The importance of longitudinal studies like Growing up in Scotland and monitoring outcomes in and from the early years was highlighted this week in Labour MP Frank Field’s address about the impact of inequalities to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Field delivers the report of the government’s Review on Poverty and Life Chances to David Cameron next week.
In the speech to the IFS, Children and Families Now reported Field said:
"The gobsmacking findings were that, as children turned up for their first day at school, they possessed a wide range of abilities and that children from families on the lowest incomes were more likely to be towards the bottom end of the range of these abilities. And there they remained when a second set of tests was taken at 10 years of age."
He added that "even worse" was that high-performing children from deprived backgrounds "lost ground" on those from richer backgrounds between the ages of five and 10.
The report is likely to focus on how children can be better supported during their first five years. He said that "interventions" during school were shown to be less effective in reducing inequality.