Young children’s academic development heavily influenced by family affluence

A new study by UK children’s charity the Sutton Trust suggests that economic factors play a huge role in the academic and learning development of young children.

They claim that research on children born in the years 2000 and 2001 shows that, even between the ages of 3 and 5, less bright children from more affluent families are catching up academically with very bright children from poorer families.

By age seven, many have caught up or even overtaken them.

The Trust claims that this wide social divide hasn’t changed in thirty years.

The report includes such findings as:

Children in the poorest fifth of households but in the brightest group drop from the 88th percentile on cognitive tests at age three to the 65th percentile at age five.

Meanwhile those from the richest households who were among the least able at three moved up from the 15th percentile to the 45th percentile by the age of five.

The report concludes, in plainer language:



Parental background continues to exert a significant influence on the academic progress of recent generations of children.

The Trust suggests that parental background, which in itself is heavily influenced by financial factors, plays a huge role in a child’s future development.

Some of this is to do with physical resources. Children from richer families tend to have easier access to books, computers, and other learning materials, and may well go on more trips than poorer children.

However, it’s not all about money. Parents, regardless of their background or financial standing, need to take time to interact with their children, to encourage and help them develop outside school.

Government also needs to make educational resources as universally available as possible, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

(Via BBC News)