A recent campaign has suggested that graduates should lead lessons in nurseries to improve children’s standard of reading
More than half a million children in independent nurseries in England are reportedly missing out on the benefits of having a qualified teacher.
In a report published today by Read On. Get On., a coalition of charities, teachers, parents and businesses, the quality of early education is accused of being “too variable” and often weakest in the poorest areas.
It said many disadvantaged pupils are behind before they have even started school, and claimed this adds to struggles in literacy later on.
According to the report, one in five 11-year-olds in England cannot read well, and just 13 per cent of staff in independent nurseries – which make up three quarters of the total in the country – have a relevant degree.
Read On. Get On. has called on the next government to commit to ensuring that by 2020 an early years graduate is leading lessons in every nursery, prioritising disadvantaged children.
It said: “Every young child, but especially those growing up in poverty, should be able to benefit from good quality early education led by a trained early years graduate. Currently, two in five children attending free early education in a private nursery are missing out.”
The recommendation would require 11,000 more graduates, the campaign group said.
Dame Julia Cleverdon, chair of the campaign, added: “It’s time to make nurseries the frontline in tackling social mobility in this country.
“Every child deserves a fair start in life – regardless of the wealth of their family. By providing quality and qualified teaching in every nursery, we can ensure every child arrives at school with the building blocks in place to learn to read and succeed.”
Campaigners have also highlighted new research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found that among children from poor backgrounds, the best readers at age 10 will go on to earn 20 per cent more per hour on average at 40, than those with the poorest reading skills.