Early education benefits children into their teens
It was also found that the impact of education at a young age is especially beneficial to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The findings are from the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project, which has been following the educational development of more than 3,000 children since 1997.
The project's latest report concerns young people's educational attainment and social behaviour during Key Stage 3.
It found that the benefits of a good pre-school education can still be seen when children reach Key Stage 3 in Secondary School.
Iram Siraj-Blatchford is a professor of education at the Institute of Education at the University of London, and is one of the project leaders.
'A number of findings highlight how crucial it is to get things right for children from the start,' he said.
'Students who experienced multiple disadvantages in the early years had an increased risk of poorer social-behavioural development and lower attainment at age 14.'The report urges parents to focus more on their child's education when they are very young, as it has the potential to boost their attainment by a whole national curriculum level – the equivalent of around three years of school.
As well as high-quality education from a young age, it was found that the education level of parents had an effect on a child's academic progress/success.
More specifically, it was found that the level of education which a mother has achieved had the most impact on a child's academic ability.
'The findings also show that mothers' qualifications continue to have a strong association with teenagers' academic success. This is why it is so important to ensure that girls continue on into higher education,' added Mr Siraj-Blatchford.