Ofsted has recently published a new report on the effectiveness of local authorities and early years providers in tackling the issues facing disadvantaged families and young children.
‘Unknown children – destined for disadvantage’ found that:
A broader understanding of what it means to be ‘disadvantaged’ is needed, looking beyond financial measures
Being disadvantaged continues to have a considerable detrimental impact on children’s educational outcomes and health
There is a lack of understanding of what success looks like in tackling disadvantage, particularly around what ‘school readiness’ means and the wider health and social care elements that impact on education
Co-ordination of services by local authorities, including data sharing to avoid duplication, is crucial to tackling disadvantage effectively
Too many disadvantaged children are missing out on early assessments of health, learning and development
Too few early years providers prioritise admission for disadvantaged pupils
More needs to be done to increase take-up of free early education (80,000 eligible 2-year-olds did not access funded places last year) and ensure that additional funding, such as the early years pupil premium, reaches and has a positive impact on all eligible children
Ofsted recommend that schools ensure key information is shared promptly when children move between settings and review their use of the early years pupil premium to maximise its impact.