Pre-school children from poorer backgrounds are not getting access to the best education.
This is according to a report produced by Ofsted and it highlights how these youngsters need greater support from people in teaching jobs to stop them falling behind once they go to school.
The sector is currently too fragmented, which means kids arrive in full-time education with different levels of ability when it comes to reading and writing.
Another problem is that there is not enough information available with regards to inspection and regulation of early years and so parents struggle to make comparisons on the quality of certain services, the body stated.
"Too many of our poorest children are getting an unsure start because the early years system is letting them down," said Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of Ofsted.
He is calling for the creation of a solution that is "focused on the right things we do", as there is no point in sending a youngster to an early education provider if they are not any good.
Ofsted thinks providers in this sector need to be better held to account for their performance, while there is also a lack of data and standardised assessment at the moment and this means no one has a clear idea of when kids are ready for school.
Because of data protection rules, the regulator is also currently limited in the information it can provide to parents about registered childminders in their area.
Central to any policy has to be the provision for giving the poorest children the opportunity to learn, Sir Michael stated, adding: "[Some people] fear that teaching the smallest children will inevitably lead to less play and less freedom. Setting up play and learning as opposites is a false dichotomy. The best play is challenging."
Nick Hudson, Ofsted's national director for early education, believes more needs to be done to support and encourage parents so their kids get the best early education on offer.
Posted by Theo Foulds