Children risk falling behind by the age of four because nursery teachers are poorly educated, a new report suggests.
A quarter of early years practitioners – which includes child-minders as well as nursery teachers and assistants – have no qualifications beyond GCSEs, according to the Education Policy Institute (EPI).
Meanwhile A-levels are their highest qualification for just over a third (36 per cent) of those working with toddlers, the report found.
Sara Bonetti, the report’s author, said: “Of course having a higher qualified workforce will have a better impact on children’s outcomes.
“There is national and international evidence which shows that a highly skilled and highly qualified workforce has a positive benefit for children.
“This can be physical development, such as sitting down or holding a pen correctly, socio-emotional development and cognitive development which are key to school-readiness, and pre-literacy skills like recognising letters and sounds.”
She said that if the foundation for these is not in place in toddlers, it is much harder for them to develop later in life.
“In general we do know that higher qualification levels do have an impact on the general ability of [nursery teachers] to enhance the cognitive ability of the child,” Ms Bonetti added.