Report shows disadvantaged pre-schoolers at private or voluntary nurseries in England receive poorer provision than those in school-based nurseries

Oxford University research, published by the Nuffield Foundation, a charitable foundation which funds research and innovation in education and social policy, has found that private and voluntary (not-for-profit) nurseries and preschools catering for disadvantaged areas and children are lower quality than those serving more advantaged areas and children. Researchers found the “quality gap” between nurseries catering for the least and most advantaged three- and four-year-olds is widest (nine per cent) in relation to support for language skills. The report attributes the difference in quality to the number of graduates working in settings and suggests that the enhanced training of graduates may help them to meet the greater needs of disadvantaged children, who are more at risk of language delays.

School based nurseries are proving to be increasingly popular, and the next Government could look to promote them further as a means of addressing the early education gap, particularly in deprived areas.