The EPPE 3-11 study set out to answer two overarching questions:

• Do the cognitive and social/behavioural benefits of pre-school that were found at ages 5 and 7 years last to the end of Key Stage 2 at age 11?

• How do experiences in primary school, especially in Key Stage 2, interact with the effects of pre-school to shape pupils’ developmental trajectories?

Although these were the key research questions, there was also interest in special groups of children such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds, girls/boys, children from minority ethnic groups, and those with special educational needs (SEN). We have considered the influences related to the individual child, family demographics, to the Early years home learning

environment (HLE) and to the community in which the pupil lives.In this report we have shown that the patterns of individual and social influence can change over time. Some background influences are more powerful than pre- or primary school effects but others are not. And some influences seem to be somewhat stronger early on, but less so as children progress through primary school. After taking background characteristics into account, EPPE 3-11 has shown that the contribution of pre-school continues to have significant though modest effects through to age 11.

Primary school matters too, and by age 11 its effects are stronger than those of pre-school or of family characteristics like low income. In addition, the results show that the effects of primary school are relatively stronger for Mathematics than English attainment at age 11. EPPE 3-11 investigated the kinds of classroom practices and school processes that contribute to positive development in children. This focus on primary education was very important in the research because pre-school effects are not stamped indelibly on a child’s life but interact with home and subsequent phases of education.

Key Findings

1 The lasting effects of pre-school, including the contribution of quality

Attendance at pre-school was beneficial in Key Stage 2 (KS2) for both academic and

social/behavioural outcomes, as well as pupils’ self-perceptions. Importantly the quality of the pre-school (measured on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales) was positively

associated with pupils’ developmental outcomes for English, Mathematics, ‘Self-regulation’, ‘Pro- social’ behaviour, (reduced) ‘Hyperactivity’ and ‘Anti-social’ behaviour. For all social outcomes, the benefits of pre-school were higher for boys, for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), and for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, for some of the outcomes, notably English, Mathematics and ‘Hyperactivity’, only pre-schools of medium or high quality had lasting effects.

The longer term effects of different kinds of quality have become apparent:

First, the quality of the pre-school has a positive impact not only on children’s attainment at the start of school but also on their value-added progress up to the age of 11. This suggests that

pre-school not only enhances skills at the start of school, it also appears to support children in learning-how-to-learn. It is this that enables them to make more progress during primary school compared to the home children.

Second, the contribution of different kinds of quality in the pre-school become clear. EPPE used two measures of pre-school quality. The ECERS-R measures a care-oriented ‘child centred’ approach during the pre-school years while the ECERS-E measures the quality of specific educational provision related to language, literacy, mathematics, science/environment and means of catering for diversity in children. At age 7 we found that the more global child-centred quality was positively related to children’s social behavioural development but less so to cognitive development.

At the end of Key Stage 2 the kind of educational (curricular) quality measured by the ECERS-E continued to have a positive effect on cognitive outcomes but the effects of the more global ECERS-R had faded. However, for social behavioural outcomes, the effect of the ECERS-R was still significant, although the ECERS-E also had a positive impact on some social behavioural measures. We concluded that the more educational aspects of pre-school quality assessed on the ECERS-E contributed to children’s academic and social-behavioural outcomes whereas the care-oriented quality measured on the ECERS-R contributes over the longer term mostly to social behavioural development. Both kinds of quality are therefore important.

Finally, the higher the ‘value added’ effectiveness of each individual pre-school, the better the longer term outcomes for its children.

2 The contribution of child/family characteristics and the Early years HLE

Although taken together the overall effects of child and family factors were less powerful at age 11 than at age 7, there were still very strong effects of mother’s highest qualification level and the Early years home learning environment (HLE) on academic outcomes. Gender was particularly important for ‘Pro-social’ behaviour and ‘Hyperactivity’, with girls being more pro-social and boys more hyperactive. Gender effects for cognitive outcomes were much weaker. However, for Mathematics boys have higher attainment at age 11, although the difference is small, and girls still have better outcomes in English. These findings are not new but what is surprising is the continuing strong influence of the Early years HLE. The support for learning that parents

provided in the early years continues to show effects on several outcomes (attainment in English and Mathematics, ‘Self-regulation’, ‘Pro-social’ behaviour and ‘Hyperactivity’) at the end of primary school.

