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Pre-school Education

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 6 June 2008, Official Report, column 1174W, on pre-school education, what assessment he has made of the reasons for two-thirds of children not reaching the literacy goals of the Foundation Stage. (210416)

All children are different and each child's development pathway and rate of progress is individual to them. This principle is fundamental to the design of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), where we make it explicit that all early years settings should deliver personalised learning, development and care. We believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life, and that to deliver that we need to continue to work with teachers and practitioners in the early years to ensure that children have the best possible experience.

To ensure that we narrow the achievement gap that currently exists between children from different backgrounds, we are investing in targeted programmes to support professionals in the early years and help them raise quality for children, supported by the framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). These programmes will focus on children's early language development and social development. In summer 2007 we allocated over £127 million for quality improvement to raise the number of staff in the private, voluntary and independent sectors who are qualified at level 3 as well as higher level qualifications, and to help them continue to develop their skills and knowledge in meeting the needs of young children.