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The best teachers should be put in reception classes if they are to have the biggest impact on children, study shows.

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The best teachers should be put in reception classes if they are to have the biggest impact on children, study shows.

Children who were taught well in their first year of school went on to achieve better GCSE results in English and Maths, according to research undertook at Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring.  

The development of 40,000 children in England at age four until age 16 was analysed in the paper called “The Long Term Impact of Effective Teaching”

Peter Tymms, who led the research, stated that the study highlights the “lasting benefits” of good-quality educational provision. “Boosts in attainment from effective classes in Key Stages 1 and 2 also had long-term benefits but not as great as those seen in the first year of school,” he added. 

“There should be a focus on the placement of high-quality teachers to ensure that all children experience an effective first year of school.”  

It is common knowledge that high quality early years and pre-school provision is crucial for a child’s educational development and to that end, the study is not ground-breaking however, this study demonstrates the long-term importance of good teaching in the first year of school. Researchers measured children’s reading and maths development at age four, and then again a year later at the end of the first Reception, then at ages seven, 11 and 16.

 It could be argued that a variety of Socio-Economic factors potentially skew the results however, children’s age, term of starting school, sex, ethnicity, special needs, English as an additional language and deprivation were all taken into consideration.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: "This important study confirms that great teaching in reception class pays off later in school.

"The early years are a crucial time for development and we know that quality of teaching has the single biggest impact on how well children do in school.

 “While we must continue to focus on improving the quality of teaching everywhere, these important findings tell us that giving that bit of extra support and professional development to reception teachers could really reap rewards.”

The study, published in the journal School Effectiveness and School Improvement, concluded that the first year of school is a crucial opportunity to have an impact on children’s long-term academic outcomes.