3 The contribution of primary schools to children’s development

The academic effectiveness of schools between Key Stage 1 and 2 was measured

independently of the EPPE 3-11 longitudinal sample, by analysing National Assessments for all pupils in all state primary schools in England (Melhuish et al., 2006a; 2006b). Academic

effectiveness of the schools attended by EPPE 3-11 pupils was found to have a positive

influence on their scores in English and Mathematics, and the effects are stronger than those of pre-school. The effects are particularly notable for Mathematics. Not only was the effectiveness of the primary school linked to pupils’ absolute attainment at age 11, it also predicted the amount of progress the EPPE 3-11 pupils made between the ages of 7 and 11. For social/behavioural outcomes, however, the academic effectiveness of the school did not show a significant effect across all pupils (but in no cases was any negative impact found). Importantly, certain groups of pupils, such as those with special educational needs (SEN) or those whose mothers had low educational qualifications, had better social/behavioural outcomes if they attended schools that were higher on academic effectiveness. This indicates that academic effectiveness in a primary school may be particularly important for the social/behavioural development of vulnerable pupils.

4 The changing pattern of background influences on development

Background influences, overall, are less strong on academic outcomes towards the end of primary school than they were towards the beginning. However, for reading and Mathematics parental qualifications and FSM have both become stronger in their effects on Reading and Mathematics. On the other hand, the effect of birth weight weakens across primary school in both cognitive outcomes. There are mixed trends on the relative influence of SES and ethnicity; the effect of SES becomes stronger over time for Reading but weaker for Mathematics. Finally, the effects of minority ethnic status becoming weaker for some groups but not for others. Of particular importance is the effect of the Early years HLE which remains relatively constant across primary school for Reading but weakens somewhat for Mathematics.

For social/behavioural outcomes the patterns of effects also change. Some background effects tend to weaken over time, e.g., the effect of gender on ‘Self-regulation’. However, the effects of gender strengthen over time for boys’ ‘Hyperactivity’ and ‘Anti-social’ behaviour.

The effect of marital status also strengthens over time, with the effect of a single parent family becoming stronger in its negative impact on Hyperactivity. Finally the effect of the Early years HLE on social/behavioural outcomes diminishes over time, except in the case of the very highest scoring families where their positive impact does not diminish at all.

The EPPE study shows how difficult it is to make sweeping generalisations about influences on development because the factors that aid or hinder children’s development can vary over time and across developmental domains.

5 Classroom and school processes

Classroom observations revealed considerable variation in the quality of EPPE 3-11 pupils’ educational experiences during Year 5. The measure of overall Teaching quality was a

significant predictor of cognitive progress in both Reading and Mathematics over Key Stage 2 (age 6-10). The Quality of Pedagogy (which includes richness of instruction and evaluative

feedback)and Classroom Control predicted more progress in Mathematics. Quality of Pedagogy was alsorelated to reduced ‘Hyperactivity’ and better ‘Pro-social’ behaviour and ‘Self-regulation’.

High levels of classroom Disorganisation predicted poorer progress in both pupils’ Reading and

Mathematics and also in (increased) ‘Hyperactivity’.

An analysis of teachers’ views of their school (particularly factors concerning Use of homework and school standards, Pupils’ agency and voice, Anti-academic ethos, School communication with parents and Parental support of their child’s learning) revealed that children in schools

where teachers reported better practices associated with homework, setting high standards, establishing an academic ethos and involving pupils in activities had pupils who made better progress in Mathematics and had better social outcomes. In schools where teachers reported active communication with parents, pupils made better academic progress, and showed better

‘Self-regulation’. In addition, where teachers reported strong parental support, pupils made better

progress in Reading and ‘Pro-social’ behaviour.

