Early Years Digest

11th October, 2023

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The Independent - Disadvantaged pupils remain months behind peers in reading and maths, study

There is a gap in educational attainment between pupils from disadvantaged families and their peers. This gap is now narrowing and is closing quicker in maths than in reading following the pandemic, new research finds.

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The Mirror - Exclusive: Tory plans to extend free childcare could be scuppered as 50% more nurseries shut

The National Day Nurseries Association blamed a lack of funding as to why 216 nurseries in England had to shut in the 12 months to September, up from 144 in 2021/22.

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Happy little boy after health exam at doctors office

The Independent - Toddlers with developmental delays are missing out on help they need. It can hurt them long term

American babies and toddlers with disabilities are entitled to publicly funded therapies known as Early Intervention, however accessing these therapies is not always easy.

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happy child kids group have fun and play at kindergarden indoor preschool education concept with  teacher-1

The Guardian - Children were failed by pandemic policies, Covid inquiry told

Young people’s needs were forgotten, with no one made responsible by UK government for ensuring their rights were met, says legal expert.

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portrait stressed sad young woman outdoors. City urban life style stress

Nursery World - Children forced to sleep on the floor or on soiled and mouldy bedding due to poverty

More than one in 20 children are sleeping on the floor because they don’t have a bed of their own, according to findings from a survey by children’s charity Barnardo’s.

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Crying kid, emotional scene

BBC News - Child poverty its worst in decades - Hatfield head teacher

A head teacher has said child poverty levels have "increased significantly". Mairead Waugh, from St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, described the issue as "widespread". Her assessment came as a national survey found that 75% of respondent school workers were sourcing food bank vouchers and dealing with student dinner money debt.

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Happy group of school kids holding notebooks outdoors

The Guardian - Children in UK will be living in long shadow of Covid for next two decades, inquiry told

Children will be living in the “long shadow” of the pandemic for the next two decades thanks to the government’s “indifference” to them during lockdown, England’s former children’s commissioner has told the Covid inquiry. Anne Longfield, England’s former children’s commissioner, said ministers were indifferent to children during lockdown.

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purple toothbrush  on a sink

Children and Young People Now - Sector raises questions over Starmer’s toothbrushing in schools pledge

The Labour Party would introduce compulsory supervised toothbrushing in English primary schools as part of a “rescue plan for NHS dentistry” if it wins the next general election, leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

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Teacher reading her pupils a story at the elementary school

The Mirror - Nanny reveals the foods she'd never give to kids under six as they can be dangerous

Danielle Manton-Kelly, who is known as The Enchanted Nanny, took to social media to explain why some snacks are just better left on the shelves when it comes to young children.

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Adorable baby sleeping on white bed with copy space

Sky News - Children need love, hope and happiness to grow tall, claims expert

Feeling unloved - and lacking any hope for the future - causes "toxic emotional stress" that can harm the body, "including blocking hormones needed for growth and height", according to a new study.

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View of pregnant woman waiting for prescription

The Guardian - Smoking in pregnancy increases risk of premature birth threefold, study finds

Risk of smoking double the previous estimate, but research finds no link between above average caffeine intake and pre-term babies.

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happy family playing together outdoor  in park mother with kids  running on grass

Sky News - Cost of living making it harder to be a parent in Britain - survey

Expensive childcare, fewer support services and the cost of housing are contributing to parents worrying about their children's development.

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Arabic Muslim mother playing and taking care of her baby

The Mirror - Labour's Liz Kendall promises 'bold' national child poverty strategy if party wins power

A man has been receiving backlash for giving his opinions on parents using phones. The Independent explores the original video and the comments it has received.

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Nursery World - 'Babies' strapped to statues to highlight how fathers are 'left at sea' with paternity leave policy

‘Babies’ have been strapped to five out of 100 statues in Crosby today in a stunt to represent the 5 per cent of dads who access shared parental leave, a policy which the campaign group behind the event says has ‘failed on every measure’.

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PEDAL – Mobilise programme: Join to drive change for children!

Mobilise is a groundbreaking programme designed to help those making and delivering early childhood policy to harness the power of academic research. If you are a changemaker working in policy, commissioning or service leadership relating to early childhood, then this free programme is for you.

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Young man using a laptop building online business making dollar bills cash falling down. Beginner IT entrepreneur under money rain. Success economy concept

Nursery World - Take part in our cost of living survey

Nursery World magazine is running a survey to find out how the cost of living crisis and high inflation is impacting early years professionals.

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Cute little boy and girl with merry smiling eyes reading with their grandparents peering over the top of the book at the camera

EEF - The power of story in the early years

Becky Taylor, an experienced childminder based in Nailsea, North Somerset, discusses how she has embedded ‘a storytelling culture’, to support her children’s early communication, language, and literacy development.

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Hull Live - Playing with dolls can help social development in neurodiverse children, study finds

A long-term study by Cardiff University has looked at the different ways neurotypical and neurodiverse children play with dolls - and how this sparks their brain activity.

