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Rebecca

Closing Gaps Early, The Sutton Trust report

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The Sutton Trust released their 'Closing Gaps Early' report this week. There were several interesting findings highlighted. One key finding was that the new 30 hours scheme could widen the gap between disadvantaged children and those able to take advantage of the increased funding. The report says "neither the tax-free childcare scheme nor the 30 hour entitlement for working families are well-designed to promote social mobility, meaning longer hours in state-funded early education for children who are already relatively advantaged, which may be expected to widen gaps in child development at school starting age. Particularly worrying, these investments are coming at the expense of the quality of provision." The key findings were as follows:

  • The UK has made a great deal of progress over the past 20 years, doubling the period of paid maternity leave and introducing new rights to paid paternity leave and parental leave.
  • Progress in parenting policy has been more uneven. While parenting is a major factor contributing to gaps in early child development, research has also highlighted the difficulties of designing and implementing policies to improve parenting or close gaps in parenting and the home environment between low- and high-socio-economic status families. Carefully designed programmes, drawing on the growing evidence base, can play a role in reducing disparities in early childhood, although delivering them effectively at scale remains challenging.
  • Early education and childcare has been a major focus of policy in this area. Of concern is that recent developments indicate a shift in funding and policy focus away from quality early education for child development towards childcare affordability for working families. Investments in affordability are welcome, but neither the tax-free childcare scheme nor the 30 hour entitlement for working families are well-designed to promote social mobility, meaning longer hours in state-funded early education for children who are already relatively advantaged, which may be expected to widen gaps in child development at school starting age. Particularly worrying, these investments are coming at the expense of the quality of provision.
  • One third of staff working in group-based care still lack either English or Maths GCSE or both. A current proposal to remove the requirement for maintained nursery and reception classes to have a qualified teacher is particularly worrying and could affect children in disadvantaged areas most of all.
  • Targeted places for disadvantaged two-year-olds continue, but nearly one-third of eligible two-year-olds still do not take up their place, while many of the available places for two-year-olds are not in the highest quality settings.
  • Cash transfers can have a significant impact on household financial resources and therefore on children’s outcomes. From 1997 to 2010 cash transfers for children became much more generous, with children under five the greatest beneficiaries. Since 2010 aspects of this support have been unravelled: notably, additional benefits for babies have been scrapped; the tax credit system has been more narrowly targeted; and a freeze on working-age benefits means a steady erosion in the real value of support.
  • Changes to benefits and tax credits are projected to lead to sharp increases in child poverty in the next five years, undoing much of the progress of the early 2000s. It is difficult to see how even well-designed policies to support parenting and ensure access to high quality early education can have their optimal impact against such a backdrop.

 

You can read the report in full from here.

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Quote - "A current proposal to remove the requirement for maintained nursery and reception classes to have a qualified teacher."... :o :o

 

Oh my... can anyone point me in the direction of where this has come from? I have not heard of this at all!

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The explanation is on page 24 of the full report and references the Workforce Strategy (March 2017). I think the point being made is that they are considering that EYTs (who don't have QTS) could lead in all early years provisions. It's on p18 of the workforce strategy document. Workforce strategy document March 2017

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Thank you both... no I haven't yet seen these so thanks for the links

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