Ofsted chief blames early years providers for school readiness failings
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has blamed early years providers for failing to adequately prepare disadvantaged children for school.
Wilshaw believes existing early years provision does not sufficiently meet the needs of disadvantaged children, and that schools are best placed to address this and should be allowed to educate infants from the age of two to narrow the attainment gap.
He said: “Too many of our poorest children are getting an unsure start because the early years system is letting them down.
“What children facing serious disadvantage need is high-quality, early education from the age of two delivered by skilled practitioners, led by a teacher, in a setting that parents can recognise and access.
“These already exist. They are called schools.”
Wilshaw’s remarks follow the publication today of Ofsted’s first early years annual report, which finds that children from poorer backgrounds are being failed by early years provision.
It reveals that less than a third of disadvantaged children reached a good development at the age of five last year.
The report argues that the early years sector is failing to recognise the role that schools can play in delivering high-quality early education.
It also calls for the pupil premium – which from 2015 can be used to support three- and four-year-olds in early years provision – to be extended to two-year-olds at the “earliest opportunity”.
Wilshaw recently wrote to early years inspectors urging them to consider children’s educational development when inspecting a setting.