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Middle Eastern Muslim mother playing with her little baby in green park and holding him in arms

The Early Years Educator - LEYF CEO June O’Sullivan awarded OBE for services to education

The chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), June O’Sullivan has been recognised for her achievements and contributions to early years education.

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Cute kid with Tablet-1

The Yorkshire Post - What parents can do to get their children away from screens - Matt Buttery

The education secretary, Gillian Keegan, has announced plans to ban mobile phones from English schools, with the aim of reducing pupil screen time and improving concentration in classrooms.

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Portrait of a happy young woman sitting on the city stairs and using laptop computer outdoors

Government promotes early years apprenticeships - Nursery Management Today

The government has launched a digital and social media campaign to promote early years apprenticeships.

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Portrait of child sitting in living room with Teddy bear

Huffington Post - Throwing A Mattress Out A Window, Burning Shoes ... Are Shock Tactics In Parenting A Good Idea?

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently admitted to using tactics to scare his kids into changing their behaviour. Child experts discuss the potential impact of this approach.

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Research & Policy Development
reception children classroom

House of Commons – Research briefing: Early years funding in England

An overview of early years funding in England since 2017-18 and Government plans for reform.

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Cute pupils smiling around a globe in classroom with teacher at the elementary school

Barnardo's - No crib for a bed: the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on bed poverty

Every family will have different sleeping arrangements and this will be shaped by factors such as personal preference, culture and household composition. In this report, Barnardo's explores situations where families, children or young people do not have the sleeping arrangement they need because they have insufficient financial resources.

Read the report here
Student studying in the library with laptop at the university

NFER – Impact of Key Stage 1 school closures on later attainment and social skills (a longitudinal study)

This longitudinal study follows a group of the youngest school-aged children during and since the Covid-19 pandemic to understand the long-term impact of Covid-19 related disruption to schools on pupils’ attainment and social skills. This report represents the findings from the third year of the study.

Read the report here
Mother and daughter portrait with a teddy bear

University of Cambridge - Young children who are close to their parents are more likely to grow up kind, helpful and ‘prosocial’

Study using data from 10,000 people in the UK found that those who had a closer bond with their parents at age three tended to display more socially-desirable behaviours like kindness, empathy and generosity, by adolescence.

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Happy kid on green meadow driving a car

University of Leeds - Young children do better at school if their dads read and play with them

Fathers can give their children an educational advantage at primary school by reading, drawing and playing with them, according to a newly published report.

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Businesswoman sitting at her desk navigating the internet on a laptop computer using the trackpad, over the shoulder view of the blank screen

Institute of Fiscal Studies - What is happening to school funding and costs in England?

Schools funding in England is going up faster than economy-wide inflation, but not as fast as the cost pressures schools actually face.

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NDNA - Maths Champions Research Trial

The Maths Champions programme builds the knowledge of nursery practitioners to support children’s early mathematical development. It is a one-year programme developed and delivered by the National Day Nurseries Association.

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Teacher and pupils working at desk together at the elementary school

EEF - Early maths programme shows promise in boosting progress

Reception Jigsaw is a professional development training package that aims to improve mathematics teaching quality and outcomes in reception classes. The EEF has published the independent evaluation of Reception Jigsaw, a professional development programme which aims to improve maths teaching and outcomes for reception children (four- to five-year-olds).

Read the report here
Tired angry father and his energetic son

Save The Children - Children suffered a stricter lockdown than their parents - Children's rights organisations tell Covid-19 Inquiry

Lockdown was stricter for children than their parents and has caused lasting damage, the Covid-19 Inquiry heard. Rules on social mixing and outdoor exercise were also the toughest for children in England and Northern Ireland and in some cases children went for two and a half months without seeing another child.

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Rear View of Young Office Workers in Casual Outfits Listening to a Top Manager Explaining Something Using Illustrations.

Ofsted - Press release: A strong foundation in the early years is crucial to children’s success

Ofsted has today published the second part in its series of research reviews drawing on a range of research relating to early years education.

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Cardiff University - Doll play allows children to develop and practice social skills regardless of their neurodevelopmental profile

Neuroscientists from Cardiff University have found that doll play could benefit children with varying social communication styles, including those who display neurodivergent traits commonly associated with autism.

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Portrait of child sitting in living room with Teddy bear-1

Save The Children - Harm caused to children during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns was preventable, new report concludes

New report What About The Children? released by Save the Children, the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and Just for Kids Law, and backed by former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield, assesses the broad range of ways in which political leaders failed to sufficiently regard children’s needs during the pandemic.

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Better Start Bradford - 1001 Days of Nutrition

Tue, 14 Nov 2023 09:30 - 14:30 GMT | Join Dr Amir Khan and maternity, health and early years colleagues from across the Bradford district to explore why good nutrition is vital during pregnancy and the earliest years of life, at this free shared learning event for Baby Week Bradford 2023.

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