The Department for Education (DfE) spent £2.7 billion on free childcare for preschool children in the academic year 2015 to 2016, but they are yet to track the achievement of this investment.
A report from MPs has been published saying that development should be tracked from preschool age. It highlights concerns that with baseline tests for five-year-olds being scrapped, there is no national dataset to assess how well children are developing in their early years.
Currently schools use the early-years foundation-stage profile to record progress at the end of reception, but this will be made non-statutory from September.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee said in its report: "The Department told us it was possible to match data it holds from the different census returns it receives from childcare providers and schools to track children’s achievement, but these would not provide immediate feedback on issues in specific settings."
It has recommended that the DfE should now establish how it will measure the value for money of providing free early education and childcare before September 2016.