The Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) project investigated the effects of preschool education and care on children’s development for children aged 3-7 years old. The EPPE team collected a wide range of information on 3,000 children who were recruited at age 3+ and studied longitudinally until the end of Key Stage 1.

Data were collected on children’s developmental profiles (at ages 3, 4/5, 6 and 7 years), background characteristics related to their parents, the child’s home learning environment, and the pre-school settings children attended. Settings (141) were drawn from a range of providers (local authority day nurseries, integrated centres, playgroups, private day nurseries, nursery schools and nursery classes).

The report aims to investigate the impact of pre-school on children’s intellectual and social/behavioural development and if some pre-schools are more effective than others in promoting children’s development.

It also looked at the characteristics of an effective pre-school setting, the impact of the home and childcare history on children’s development, and if the effects of pre-school continue through Key Stage 1.


  • Policy context of the EPPE study
  • Previous research on the effectiveness of pre-school education and care
  • Design of study
  • What were the children and families like at the beginning of the study?
  • The pre-school settings: Context and Quality
  • The developmental progress of children over the pre-school period
  • Case studies of practice
  • The effects of pre-school on children’s attainment and progress up to the end of Year One
  • Did pre-school experience lead to lasting gains in cognitive and social/behavioural development to the end of KS 1?
  • Children ‘at risk’ of Special Educational Needs
  • Summarising the findings: What are the messages for policy and practice?