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31% of children begin school before reaching a good level of early development, report claims

Save the Children report asks government to invest £65 million in the early years
Save the Children has called on the government to increase its investment in the early years to ensure that all settings have an early years teacher, in a new report released today.
Early Development and Children’s Later Educational Outcomes argued the importance of good early development in improving children’s outcomes. It found that almost a third (31%) of children in England started primary school without reaching a good level of development last year.
The report also found that children growing up in poverty were more likely to miss this goal, with half starting primary school at a lower development level than their peers. It argued that high-quality childcare, staffed by early years teachers, is the key for closing this attainment gap.
Save the Children estimates that, at the current rate, more than 800,000 children will be at risk of not reaching good development levels by age five before the end of 2020. It also suggests that these children are more likely to struggle throughout primary school, with one in four failing to meet expected English targets and one in five missing expected maths levels.
The charity is asking the government to make an immediate £65 million investment in the early years, focusing on the most deprived areas of the country. It is also asking for a new workforce strategy for the sector to hire and retain early years teachers.
The Alliance welcomed this call for greater investment in the early years sector, with chief executive Neil Leitch saying: “All children, regardless of their background, should be able to have the best possible start in life, and so we welcome calls for greater investment into the early years sector to prevent young children – and particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds – from falling behind early in life.”
However, he questioned Save the Children’s focus on early years teachers, arguing: “As research published by the London School of Economics this week found, quality in the early years is about more than staff academics, and so it’s important that we don’t apply overly simplistic solutions to complex problems,”