The Ofsted inspection measure of overall ‘School effectiveness’ was a predictor of children’s progress in Reading, Mathematics and ‘Self-regulation’ whilst the judgment on the ‘Quality of school leadership’ showed a positive relationship with Mathematics progress. Ofsted’s

judgement on a school’s ‘Improvement since last inspection’ was a significant predictor of higher children’s Mathematics progress, and better development in ‘Self-regulation’, ‘Pro-social’ and ‘Anti-social’ behaviour.

Also there was evidence that school context (in terms of level of disadvantage) can have an impact. The percentage of pupils eligible for FSM in a school was found to predict somewhat poorer children’s progress in Mathematics, and increased ‘Hyperactivity’ and ‘Anti-social’ behaviour and decreased ‘Self-regulation’ (comparing those in schools below and above the mean on this factor). However the effects are somewhat weaker than those found for the Ofsted measures of overall ‘School effectiveness’, ‘Improvement since last inspection’, or those related to quality of teaching. Nonetheless they suggest (unsurprisingly) that schools in disadvantaged contexts face greater challenges in raising standards.

6 How pre-school and primary school interact to affect pupils’ learning and development

EPPE 3-11 is the first study to investigate the combined effects of pre-school and primary school on a wide range of child outcomes. The combination of attending a higher quality pre-school and then moving on to an academically effective primary school had clear benefits for pupils’

cognitive outcomes to age 11, especially so in Mathematics. High quality pre-school appears to provide some ‘protection’ against attending a less effective primary school; pupils who attended higher quality pre-schools fared better in low effective primary schools than pupils who had not attended pre-school or those who had attended pre-schools of lower quality. The reverse was also true, pupils who were lucky enough to attend a primary school of high academic

7 Influence are different for English, Mathematics and social/behavioural development

By Year 6 the influences on English were somewhat different from Mathematics. For English, child, family and home background mattered relatively more than for Mathematics. For English, the effects of mothers’ highest qualification (degree versus no qualification) and the Early years HLE (high versus low) were more than twice as large as those of pre-school or primary school. For Mathematics, mothers’ highest qualification was the strongest predictor, but school

influences (pre-school and primary school effectiveness) were relatively more influential than for English. The effects of attending a highly effective primary school were on a par with the influence of a mother having A-levels versus no qualifications.

Patterns of influence are also different for social/behavioural development. In Year 6,

background characteristics were found to be better predictors of ‘Self-regulation’ than for other social/behavioural outcomes. In addition, gender effects were particularly strong for ‘Pro-social’ behaviour and ‘Hyperactivity’ outcomes, having 3-4 times as large an effect as pre-school quality and effectiveness. Mother’s highest qualification was also an important predictor and had the strongest effects for ‘Self-regulation’ and ‘Hyperactivity’ outcomes. Thus the patterns of influence do vary for different outcomes, as well as for different groups of pupils. Only a large scale and longitudinal study could reveal such subtle differences, along with the interacting effects of pre- school and primary education.

8 Pupils’ self-perceptions: what influences them and their effects on future development?

Influential factors linked to pupils’ self-perceptions were different for each self-perception

measure. Gender was the strongest predictor of ‘Behavioural self-image’, whereas the strongest precursors for ‘Academic self-image’ were father’s highest qualification and the Early years HLE. ‘Enjoyment of school’ was higher for pupils eligible for FSM and for those who had previously attended high quality pre-schools.

The various self-perception factors were differentially associated with pupils’ cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes. Pupils’ ‘Academic self-image’ was the strongest predictor of cognitive outcomes in Reading and Mathematics and ‘Self-regulation’, whereas pupils’

‘Behavioural self-image’ was the strongest predictor of ‘Hyperactivity’, ‘Pro-social’ behaviour and ‘Anti-social’ behaviour in Year 5. However, the reverse is also the case; earlier attainment (Year 1) predicted better ‘Academic self-image’ later on in Year 5. These findings indicate that there are strong reciprocal relationships between ‘Academic self-concept’ and academic achievement

and between ‘Behavioural self-image’ and social/behavioural outcomes.

