First Years First Priority submission to Pathways to School Success

Submitted on Sept 2021

This submission highlights the need for more attention to, and investment in, public policies that support very young children and their families, especially those facing inequalities and social exclusion from their earliest years and into their schooling. We also highlight the importance of ensuring the Pathways to School Success initiative improves access to high-quality ECEC, especially for children under the age of three from vulnerable groups and disproportionately affected by disparities in accessing quality ECEC services.

Pathways to School Success complements existing EU initiatives to realise children’s rights and promote social inclusion, including through education. The European Child Guarantee, the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan provide incentives for Member States to tackle child poverty and social exclusion as a national priority. These frameworks recommend multi-sector integrated approaches and comprehensive action plans that can support children and families from the start. The European Commission has an important role in supporting Member States to implement ambitious strategies and ensuring that all children can have the best start in life, as a foundation for their learning in school and beyond. The proposed Council Recommendation on Pathways to School Success is an opportunity to recognize the importance of early childhood development, investing in children’s early years and reducing inequalities from the first years of life.

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