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How long will the Programme run?
The funding was originally due to sustain training activity over two academic years, from January 2020 to July 2021. However, with the disruption that Covid-19 brought in Spring 2020 a contingency plan was devised to ensure that participants would still be able to reap the benefits of the Programme. This involved moving Champion activity due in the Summer 2020 term and beyond back so that it now commences in November 2020. The Programme will now run over three academic years, from January 2020 to February 2022.
The Department for Education (DfE) will be closely monitoring the Programme’s success in order to inform their proposals for early years funding in future.
What is the end goal?
The DfE are commissioning an external evaluation of the Programme to assess the impact of the fund on the quality of settings and the impact on the children in those settings. It is expected that this project will positively contribute to the Secretary of State’s ambition to halve the figure of 28% of children finishing their Reception year without the early communication and reading skills they need to thrive by 2028.
Evidence shows that investing in the Early Years has significant long-term benefits. However, it will not be possible to observe or attribute EYFSP outcomes to interventions during a two-year project. In the lifetime of this project, we specifically want to see an improvement in the early language and literacy skills of disadvantaged children by equipping practitioners with the best relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD). We want to raise the skills of Early Years Practitioners, to benefit children in future years. We also want to create a network of Early Years Practitioners in disadvantaged areas that could be used to disseminate the learning from future DfE projects.
Will there be a process for moderating the effectiveness of delivery across all areas?
We will quality assure the content of training being delivered by Champions over the lifetime of the Programme and advise on the effectiveness of delivery arrangements, to ensure they are robust and working with Local Authorities as required. Separately, the DfE are engaging an external evaluation of the project, which will assess the effectiveness of local delivery arrangements.
How will the backfill costs for staff attending training be covered? Both for the Champions and for the practitioners attending?
The DfE has acknowledged that the cost of supply staff is often a major barrier to settings releasing people to participate in training and development. This is why the EYPDP will offer funding for local authorities to pay the support cost of releasing staff – both the Champions and the practitioners attending the training they cascade.
How will you measure the impact of this work?
The DfE are commissioning an external evaluation of the Programme to assess the impact of the fund, identify best practice and to inform future funding decisions.
How will outcomes be measured?
In time, it is expected that this project will have a positive impact on EYFSP scores for disadvantaged children in these areas. It will not be possible to observe or attribute long-term outcomes to interventions during a two-year project. However, in the lifetime of this project, we specifically want to see an improvement in the early language skills of disadvantaged children by equipping practitioners with the best relevant CPD. The DfE also want to create a network of Early Years Practitioners in disadvantaged areas that could be used to disseminate the learning from future DfE projects.
Why have you targeted EYPDP investment at the selected areas?
The EYPDP aims to improve Early Years outcomes for the most disadvantaged children at age 5 – the evidence shows disadvantaged children currently do better at school in certain parts of the country. The DfE have targeted EYPDP funding at areas with the lowest EYFSP scores in communication and language, and where the highest numbers of children are eligible for free school meals. Targeting the EYPDP at the areas with weaker performance and greater numbers of disadvantaged children prioritises children to become school-ready in those areas first.
How many LAs have been selected to engage with the EYPDP?
51 local authorities across England have been selected to participate in the EYPDP based on their levels of deprivation and outcomes in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.
I’m an Early Years Practitioner, how can I get involved in delivering or accessing EYPDP?
The 51 LAs participating in the EYPDP were announced in Spring 2019. We have worked with these LAs to select the early years settings in the most deprived areas to form into CPD Partnerships, training commenced for the first cohort of participants in January 2020.
How were LAs selected to engage with the project?
The EYPDP has been targeted at areas where it is most needed to help disadvantaged children. The DfE have selected the areas to participate in the Programme based on published DfE data for local authorities. This data is: the lowest Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) scores for children eligible for free school meals (FSM); the largest gaps between the Good Level of Development and Communication and Language Development scores for FSM and non-FSM eligible children; the total numbers of FSM children and the % of FSM children in each area; plus the Opportunity Areas (if not already included through the preceding metrics).
Are childminders eligible to participate?
Childminders are eligible to participate in the CPD Partnerships. A number of childminders are taking part in the Programme as Champions and more have been recruited to take part in the cascade of the Programme. Local authorities’ have used knowledge of their areas to consider the opportunities for including them as they developed their plans.
As the Early Years CPD Champions and Partnerships are building local expertise and capacity and disseminating learning and best practice more widely, we would also expect childminders to benefit more generally as learning is shared.
This could include childminders attending a local setting to benefit from CPD at the Stage 3 cascade.