Skills, Capabilities and Inequalities at School Entry in a Disadvantaged Community
Socioeconomic inequalities in children’s skills and capabilities begin early in life and can have detrimental effects on future success in school. The present study examines the relationships between school readiness and sociodemographic inequalities using teacher reports of the Short Early Development Instrument in a disadvantaged urban area of Ireland. It specifically examines socioeconomic (SES) differences in skills within a low SES community in order to investigate the role of relative disadvantage on children’s development. Differences across multiple domains of school readiness are examined using Monte-Carlo permutation tests. The results show that child, family and environmental factors have an impact on children’s school readiness, with attendance in centre-based childcare having the most consistent relationship with readiness for school. In addition, the findings suggest that social class inequalities in children’s skills still exist within a disadvantaged community. These results are discussed in relation to future intervention programmes.
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