The study, commissioned by early childhood education advocacy group The Front Project, found that children who attend one year of early childhood education are more likely to go on to achieve higher Year 3 NAPLAN scores, thereby influencing results throughout school as well as tertiary and employment outcomes.

The Front Project CEO Jane Hunt said the data highlights the importance of quality early learning.

“We all want our children to be more and have more than we had, and this report demonstrates that early learning is a vital part of making this possible,” she said.

“One year of quality early learning before school can hold the key to unlocking a wealth of opportunity for our young people as they develop and eventually enter the workforce.

“Finally, we have the research that shows that quality early learning is a key economic enabler that will allow our children to seize opportunities as the world of work becomes more complex."

The study was conducted by multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

PwC chief economist Jeremy Thorpe said the research demonstrates the impact of early learning on a child’s development.

“Using the best available Australian and international research we were able to estimate the impact of early childhood education on early school achievement, and then the likely uplift in achievement at Year 3 and throughout the rest of their education,” Thorpe said.

“The evidence suggests that if early childhood education puts students ahead at the start of primary school, the benefits will increase as they progress through the education system.”