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CEP discussion paper

Quality in early years settings and children’s school achievement

Childcare quality is often thought to be important for influencing children’s subsequent attainment at school. The English Government regulates the quality of early education by setting minimum levels of qualifications for workers and grading settings based on a national Inspectorate (OfSTED). This paper uses administrative data on over two million children to relate performance on national teacher assessments at ages 5 and 7 to the quality characteristics of the nursery they attended before starting school. Results show that staff qualifications and childcare quality ratings have a weak association with teacher assessments at school, based on comparing children who attended different nurseries but attended the same primary school. Our results suggest that although children’s outcomes are related to the nursery they attend, which nurseries are good cannot be predicted by staff qualifications and OfSTED ratings; the measures of quality that Government has focused on.

Jo Blanden, Kirstine Hansen and Sandra McNally

13 February 2017     Paper Number CEPDP1468

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Education and skills programme.