The Peer Composition of Pre-School Settings in England and Early Recorded Attainment among Low-Income Children

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Kitty Stewart, Tammy Campbell, Ludovica Gambaro

In: British Journal of Sociology of Education 40 (2019), 6, S. 717-741


Evidence suggests that early education can promote children’s development and narrow attainment gaps between those from lower-income and higher-income families. However, realisation of these potential benefits depends on many factors, feasibly including peer composition. We use national census data for a year-group cohort of children in England in 2011, to answer two questions: how are low-income children distributed across pre-schools; and what is the relationship between the proportion of low-income peers in a low-income child’s setting and these children’s subsequent recorded educational attainment? In contrast to many European countries and to the United States, we find that the majority of low-income children attend mixed settings. We find little evidence for associations between the proportion of low-income peers and low-income children’s subsequent early attainment. We suggest that this may be due to an arguably optimal distribution across settings, where the funding and provision context of 2011 facilitated a lack of clustering of low-income children.

Ludovica Gambaro

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in der Abteilung Bildung und Familie

Keywords: Early years, poverty, education, peer effects