Children who were taught well in their first year of school went on to achieve better General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) results in English and Maths, according to researchers at Durham University’s Center for Evaluation and Monitoring, telegraph.co.uk reported.
The research paper, titled ‘The long term impact of effective teaching’, analyzed the development of 40,000 children in England at age four until age 16.
Professor Peter Tymms, who led the research, said that the study highlights the ‘lasting benefits’ of good-quality educational provision. “Boosts in attainment from effective classes in Key Stages one and two also had long-term benefits but not as large as those seen in the first year of school,” he said.
“There should be a focus on the placement of high-quality teachers to ensure that all children experience an effective first year of school.”
It is already widely accepted that high quality early years and pre-school provision is crucial for a child’s educational development.
However, this study demonstrates the long-term importance of good teaching in the first year of school. The researchers measured children’s reading and maths development at age four, and then again a year later at the end of the first Reception, then at ages seven, 11 and 16.
A range of social and economic factors that could have skewed the results were taken into account, such as children’s age, term of starting school, sex, ethnicity, special needs, English as an additional language and deprivation.
It is already widely accepted that high quality early years and pre-school provision is crucial for a child’s educational development
Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: "This important study confirms that great teaching in reception class pays off later in school.
"The early years are a crucial time for development and we know that quality of teaching has the single biggest impact on how well children do in school.
“While we must continue to focus on improving the quality of teaching everywhere, these important findings tell us that giving that bit of extra support and professional development to reception teachers could really reap rewards.”
The study, published in the journal School Effectiveness and School Improvement, concluded that the first year of school is a crucial opportunity to have an impact on children’s long-term academic outcomes.
The study also looked into whether schools are able to reduce the gap in attainment seen between children from wealthy and poor backgrounds
Mike Parker, director of the Schools North East network, said: "Heads have to think carefully about how they deploy their star performers because the quality of teaching disproportionately impacts disadvantaged pupils.
"This research should also act as a catalyst to government to greatly improve the provision and uptake of high quality early years provision in less affluent areas."