COMMONS

Life chances inquiry launched

04 May 2018

The Education Committee launches inquiry into the impact that the early years of a child's life have on their life chances.

The inquiry

The Committee’s inquiry aims to understand the impact that early years education and social policy have on determining children’s life chances. The Committee will examine the Government’s current policies in these areas and make recommendations to promote social justice. The inquiry will focus on early years educational settings but will also consider the role of other services, including health services and services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Impact of early years on life chances

Launching the inquiry, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"The first few years of a child’s life are crucial in determining their future success. Research indicates that children who start school with poor language skills are six times more likely to struggle with reading, and 11 times more likely to struggle with maths, at the age of 11. While home and family life are the biggest influence on a child’s language and skills development in their early years, high quality early years education can have a major impact in helping even the most disadvantaged children to compete with their better-off peers.

Inequalities in children’s life chances sadly often depend on where they live. In this postcode lottery, some children will benefit from schools and health and support services who co-ordinate their work effectively and help to deliver great results. Unfortunately, in other areas this won’t be the case and children will not get the support they deserve. The Education Committee is dedicated to promoting social justice and ensuring that all children have the best life chances must be a vital part of this objective. 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".

Role of early years education

In this inquiry the Committee will examine the role of early years education in determining life chances. The inquiry will also explore the prevention and early intervention support which is available to parents and families to help deliver better outcomes for their children, and the importance of communication skills and language development.

Terms of Reference

The Committee invites written evidence on:

  • The role of quality early years education in determining life chances and promoting social justice
  • The importance of support for parents and families, and integration with other services, in prevention and early intervention; and
  • The importance of communication skills and language development

The deadline for submissions is Friday 1 June 2018

 Further information

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