Pre-school and early home learning effects on A-level outcomes

Department for Education | Effective Pre-School, Primary & Secondary Education Project (EPPSE) | October 2015

Executive Summary | This report studies the AS and A-level examination outcomes of a large sample of young people in England. It investigates the impact of pre-school and early home learning on entry patterns and overall attainment at ages 17 and 18 plus.

Background | The research is based on a follow-up of the longitudinal Effective Provision of Pre-school Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) study. This tracked a large sample of children through different phases of education and identified the effects of background characteristics on children's cognitive and social behavioural development.

When students were 16 years old, the EPPSE study found that pre-school and the early years home learning environment (HLE) shaped students' GCSE attainment (see Sammons et al., 2014; Sylva et al., 2014).

It showed that attending any pre-school, compared to none, predicted higher total GCSE scores, higher grades in GCSE English and maths, and the likelihood of achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grade A*-C. The more months students had spent in pre-school, the greater the impact on total GCSE scores and grades in English and maths. 

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