Early Years Digest

9th April 2024

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

The Independent - What’s the use of free childcare if daycare centres are already full? 

From 1 April, working parents are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare – but, says mother-of-two Charlotte Cripps, there’s a pretty big catch.

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The Guardian view on free childcare: a subsidy for demand with little thought for supply

The government’s extension of free nursery hours reflects a late recognition of problems the Tories’ are ill-equipped to address.

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teacher and children in classroom

The Times - Nurseries plan will only work with 40,000 more staff, Keegan admits

Education secretary accused Labour of putting parents off returning to work by refusing to back the free childcare scheme.

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group of children at school

British Vogue - A Closer Look At The Government’s “Free Childcare For Two-Year-Olds” Scheme

According to many news reports and research by organisations like Pregnant Then Screwed and the Early Years Alliance, it would seem that – prepare to be shocked – this scheme has not been as comprehensively funded or planned as it should have been.

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primary school children sitting at table

The Daily Mail - Rishi Sunak vows to make his new childcare plan work as he is grilled by nursery parents over the number of places

The Prime Minister insisted that capacity was growing and said he had increased the rates paid to nurseries.

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The Evening Standard - Nurseries are being paid enough to deliver massive increase in free childcare, minister claims 

Nurseries say they will be left out of pocket by offering more free places.

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Puzzle head brain concept as a human face profile made from crumpled white paper with a jigsaw piece cut out on a rustic old wood background as a mental health symbol.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation- A new social contract in the childcare system 

Driving up standards through ambitious new conditions on public funding for childcare.

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The Institute for Fiscal Studies - What you need to know about the new childcare entitlements

This comment looks at who will be eligible for free childcare, whether funding is high enough and what impact the new entitlements might have.

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Cute newborn baby serie on grey

Nursery World - How rhythm and tone are key for the early language-learning brain

A study recently concluded babies first learn language via rhythm and tone instead of phonetic information. Professor Usha Goswami shares more about the BabyRhythm project.

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Intelligent group of young school children all raising their hands in the air to answer a question posed by the female teacher, view from behind

TES - Teacher pay falls by more than public sector as a whole

IFS says cuts to pay of higher earners in the public sector has contributed to recruitment and retention problems.

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Student doing maths on abacus at elementary school

The Guardian - Hard-up English councils ration access to special needs tests

Many local authorities are increasingly rejecting requests to assess children who need help in schools, new data reveals.

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The Independent - Excessive screen time is harming teenagers’ social skills, warns US surgeon-general

People’s ability to interact with one another and build relationships is diminishing, says Vivek Murthy.

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Happy group of school kids holding notebooks outdoors

BBC News - Lib Dems call for end to special needs postcode lottery

There are huge differences in support offered in schools, linked to extra costs, says party leader Sir Ed Davey.He wants a new national champion to coordinate support for children with the most complex needs as part of a £300m boost.

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iNews - ‘Our nursery was bought by private equity – prices are up and it’s not as good’

As childcare providers struggle to stay afloat, private equity firms have spotted an opportunity. With nothing in the way of financial regulation, there’s money to be made, finds Florence Wilkinson.

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Cute baby reading with his mother

The Bookseller - The National Literacy Trust announces new three-year strategy with emphasis on early-years literacy

The National Literacy Trust has announced its new three-year strategy, which prioritises tackling inequalities and influencing policy change, while also seeking to build confidence in literacy skills and help professionals improve literacy provision.

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mother and son at a leafy park

Working Mums - Academics address five main barriers for working parents

Academics advising Working Families have made five recommendations to address the barriers facing working parents, from boosting Universal Credit to addressing the shortfall in childcare funding.

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Boy looking very excited about taking piano lessons

Fundraising.co.uk - Youth Music launches £1.5mn fund dedicated to early years creativity

Youth Music’s £1.5million Energiser Fund is open to early years experts, leaders and innovators, providing them with the opportunity to work collaboratively with the charity to shift the dial in the perception and practice of creativity in 2-4-year-olds.

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children holding hands

Teacher Development Trust guest blog - Do school admissions disadvantage low-income children?

The Sutton Trust has been publishing research for almost 20 years looking at the issue of school admissions. Our research shows that children eligible for Free School Meals are less likely to attend a top performing comprehensive than their more advantaged peers. The system is creating schools that are socially segregated.

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Speech and Language UK - Speech and Language UK: Family and Young People survey

Take part

The Froebel Trust podcast series: Inspiring conversations about early learning

If you've always wanted to know more about a Froebelian approach to early education - and how you might set out to develop practice in your school or setting - then the Froebel Trust podcast is for you!

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health visitor with baby

Institute of Health Visiting launches ADBB study findings

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to share the overwhelmingly positive findings from their mixed-methods feasibility study into the use of the Alarm Distress Baby Scale (ADBB) in routine health visiting practice in England.

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Coram survey 2024

Coram Family and Childcare - Childcare Survey 2024

In its 23rd annual survey, Coram Family and Childcare reveals continued decrease in the availability of childcare in England, across all areas of provision. Ahead of the childcare expansion roll-out from April, councils raise concerns over delivery of the policy and availability of places.

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Sad kid sitting on floor

Children at the Table - Continuing rise in cruelty crimes against babies and young children sees charities raise alarm ahead of General Election

Child cruelty crimes against children aged five and under continue to rise year-on-year with a 16% increase on pre-pandemic levels and more than 9,300 offences last year.

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Teacher smiling at camera in classroom at the elementary school

Ark - Five policies to improve retention (while we await funding)

Among the many challenges facing the next government, one of the biggest and most immediate for the sector will be ensuring there are enough good teachers. We need to recruit great people into the profession and we need to ensure they stay.

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children playing tug of war

Learning Through Play - Holistic learning goes beyond the surface

Because playful learning connects different skills and characteristics at once, it helps children apply things they learn in different scenarios.

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The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) - What did Sure Start do for performance in school?

Tuesday 9 April 10:00-11:15am: In this online event IFS will present the findings of a new report, showing the effect of Sure Start on educational performance in school up to age 16.

View of pregnant woman waiting for prescription-1

For Baby's Sake - #MaternalHealthMatters Webinar

Tuesday 16 April 3-4:00pm: The For Baby’s Sake Trust team are bringing together influential voices in the maternal health space to guide professionals and parents through their Emotional Safety Plan tools, developed with Best Beginnings, and creating a safe space to ask questions and share knowledge around maternal health.


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