The contextualised multilevel models tested the net impact of different aspects of pre-school and primary school experience while controlling for all other background measures simultaneously and thus provide rigorous and conservative estimates of statistical significance of any continuing pre-school effects on later attainment in Year 6 as well as of primary school influence.

The contextualised analyses show that good pre-school experience (in terms of high quality and high effectiveness) can still make a difference to children’s longer term cognitive attainments even after 6 years full-time in primary school education. Compared to earlier time points the strength of effects have decreased to some extent as might be expected, due to the length and variation in primary school experience and also probably reflecting the growing influence of the peer group.

The results also illustrated that the academic effectiveness of the primary school also matters for attainment in English and Mathematics at the end of Year 6. A highly academic effective primary school seems to be especially important for those children who did not go to pre-school (the lowest attainment occurs for the no pre-school group with a low academically effective primary school). However, attending low quality pre-school offers relatively few lasting benefits for attainment (in contrast to findings at younger ages). On the other hand attending high quality or more effective pre-school seems to act as a moderate to strong protective factor for children who go on to attend a less academically effective primary school.

Attending a highly academic effective primary school is also important for the ‘home’ (no pre- school) group for predicting better ‘Self-regulation’. Attending high quality pre-school appears to act as a protective factor for children who then attend a less academically effective primary school for ‘Self-regulation’.

Pupils’ progress across Key Stage 2 (KS2)

The quality and effectiveness of the pre-school also predicted pupils’ progress from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 (Pre-school quality for English ES=0.05–0.23; Mathematics ES=0.05–0.20; Pre- school effectiveness for English ES=0.10–0.28; Mathematics ES=0.13–0.22) suggesting that pre- school not only provides an initial boost to attainment levels, but also helps promote later

progress (possibly by fostering children’s capacity to learn and their motivation, may be via increasing their ‘Self-regulation’). Similarly children attending more academically effective primary schools make significantly more progress during KS2 and the impact on progress is larger than that of most background factors (English ES=0.37; Mathematics ES=0.52).

Key Stage 2 - Cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes

The boost to children’s progress over KS2 given by attending an academically more effective primary school is stronger than that of the pre-school, as might be expected given the length of time children spend in primary school (6 years). This again confirms the importance of the primary school as an influential factor for children’s educational progress as well as their

attainment levels, net of background factors and prior attainment. Again as with attainment, the school effects are stronger for progress in Mathematics than English (in line with findings in other educational effectiveness studies, see Teddlie & Reynolds, 2000).

Summary and implications of pre-school and primary school effects at end of primary school

The findings for National assessment outcomes at the end of primary school (Year 6) are broadly in line with those identified at age 10 (Sammons et al, 2007a; 2007c), where standardised

assessments (NFER tests) were adopted to measure children’s attainment. In both years teachers’ assessments of social behaviour were collected. The consistency in findings for the academic as well as those for the social/behavioural outcomes provides greater confidence in the robustness of the results (since Year 5 was not a National assessment year and therefore there was less likelihood of any possible bias that might be introduced through the impact of high stakes assessment on teachers’ behaviour/test preparation on children’s Year 6 outcomes). The findings at the end of primary school are summarised in Table 5 below.

The EPPE 3-11 study demonstrates the extent to which individual child, family and home learning environment (HLE) background factors continue to predict children’s academic outcomes (attainment/progress) and social/behavioural development in Key Stage 2.

Longitudinal studies are able to monitor this over time, which is relevant to the debate on equity in education, and to policies that seek to raise standards, reduce the equity gap and promote inclusion.

Low quality pre-school has little enduring extra benefit over the ‘home’ (no pre-school) group and was associated with some poorer social outcomes, although not for ‘Pro-social’ behaviour. Conversely, medium and particularly high quality pre-school still benefits children’s cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes at age 11 and progress over KS2. ‘Home’ children do less well on most outcomes compared to those who attended medium or higher quality pre-school. They also show a continued disadvantage in terms of ‘Pro-social’ behaviour but better outcomes for


High scores on the Early years HLE seem to be a protective factor for children who did not attend pre-school, promoting better ‘Self-regulation’ in Key Stage 2. Similarly, previous experience of attending high quality pre-school ameliorates the negative impact of a low Early years HLE fostering relatively better ‘Self-regulation’ at age 11.

Attending an academically more effective primary school boosts children’s academic outcomes in English and particularly in Mathematics; there are also benefits for ‘Self-regulation’ while there is no evidence of negative influence on social/behavioural outcomes. This has important

implications for the Every Child Matters agenda by showing that promoting better academic outcomes does not compete with better social/behavioural development. Primary school

academic effectiveness is a particularly significant influence for those children who did not have the advantage of attending a pre-school, many of whom came from families with low levels of education. This findings is very relevant to policy aims to encourage social inclusion as well as raising standards.

The results indicate that the combination of different influences at home and in education (of a high Early years HLE along with a higher quality, more effective pre-school and a more

academically effective primary school) can give a significant boost to children’s outcomes at age 11 years.

