Early childhood development is a key determinant of educational outcomes.
Inequality in early cognitive development
The Marmot Review (1) discusses Feinstein’s (2) study of the long-term educational outcomes of children in 1970. By the age of six (74 months), children from higher socio-economic groups, that had been classified as 'less bright' in tests at 22 months, performed better in tests of cognitive ability than children classified as 'bright' at 22 months from lower socio-economic groups (see figure). Feinstein went on to show how this early disadvantage for children in lower socio-economic groups went on to predict final educational outcomes in 1996.
Inequality in early cognitive development in the 1970 British Cohort study at age 22 months to 10 years
Source: Marmot Review (2010). Fair Society, healthy lives. Review of health inequalities in England post-2010
Since educational outcomes are good predictors of long-term health, ensuring equal childhood cognitive development is a critical element of any attempt to reduce health inequalities.
Standardising limiting illness ratios in 2001 by educational qualifications
Source: Marmot Review (2010). Fair Society, healthy lives. Review of health inequalities in England post-2010. Executive summary