Early years education in England is to receive a £5 million funding boost that will see schools partner up with local nurseries.
The government initiative is designed to drive up standards and make it easier for best practice to be shared throughout the education sector. Nurseries are being given the chance to work with the very best early years teachers to learn important lessons.
Up to 60 schools will participate in the project and it is hoped that early education and care for children and families will be improved as a result of the increased links. At the heart of the project is the need to create an effective transition process from nursery into primary school.
Numerous studies point to the importance of getting early years education right, as children from less advantaged backgrounds can start school up to 19 months behind their peers. This hinders their development quite dramatically and puts them at an immediate disadvantage.
But if youngsters do receive good-quality teaching in their early years, they can earn an extra £27,000 in their career and record higher grades when sitting their GCSEs, which helps them to pursue further education.
Minister for childcare Sam Gyimah said everyone now accepts that the first few years of a child's life are "make or break in terms of how well they go on to do at school and beyond", and this is why innovation in the sector has to be encouraged and fostered.
"This is a fantastic example of local schools, nurseries and private providers pulling together to improve the fantastic services on offer to families, helping their children to thrive," Ms Gyimah stated.
It further extends the government's commitment to the education sector, as since 2010 it has expanded 15 hours of free early education to 40 per cent of two-year-olds.
Posted by Tim Colman