Barry Sheerman – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Barry Sheerman on 2016-03-10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the contribution of nurseries to improving literacy rates.

Mr Sam Gyimah

The early years are a critical stage for a child’s development. Nurseries have an important role in helping to ensure that all children start school with the knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours a week of quality early education, free of charge, to prepare them for school and improve their life chances. This is extremely successful with 94% of three-year-olds and 99% of four-year-olds taking up the current free entitlement. From September 2017, we are introducing 15 hours of free childcare a week for the working parents of three- and four-year olds, on top of the existing early education entitlement.

The latest Early Years Foundation Stage Profile data reveal that an increasing proportion of children are achieving a good level of development at age five: 66% in 2015, compared to 52% in 2013.

In the specific area of literacy, 76% of children achieved at least the expected level in reading and 71% did so in writing in the academic year 2014/15.

Parents also have an essential role to play in their child’s development. In September 2015, we re-launched our popular guide for parents ‘What to expect, when?’ to include a strengthened focus on language, communication and literacy.