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British study confirms importance of preschool, primary school and home environment for children’s learning
Detail: The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project is the first major study in the United Kingdom to focus specifically on the effectiveness of early years education. The EPPE project is a large scale, longitudinal study of the progress and development of children in various types of pre-school education. The EPPE study tracked almost 3,000 children from the time they started pre-school (around the age of 3), their development progress was monitored until they entered school (age 5), and then at key time points (age 6, 7, 10 and 11 years) until the end of their primary school careers.

The study applied an 'educational effectiveness' design to establish the factors related to children's progress. The study has also used intensive case studies and classroom observations to' un-pack' effective practices. The EPPE programme of research represents a major investment into early effectiveness research by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education study provides essential evidence which now underpins the work of the Sure Start Unit.

Key findings indicate that early schooling with quality teaching has more impact on children's academic progress than their gender or family background. A high quality pre-school followed by an academically effective primary school gives children's development a significant boost, the researchers found. Children who attend a more academically effective primary school show better attainment and progress in key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11) than children with similar characteristics who attend a less effective school. In particular, going to a highly academically effective primary school gives a boost to very disadvantaged children.

The research did not discount the importance of the home environment for child development. It suggests that a stimulating home learning environment at age 3 to 4 is linked to long-term gains in children's development and has an equal impact to the mother's qualification level. The higher their parents' qualification levels, the more likely children are to do well at school and be good socially at age 11.

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Source: and “Early schooling matters most for children” by Anthea Lipsett in, Thursday November 27 2008 11.52 GMT
Date: November 28 2008