MPs to investigate impact of early years education on life chances

An inquiry into the impact that early years education has on children’s life chances has been set up by the parliamentary education committee.

The inquiry will look at the effect early years education and social policy has on children later in life, and will examine current government policy in those areas.

As well as focusing on early years educational settings, it will look at the prevention and early intervention support available to families, the importance of communication skills and language development and consider health services and welfare services.

Launching the inquiry, Robert Halfon, the chair of the education committee,  said high quality early years education can “have a major impact in helping even the most disadvantaged children to compete with their better-off peers”, but warned of a “postcode lottery” that means some children do not have the opportunity to benefit properly from schools and health support services.

“As a committee we are determined that our inquiry will recommend practical proposals to ensure that all children have the chance to reach and climb the ladder of opportunity and succeed in their lives ahead,” he added.

The launch of the inquiry comes days after the Department for Education announced £13.5 million funding for two schemes aiming to help boost early language and literacy development for disadvantaged children.

The committee is inviting written evidence until June 1.