Staff pay and conditions could be just as important as
qualifications in determining how well children do in early years
settings, according to the government’s chief researcher on
Kathy Sylva, who leads the government-funded research on
Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) told a
conference that the higher the proportion of trained teachers in an
early years setting, the higher the cognitive, social and emotional
development of the children .
But she said it was not possible to say whether this was because
of qualifications or working conditions.
Staff benefits such as earning a good salary, regular appraisal,
and having decent working conditions including access to a staff
room with professional journals could account for the difference in
quality between early years settings with a trained teacher and
“Money matters. If you pay people well and give them good
conditions they are likely to do a good job”, said Sylva at a
conference on children’s centres organised by the Daycare
The EPPE research found that while all children over two benefit
from pre-school provision, there was no cognitive benefit before
the age of two. For over-twos, three hours a day was enough to gain
There was some evidence that spending a lot of hours in a centre
is associated with a slightly increased risk of antisocial
behaviour, said Sylva.
– See website www.ioe.ac.uk/projects/eppe