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Article by Caroline Knight | 2nd October 2018

Never too Young to Learn

At what age does education begin? Two or three, when children attend nursery school, maybe? Or perhaps from birth, when the pathway of learning is wide open and a baby is like a sponge with a thirst to learn.

Naturally, education is a continuous process and the best quality learning will ideally be available from day one.

It’s interesting to note, therefore, that more and more children are starting school without the ability to read simple words or write their own name.

Around 300,000 children are taught at nursery or pre-school by unqualified staff, according to recent figures. Relevant qualifications for nursery teachers include qualified teacher status (QTS) and early years teacher status (EYTS) or early years professional status. However, there is a shortage of early years teachers of around 11,000, countrywide and figures suggest that there is very little investment in promoting teacher training in early years.

According to Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, the most cost-effective way to improve the educational outcome of small children is to invest in early years education. The Department for Education reveals that those with poor vocabulary at the age of five are twice as likely to be unemployed at the age of 34 compared to children with good vocabulary at the same age.

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