know what support they can get, and there should be extra help with costs for those who need it the most.
Our little ones deserve a better start in life – and families, struggling to do their best, deserve better support.
Read our reports and find out more about our work in England.
One child in four children in Northern Ireland lives in poverty.
At the same time, a child who struggles with early language skills in Northern Ireland is about 40% less likely to have good reading skills at age 7 and 80% less likely to have good comprehension skills at age 11 as their peers who have good early language skills.
We are calling for:
1. Pre-school and childcare services to be led by graduates – who can identify and support children at risk of falling behind, and can set a curriculum that supports young children’s learning
2. Tracking young children’s outcomes to better understand their progress
3. Early education and childcare services that help strengthen parents’ and families’ skills to support their children’s early learning at home.
Save the Children’s goal is to see an ambitious new plan for developing a high-quality, affordable, pre-school and childcare system for all young children in Northern Ireland.
Read our reports and find out more about our work in Northern Ireland.
Last year one in ten young children in Scotland was behind in their speech and language development by age three. The poorest children struggled the most – they were twice as likely to start school behind.
We’re calling for a greater focus on children’s early learning and development, especially for those children most likely to struggle, because of the impact this has on their childhood and later life chances. Evidence shows that attending good-quality childcare can help children’s early learning, and can also help families increase their income.
We’re working with Scottish government to develop a quality action plan. We are calling for:
1. A clear focus on strengthening and extending the quality of early learning and childcare provision to help support children’s early development, especially speech, language and communication
2. Investment in the early years workforce, which supports children’s learning and development, and can identify and help those children at risk of falling behind
3. Advice and investment for settings to help support those children experiencing poverty
4. Evidence-based poverty awareness and understanding training as a core part of ongoing professional development of the early years workforce.
We also want the Scottish government to improve support for parents to engage in their children’s early learning at home, by improving the early years workforce’s access to quality assured training.
Read our reports and find out more about our work in Scotland.
Many young children in Wales fall behind in their development before they start school. One in ten children in Wales are behind in language ability at the end of the foundation stage (age 7). For children living in poverty, this doubles to one in five.
We’re highlighting the scale and nature of young children being left behind and the impact this has on their childhood and later life chances.
We’re calling on the Welsh Government to prioritise tackling the gap in early learning outcomes for young children by investing in high-quality early education and childcare by:
1. Investing further in the quality of the early education workforce
2. Strengthening support for parents by ensuring staff have the skills to support parents to engage in their children’s learning at home
3. Ensuring all children living in poverty can access high quality early education and childcare.
Read our reports and find out more about our work in Wales.