Key Stage 2 - Cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes

These findings add to the debate about reducing the achievement gap for disadvantaged groups. Concerted action to improve the Early years HLE, and both pre-school and primary school

experiences (reducing variation in quality and effectiveness) will be needed to make a difference to outcomes for the most disadvantaged children. In addition, the present findings suggest that there will still be a need for specially targeted interventions for children who are identified as well behind their peers in cognitive and social/behavioural profiles at the start of primary school, particularly if these children have not had the benefit of a good pre-school experience or a good Early years HLE. This may go some way to narrowing the achievement gap during KS1 and KS2 since early intervention has a better chance of improving such pupils’ learning trajectories

(Sammons et al., 2004b; Hurry & Sylva, 2007; Sylva et al., 2008).

Key Stage 2 - Cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes

Table 5: Summary of background factors and pre- and primary school influences on cognitive attainment and social behaviour at Year 6

(Only the largest significant effect sizes are reported)

English Mathematics regulation’ ‘Self- ‘Pro-social’

behaviour ‘Hyperactivity’

‘Anti-social’ behaviour Child Factors & (Largest significant effect

size group) Compared to Gender (Girls) Boys 0.29 -0.19 0.30 0.71 -0.71 -0.38 Ethnicity (Indian) White UK heritage 0.45 -0.27 Ethnicity (Bangladeshi) White UK heritage 0.37 -0.55 -0.27 Ethnicity (Other ethnic minority)

White UK

heritage -0.28

Early Developmental problems

(1-2 Problems) None -0.24 -0.15

Early Developmental problems

(2 + Problems) None -0.47

Early Behavioural problems

(1 Problem) None -0.25 -0.24 0.31 0.24

Need of EAL support

(Need EAL support) None -0.59 -0.64 -0.65 0.46

Birth weight

(Very low <=1500g) Normal -0.47 -0.48

Family factors

Free school meals (FSM)

(FSM) Non-FSM -0.23 -0.15 -0.23 0.21 0.27

Family earned income

(£17,500 - £29,999) None earned 0.25 -0.24

Family earned income

(£37,500 - £67,499) None earned 0.23 0.22 0.38

Mother’s qualification level

(Degree) None 0.76 0.71 0.36 -0.27

Mother’s qualification level

(Higher Degree) None 0.55

Mother’s qualification level

(Other professional) None -0.53

Father’s Qualification level

(Degree) None 0.29 -0.30

Father’s Qualification level

(Higher Degree) None 0.39 0.34

Family SES (Unskilled) Professional non-manual -0.36 0.28 Family SES (Skilled manual ) Professional non-manual -0.34 Marital Status

(Separated/ divorced) Married -0.18

Change in Marital Status

(Single -Couple) Couple-Couple 0.24 0.25 Home Learning Environment (HLE)

Early years HLE

(Highest ) Low 0.69 0.42 0.42 0.22 -0.23

Key Stage 1 HLE

Key Stage 2 - Cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes

Table 5 (cont): Summary of background factors and pre- and primary school influences on cognitive attainment and social behaviour at Year 6

(Only the largest significant effect sizes are reported)

English Mathematics regulation’ ‘Self- ‘Pro-social’

behaviour ‘Hyperactivity’

‘Anti-social’ behaviour Pre-school & (Largest significant effect

size group) Compared to

Attending (Pre-school ) ‘home’ - not attending 0.22 0.26 0.19 Pre-school quality ECERS-E (Low) ‘home’ - not attending 0.22 ECERS-E (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.29 0.34 0.25 0.23 -0.22 ECERS-R (Low) ‘home’ - not attending 0.22 ECERS-R (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.24 0.28 -0.23 Pre-school effectiveness Early number concepts (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.40 0.29 0.27 Pre-reading (Low) ‘home’ - not attending 0.22 Pre-reading (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.25

‘Co-operation and Conformity’ (Medium)

‘home’ - not

attending 0.19

‘Co-operation and Conformity’ (High)

‘home’ - not

attending 0.26

‘Independence & Concentration’ (Low)

‘home’ - not

attending 0.24

‘Independence & Concentration’ (Medium)

‘home’ - not

attending 0.20

‘Independence & Concentration’ (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.21 ‘Peer Sociability’ (Low) ‘home’ - not attending 0.20 ‘Peer Sociability’ (Medium) ‘home’ - not attending 0.21 ‘Peer Sociability’ (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.21 ‘Anti-social’ behaviour (High) ‘home’ - not attending 0.24 0.38 -0.25

Primary School Effectiveness English

(High) Low 0.24


Section 5: Understanding the influences of primary school practices

Summary of Key Messages

• Observations and questionnaires were undertaken for a sub-sample of 125 schools, in Year 5 classrooms.

• There was significant variation in teachers’ practices and children’s educational experiences in Year 5 and ‘quality’ was uneven.

• Higher order thinking skills were infrequently observed in 30% of Year 5 classrooms.

• Use of the plenary was associated with better outcomes, but regular use was patchy.

• The quality of teaching was poorer in schools with higher levels of disadvantaged pupils.

• Higher scores on overall teaching quality and quality of pedagogy were associated with better outcomes for children.

• Consistent homework policies, high school standards, good communications with parents and an ‘academic’ ethos were all related to better outcomes for children.

• Ofsted judgements of school effectiveness, improvement since last inspection and school leadership all predicted better outcomes for children.

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 70-75)