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Call for school starting age to start earlier for poorer pupils

Ofsted’s chief inspector has said that disadvantaged two-year-olds should start school earlier so their progress can be tracked better…


Sir Michael Wilshaw said the poorest children need to be “taught and well taught” from that age.

In a speech in London, he added that schools have services that would help youngsters, such as speech and language therapists and behaviour managers.

“Children who are at risk of falling behind need particular help. And it remains my view that schools are often best placed to deliver this,” Mr Wilshaw told the audience.

He added that just under half of the 260,000 children eligible for free early education in 2014 did not take the places up.

And suggested that primary schools would be best placed to provide the education.

Ofsted’s annual report says that England’s pre-schools, nurseries and childminder settings have improved over the last decade.

Eighty-five per cent of settings are rated good or outstanding.

And although the Department for Education said the number of children taking up the offer of free education for two-year-olds had increased since its introduction, Ofsted said more could be done.

Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that health visitors could encourage parents when they meet them for check ups.

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