Poor children in private preschools 'at double disadvantage'

 

Education Editor

Children from poor backgrounds are at a double disadvantage if they go to private or voluntary nurseries and preschools, says a major study out today.

They not only fall behind in language skills before they start at nurseries but the gap then widens because the standard of provision is worse.

The report, carried out by researchers from Oxford University and published by the Nuffield Foundation, shows that standards in the private sector in disadvantaged areas is of “lower quality” than in those settings serving more affluent homes.

“In other words, the children most in need of good quality early provisions are actually amongst the least likely to receive it,” it concludes.

It describes its findings as being of “serious concern”, adding that it shows that the private and voluntary sector is “not effectively rising to the challenge and offering comparable quality for disadvantaged children”.

“A clear gradient was evident with quality decreasing as deprivation increases,” it adds.

The report looked at provision in more than 1,000 private sector early years providers and 160 state-maintained nursery and primary schools. It exempted state run nursery schools from the criticism, saying that their provision was sometimes even better than that provided in more affluent areas.

However, it noted that about 30 per cent of children from disadvantaged homes attended private sector provision.

One of the reasons given for the gap in quality is the lack of qualified teaching staff in private sector provision.

“Children growing up in difficult circumstances are more at risk of language delays and behavioural problems and more likely to speak English as a second language,” it says. “Greater resources and more skilled, informed and flexible practice are required to meet their needs effectively.”

However, it adds: “There is... reason to believe that [private and voluntary] settings in deprived areas are less likely to have access to the resources they need to meet the challenge of catering for disadvantaged children than settings with more affluent catchments.

The result is the disadvantaged pupils find themselves in a catch-22 situation, behind on language skills when they start early years provision and likely to fall further behind their more affluent peers.

The lower quality provision particularly affected communications and interaction with the children and support for learning, language and literacy.

Figures show that while all school classes are led by a qualified graduate, less than half the private and voluntary nurseries and preschools employ one, and only eight per cent employ more than one.

The report recommends increasing the number of graduates working in the private sector through the use of the pupil premium, which has just been extended to cover enrolling disadvantaged three and four-year-olds. A recent report by education standards watchdog Ofsted showed 76 per cent of provision in disadvantaged areas was good or outstanding compared with 86 per cent in more affluent areas.

Sandra Mathers, lead author of the report, said: “It is vital that we equip nurseries and preschools with the tools and support they need to help disadvantaged children overcome the odds and reach their full potential.”

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed for Se...

Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are currently recruitin...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor