Thank you for contacting me about the education and development of young boys in my Bury St Edmunds constituency.
I fully appreciate the scale of this problem, and I strongly believe that all children, regardless of their sex, background or circumstances, should be afforded the best possible start in life.
I support many initiatives which are aimed at promoting the early years education of our children whether in schools, local libraries and organisations and, probably most importantly, those which begin at home with the parents.
I spoke in the Westminster Hall Debate on 12 July on this subject. My contribution can be found at:
I was very encouraged that the new Prime Minister Theresa May recognised the problems facing young boys in her first ever speech in Downing Street. She said that a white, working-class boy is less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university, and of course, a large part of this will be to do with a child's early chances in life.
I am sure that the new Education Secretary will continue her predecessor's work of improving the quality of early education. 86 per cent of early years' providers are rated good or outstanding but we cannot afford to be complacent. The Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards for the provision of learning, development and care for children from birth to age five that all registered early years providers must follow. It requires providers to deliver high quality early education and includes a focus on communication and language.
To help close the gap between disadvantaged children and their 'better-off' peers, the entitlement to two-year-olds of 15 hours of free early education was introduced in September 2013. The Early Years Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2015 and is worth up to £302 per eligible child per year.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.