Quality and Inequality: comparing experiences in early years provision

20th November 2018 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Seminar

Speaker: Sandra Mathers, Department of Education

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Rooms K/L

Convener: Dr Sonali Nag

Research tells us that attending preschool can improve later life chances, but that long-term gains are more likely if provision is of high quality. This is particularly true for disadvantaged children, who are at risk of falling behind their peers. However, international evidence suggests that the children most in need of good quality provision are the least likely to receive it.  This study explores associations between quality and deprivation within a sample of more than 1,000 early years providers in England. Quality is measured using the Environment Rating Scales, and deprivation using the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation. Results show that the correlations between quality and deprivation vary by type of provider. Private and not-for-profit providers located in disadvantaged areas, and serving high proportions of disadvantaged children, were of lower quality than those in more affluent areas. State-maintained providers in different areas offered comparable quality of provision for preschool children. Staff qualifications were identified as a potential factor in the relationship between quality and deprivation. This presentation will summarise the study methods and findings, followed by time for discussion on possible implications for policy and practice.