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Graduate practitioners have a limited impact on child outcomes, study claims

Report from London School of Economics questions conventional methods for testing setting quality
A new study from the London School of Economics has questioned the impact of graduate staff on the quality of early years settings.
The report, titled Quality in Early Years Settings and Children’s School Achievement, found that staff qualifications and Ofsted ratings cannot predict the quality of early years education, arguing that that conventional methods of testing quality do not have a significant influence educational outcomes. It also suggested that there is only a “very weak” association between the presence of graduate staff and children’s outcomes.
The report’s authors used data about more than two million children to compare the characteristics of the early years setting they attended with their performance in teacher assessments at school.
They found that “staff qualifications and childcare quality ratings have a weak association with teacher assessments at school, based on comparing children who attended different nurseries but attended the same primary school”.
However, while the authors argued against conventional methods for testing setting quality, they said that quality childcare was still important and recommended further research into why some children do better than others.
Alliance chief executive, Neil Leitch, welcomed the report’s findings. He said: “We hope that this research will end the widespread misconception that private and voluntary providers are of lower quality than maintained settings simply because they are less likely to employ graduate staff members, and prompt further research and debate into what ‘quality’ in the early years actually means.”