Early Years Digest

7th May 2024


BBC News - Children hungry after school meals, says commissioner

School meal portion sizes should be looked at again with pupils saying they would like more food, according to Wales' children's commissioner.

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smiling babies playing together

The Times - Middle class parents are ditching proper childcare, but is it smart — or stressful?

Thanks to flexible working, parents are choosing instead some clever ‘muddling’. So how are they making it work? (Subscription required)

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Happy boy going to school and smiling outdoors

Sky News - Free childcare plan risks lowering standards, report finds

Amid estimates of 85,000 new childcare places needed by September 2025, the National Audit Office said "uncertainties" remain over whether the sector can expand to deliver enough places amid a lack of qualified staff and suitable space.

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happy little child play game and have fun, education lessons in colorful kinder garden playground indoors-1

The Guardian - The expansion of free childcare has been a Tory-fied mess of a bright Labour idea

On a visit to a combined nursery and primary school, Polly Toynbee saw how early years provision can really be transformed.

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young parrent at home with beautiful child make savings and put coins money in piggy bank

The Daily Mirror - DWP Universal Credit childcare support worth up to £1,739 every month - how to claim

You can claim help with childcare costs for any children under 16 who you are responsible for, with the maximum claim being £1,014.63 for one child or £1,739.37 for two or more children.

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Beautiful pregnant woman resting at home lying on the sofa

The Telegraph & Argus - Mental Health Awareness Week: NSPCC is helping new parents

MATERNAL Mental Health Awareness Week (April 29 to May 5) is a campaign from Maternal Mental Health Alliance to ensure that mothers receive the support and care they need as they adapt to their new arrivals.

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Humanitarian food for poor children in refugee camp

Nursery World Magazine - Nursery World Survey – Most providers unable to meet demand for ‘free’ twos offer

Respondents to a Nursery World survey cite insufficient space and problems recruiting extra staff as reasons for putting children on waiting lists.

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Kid with chocolate

The Guardian - ‘Unethical’ junk food packaging manipulates children into craving sweets, report claims

Bite Back, a Jamie Oliver campaign group, found the 10 biggest producers reel in young shoppers with attention-grabbing colours and cartoons.

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Closeup image of a man paying with credit card at the restaurant

The Metro - This is how much it costs to raise a child in 2024

The cost of raising children has soared over the course of the past decade, leaving many parents struggling to make ends meet. Research from investment experts Moneyfarm suggests it now costs more than £220,000 to raise a child to the age of 18.

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Crying kid, emotional scene-1

TES Magazine - Keegan admits SEND system isn’t working well ‘for anybody’

During a start-of-term live event, the education secretary says ‘it will take some time to make sure that we have the provision in place’.

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reception children classroom teacher

Nursery World Magazine - New evidence-based guidance on supporting children's self awareness of feelings and actions

New guidance for early years educators on how to support children’s executive function and self-regulation has been published.

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Woman holding her 2 days old newborn baby-1

The Guardian - Becoming a mother was impossibly hard during Covid. Has anything changed since?

Rates are improving in the US as healthcare organizations take steps to confront the continuing crisis. Still, new mothers often feel alone: ‘People don’t know what to do’.

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

World Bank Blog - Partnerships to drive action for the early years

We know that investing in the early years is one of the smartest things a country can do to eliminate extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and create the human capital needed for economies to diversify and grow. Both brain science and economic evidence tell us that early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development.

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Father and son playing guitar at home

BBC Teach - EYFS / KS1 music: Musical storyland

Journey through Musical Storyland, where children’s favourite fairy tales and traditional folktales are re-imagined with magical music performed by musicians of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

More information
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Siren Films - In conversation with Warda Farah, speech and language therapist

We know that children from Black backgrounds are overrepresented as having Speech & Language Impairments, due to biased assessment protocols. We know that our current models, practice base & service delivery is not good enough to bring about equitable change for these children/families. How can we all use our SLT skills to create meaningful change and social impact?

Watch here

The National Audit Office - Report - Value for money: Preparations to extend early years entitlements for working parents in England

DfE launched the Early Years and Childcare Reform Programme (the Programme) to extend entitlements alongside wraparound childcare for primary-aged school children. This report assesses DfE’s progress and whether it is well-placed to manage value for money risks.

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation - Poverty proofing the future of early years childcare

Despite the significant uplift in funded childcare available for families with 3 and 4 year olds in Scotland, families experiencing poverty still struggle to afford, and therefore access childcare, particularly for younger children.

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Two kids playing a game of cards

Nesta - Fostering parental engagement with early child development

Through this project, Nesta developed ideas on how to co-create a physical interactive/immersive experience with parents and frontline practitioners that could spark parents’ interest in their children’s early brain development.

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Preschooler and his teddy bear at pediatrician

Paediatrics and child Health - The role of the health visitor: where are we now?

Health visiting has been described as the backbone of early years services across the UK and the safety net around all families. This paper explores the role of health visitors and the current context in England. Health visitors lead and deliver the Healthy Child Programme which is the national preventative public health programme covering pregnancy and the first five years of life.

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Asian baby drinking water

Swansea University - Choosing sugary drinks over fruit juice for toddlers linked to risk of adult obesity

Consuming sugar-sweetened drinks in the first few years of childhood can be linked to poor diet patterns that increase the risk of obesity in later life, according to a new study by the School of Psychology at Swansea University.

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Stressed businessman

Neuroscience News - Parenting demands make people feel lonely

A new study highlights the widespread feelings of isolation and burnout among parents, with 66% reporting feelings of loneliness due to parenting demands. The study, involving parents across various demographics, shows that 62% experience burnout, and 38% lack supportive networks.

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Caucasian business hand holding megaphone with drawn empty speech bubble

The Chartered College of Teaching - A conversation with Sir Martyn Oliver

Wednesday 15th May 3pm, online - Join the Chartered College of Teaching for a conversation with Sir Martyn Oliver as part of Ofsted’s Big Listen campaign. The event is for Members of the Chartered College of Teaching only.

Group of school kids coloring outdoors looking happy

Kinderly Learn - Alice Thornton – When less is more: Supporting early communication

Wednesday 29th May 8pm, online (free) - Don’t miss this FREE Kinderly webinar with Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Alice Thornton.

Businesswoman doing conference presentation in meeting room

iHV Evidence-Based Practice Conference - A Healthier Future

Wednesday 3rd July, full-day - This year’s EBP conference will focus on addressing health inequalities, a topic that has never been more poignant, with more babies and children experiencing poorer outcomes and living in poverty than ever before. How can we ensure a healthier future, where all babies and children can thrive? How can we use the best available evidence and research to reduce health inequalities and strengthen health visiting practice?

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Arabic Muslim mother playing and taking care of her baby-1

Nursery World Conferences - Birth to three: Meeting children’s unique needs

Tuesday 9th July, full-day - Education practice for children under three needs to be specialised and different to provision for older nursery-age children. While much is known about the kinds of environments in which babies and toddlers thrive, there is still a lot to learn when it comes to creating these environments and delivering best practice.

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