Since the 1980s there has been significant growth in pre-school provision but the research base is still missing, Sally Brown observed.
"There is a lack of a robust evidence base to guide policy and practice and address the questions to which we now seek answers," Professor Brown said, quoting the British Educational Research Association. There were also few studies of the relationship between adult training, professionalism and children's learning, while studies on children aged 0-3 were "scarce".
Over the past two decades, care and education had been linked and there was free part-time provision for all three and four-year-olds. Other developments included a national curriculum for 3-5s; regulation of early education and child care; partnerships among public, private and voluntary sectors; and requirements on local authorities to plan for the pre-five area.
Resources had increased and all staff had the chance to improve their professionalism.