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Achievers in school down to background

A new report suggests that children whose parents focused on their learning in the pre-school years will be brainier when they reach 14.

Research conducted by the Institute of Education (IoE) indicate that the quality of education in the first few years of a young child's life has a big effect on how successful they are in exams at secondary school.

According to the study, those children tend to be ahead of their peers in core subjects such as English, maths and science - approximately one curriculum level ahead for English and science and 1.3 levels in front with maths.

The report said: "The quality of the early years home learning environment was strongly associated with differences in attainment at Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14)."

It also discovered that the pupil's background, such as the level of the mother's educational qualifications, can be a factor indicating the level of their own achievement at school.

In contrast to children whose parents have no qualifications, students with mums and dads who have gained degrees at university were likely to be leaps ahead of their classmates: approximately 1.4 national curriculum levels ahead in English; 1.7 levels ahead in maths; and 1.5 in science.

Data had been collected from the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE), which has been tracking the development of an estimated 3,000 children for 15 years.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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