Thank you to those of you who have contacted me about Save The Children’s recent campaign highlighting the shortfall in boys’ education and development.
I fully appreciate the scale of this problem, and firmly believe that all children should be afforded the best possible start in life regardless of their background. Though I am greatly reassured to see that 86% of early years providers are rated good or outstanding, we cannot afford to be complacent.
As Theresa May recognised in her first speech as Prime Minister, white working-class boys are less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university, largely because of their early chances in life. I am sure that the Government will continue to improve on the Early Years Foundation Stage, which sets the standards for the provision of learning, development and care for children from birth to age five that all registered early years providers must follow. It requires providers to deliver high quality early education and includes a focus on communication and language.
To help close the gap between disadvantaged children and their better off peers, the two-year-old entitlement of 15 hours of free early education was introduced in September 2013. The Early Years Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2015 and is worth up to £302 per eligible child per year.
I am sure that these measures will see boys’ education make significant gains, and give all children the opportunities that they deserve.