Early schooling helps narrow boys’ disadvantage gap

Early schooling helps to narrow the gap between boys from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds, new research has found.Academics from University College London’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration said their results suggested that the school-entry point for summer-born children should only be deferred in “exceptional circumstances”.The researchers analysed data from the national pupil database on more than 400,000 state school pupils in England born in 2000-01, as well as information on more than 7,000 children from the same cohort who took part in the Millennium Cohort Study. They found that an extra term of early schooling had a positive effect for teacher relationship, academic interest and disruptive behaviour for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, up until age 11. It also led to increased test scores in language and numeracy at age 5 by 16-20 per cent; personal, social and emotional development at age 5 by 8 per cent; and language and numeracy skills at age 7 by about 10 per cent.However, many of these effects were not present among boys from advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Co-author Christian Dustmann, a professor at UCL, said: “An important finding of the study is that the large skills difference between boys from advantaged and disadvantaged family backgrounds can be substantially reduced by early schooling.

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