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Children of all backgrounds who receive a preschool education were almost twice as likely to go on to sixth form and sit AS levels, according to new Oxford University research.

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Children who had gone to preschool were found to be significantly more likely to take four or more AS-levels or three or more A-levels than children who had not attended preschool. The findings suggest that far more preschoolers end up taking an academic route into university than peers who had stayed at home when they were under five who did not have the same educational start.

Researchers also found, however, that children who did experience stimulating learning activities in the home when they were under five were also more likely to achieve better A-level grades than peers who had not received this support from their parents. From studying parents' responses when children were in the early years and following these children up through primary and secondary school, researchers found that children did better in sixth form if their parents had engaged in activities such as singing songs and nursery rhymes, teaching the alphabet, reading books together, playing with numbers and letters, or going on visits to the library. 

Read more on the University website (opens new window)