World class

Think tank: The Sutton Trust

Author(s): Elena Rose Brown; Merrilyn Groom; Kankan Zhang; Sarah Angell

July 13, 2023

This report from UK think tank The Sutton Trust looks at what England can learn from global experience to make early years policy work for disadvantaged children.

England’s early education and childcare system is at a turning point. Both major political parties have shown a significant interest in the early years, with the government recently announcing an expansion of funded provision for some one- and two-year-olds in the 2023 Spring Budget. But what can be done to ensure any changes to England’s early years system are successful, especially for the most disadvantaged children? In light of the announcement, this report takes a detailed look at the early years systems of 13 different countries around the world. Authored by researchers from RAND Europe, it analyses countries with well-developed and more established systems, as well as those who have made notable improvements in recent years – ranging from Estonia and Sweden to Japan and Australia. It also examines how the early years system in England compares internationally and considers which aspects of other countries’ early years systems could be beneficial for England.