Some background factors also predicted pupils’ views of primary school. Pupils’ perceptions of a ‘Positive social environment’ in primary school were significantly but moderately associated with higher family salary, Early years HLE and the quality of pre-school attended. Girls were more likely to perceive their Headteacher as interested in pupils in their school, whereas pupils who received FSM felt that they had more ‘support for learning from their teachers’.

Pupils’ views of primary school were also related to their cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes. Pupils’ positive view about their social environment was a predictor of better

outcomes for all measures (cognitive and social behavioural) in Year 5. Pupils’ perceptions of ‘Teachers’ support for pupils’ learning’ were positively related to ‘Self-regulation’ and ‘Pro-social’ behaviour, whereas perceptions of ‘Headteacher qualities’ were related to ‘Pro-social’ behaviour and ‘Hyperactivity’, and to Reading attainment in Year 5. These analyses broadly support the conclusion that the quality of pupils’ experiences in terms of feeling supported in schools provides measurable benefits in terms of all round child development.

9 How pre-schools, schools and families can support the development of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

Disadvantaged children and boys in particular benefit significantly from good quality pre-school experiences. If disadvantaged children attended centres that included children from mixed social backgrounds they made more progress than if they attended centres serving predominantly disadvantaged children. Children identified as ‘at risk’ of learning or behavioural difficulties are helped by pre-school, with integrated settings and nursery schools being particularly beneficial in providing a better start to primary school. Irrespective of the level of disadvantage, ‘home’ children (those with little or no pre-school experience) show poorer cognitive and

social/behavioural outcomes at age 5 and at age 7, and poorer academic outcomes and ‘Pro- social’ behaviour at age 11 compared to those who attended pre-school. They are also more likely to be identified by teachers as having some form of SEN during KS1.

The Early years home learning environment (HLE) and staff support for parents in providing a quality HLE have been found to promote intellectual and social development in all children. While the social class and levels of education of parents were related to child outcomes, the Early years HLE was also found to be more important than family SES and income effects. Moreover HLE is only moderately associated with social class or mothers’ qualification levels. What parents do is therefore vitally important and can counteract other disadvantaging

influences, particularly during pre-school. For this reason pre-school and school settings that do not include provision for parent support and education are missing an important element in raising achievement and enhancing social/behavioural development over the longer term. The case study findings on children at age 10 who ‘succeed against the odds’ (selected for high attainment, low SES, higher Early years HLE, and across ethnic and white groups) showed that they shared with their families: higher expectations, and a strong belief in the value of education and schooling. Interviews with parents and pupils to explore what might account for their pupils’ success revealed: a) a range of family members provided support for pupils’ learning, b) pupils themselves being active in maintaining these practices and c) education being valued highly by the family as a means of improving life chances. Both the disadvantaged parents providing higher scoring Early years home learning environments, and their children, argued that the reason some pupils do better in school is because they are more ‘attentive’ and ‘make more of an effort’. Parents of these resilient pupils also had high expectations for them. They saw education as important for achieving economic independence and improved employment opportunities in the future and many hoped their children would attend higher education and have a professional career.

The evidence supports the focus on initiatives that provide family and/or child mentoring (e.g. Learning Mentorship) as these may have a strong role in supporting the development of social capital. Community focused supplementary schools and classes also provide important educational resources. Schools and pre-schools could do much more to encourage the involvement of parents and the wider family, particularly in the education of disadvantaged children.

EPPE 3-11 pupils who attended an academically more effective primary school showed

significantly better outcomes, net of their own child and family background. At KS2 the primary school effects are stronger than those related to income and on a par with those of a mother having an A-level versus no qualification. Certain groups such as those with special educational needs (SEN), or whose mothers had low educational qualifications, also had better

In document Final Report from the Primary phase: pre school, school and family influences on children’s development during Key Stage 2 (7 11) (Page 124-131)