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Knowledge Makes Change seminar 1 - Early years: What matters most?

Knowledge Makes Change seminar 1 - Early years: What matters most?

Naomi Eisenstadt CB shares her knowledge and experience of research and practice which strives to improve outcomes for young children and reduce inequalities.

Naomi was the first Director of the Sure Start Unit, which was responsible for delivering programmes in England to reduce the gap in outcomes between children living in disadvantaged areas and the wider child population. Naomi spent 3 years as the Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force, working across government to reduce the exclusion faced by some of the most disadvantaged individuals, families, and groups.

Naomi has retired from the UK civil service and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in the Departments of Education and Social Policy, University of Oxford and is Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality to the Scottish Government.


NCB Early Years

February 08, 2017


  1. Welcome Knowledge Makes Change seminar Naomi Eisenstadt CB Early years:

    What matters most? 8 February 2017
  2. Welcome and introduction Dr Helen Miles Policy Director Community and

    Constitutional Affairs
  3. Agenda Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme Annamarie Hassall, National Children’s

    Bureau (NCB) Early years: What matters most? Naomi Eisenstadt CB, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Oxford Questions and table discussions Final words and evaluation
  4. Early Childhood Development Programme Aim: to provide tools and expertise

    to build capacity of the early years sector, leading to improved outcomes for children. • The programme is funded by UBS Optimus Foundation UK and started in April 2016 (3 Years) • Led by National Children’s Bureau in partnership with the States of Jersey and Jersey Child Care Trust • Informed by stakeholders including the Education Department, Health and Social Services Department, the Early Years and Childhood Partnership and the Jersey Safeguarding Partnership Boards.
  5. Core strands of activity underway: • Developing an Early Years

    Outcomes Framework • Making it REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) • Knowledge Makes Change Improving knowledge of ‘what works’ for families
  6. Developing an Early Years Outcomes framework What is the aspiration?

    A coordinated, Jersey-wide approach to supporting families and communities in the early years Aim: To develop a framework which clearly outlines priority outcomes, action plans towards these and indicators to help measure what difference the Jersey workforce is making Key definitions: Outcome: an overarching condition of well-being for children, families or communities e.g. ‘all children in Jersey are healthy’ Indicator: a measure which helps us to quantify how well we are doing towards this outcome e.g. ‘% of reception age children who are overweight or obese’
  7. What will be in the Outcomes Framework?  Well defined

    outcomes across a range of areas (e.g. child development, health);  A small number of specific indicators that relate directly to the outcome in question;  A series of data reports generated through the contributions of relevant partners; and  Detailed action plans to support stakeholders to implement the Outcomes Framework.
  8. Progress so far • Initial training in Outcomes Based Accountability

    (OBA) methodology received by 77 key policy makers and practitioners • A review of available data relating to early years, and a mapping exercise of over 50 early years services from conception to age 5 across Jersey • Workshops (x3 in total) for the following health indicators: - Babies born with a low birth weight (12 attendees) - Breastfeeding rates (13 attendees) - Obesity in children at reception age (12 attendees)
  9. Next steps • Action planning workshops on the three prioritised

    health indicators • Workshops on child development and education indicators bringing together practitioners, policy makers, parents and carers to share their knowledge on local issues and what would work to improve things (April 2017 dates tbc) Email Kate to express interest Kate@jcct.org.je • Beyond this, we want to look at other outcomes including (e.g. children have a voice and be heard)
  10. Making it REAL Raising early achievement in literacy Making it

    REAL enables practitioners to reach out to parents and families, building confidence and knowledge to support early home learning, with a powerful impact on children’s outcomes and on family literacy practice. Drawn from the original REAL project by Professors Cathy Nutbrown and Peter Hannon from the University of Sheffield http://www.real-online.group.shef.ac.uk/ Making it REAL Training is delivered by the Early Childhood Unit at NCB.
  11. Making it REAL in Jersey • 70 practitioners trained from

    35 early years settings and projects with families underway. • Over 150 children receiving literacy focused home visits and group literacy events including library visits. • 6 REAL champions trained, providing project support and contributing to network meeting and training • Opportunity for more settings to receive training and join the project: 11th and12th of May
  12. Introducing Early maths • Opportunity for practitioner to take up

    A REAL approach to early maths one-day training:19th of June. Two further training days will take place this autumn. (dates tbc.) • Building on the experience of supporting families with literacy, practitioners will be trained to incorporate a maths focus into project work so that parents can help provide further opportunities to support their children’s learning. • Email Kate on Kate@JCCT.org.je to find out about REAL literacy and maths training opportunities.
  13. Knowledge Makes Change • Knowledge Makes Change newsletters providing local

    updates, profiling latest research and practice from the UK along with International contexts. Sign up by emailing Kate@JCCT.org.je • Knowledge Makes Change seminar series This the first one! We’d love to hear your feedback. More information about the next one at the end.
  14. Early years: What matters most? Insights into improving the life

    chances of babies and young children Naomi Eisenstadt 14
  15. Early years: What matters most? • Learning from research: Effective

    Provision of Preschool Education (EPPE) and Sound Foundations • Impact studies: Sure Start and Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE) • ‘New’ approaches: A Better Start Programme 15
  16. EPPE: Home learning environment matters most EFFECTS UPON LITERACY home

    environment social class quality pre-school duration pre-school low birthweight gender .6 .5 .4 .3 .2 .1 16
  17. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1-2

    years 2-3 years low quality average high quality Quality and Duration also matter (months of developmental advantage on literacy age five) 17
  18. Impact still evident at age 11 from Melhuish E. C.

    (2011). Preschool matters. Science, 333, 299-300. 18
  19. Sound Foundations tells us • Babies need: – Constant human

    attention sensitive to needs (attunement) – Physical and emotional care – Interactive play – Especially in group care, attention to hygiene • Two year olds need: – Stable relationships – Opportunities to play and interact with others – Predictable routines – Opportunities to be physically active From birth, exposure to language, communication and conversation absolutely essential 19
  20. In group settings three and four year olds need.... •

    A good balance of staff led and child led activities • Open ended questions, sustained shared thinking • Behaviour policies that encourage children to talk through areas of conflict • Parental interest and involvement in centre activities • Centres with strong leaders and long serving staff with a strong knowledge of child development 20
  21. Sure Start Local Programme (SSLP) in England Started in 1997

    • Targeted areas of deprivation • Each area aimed to ensure all families have access to: – Outreach services and home visiting – Support for parents, including information, befriending and social support – Good quality play, learning, and childcare for children – Health advice – Support for children with special needs – Crucially important for all the above to be coordinated and integrated with current provision 21
  22. Did Sure Start local programmes work? Four impact studies Impact

    evidence, 2005: Sub-group findings Among non-teenage mothers (86% of total): • greater child social competence in Sure Start areas • fewer child behaviour problems in SSLP areas • less negative parenting in SSLP areas Effects on children appeared to be mediated by effects on mother: • SSLP  less negative parenting  better child social functioning Among teenage mothers (14% of total): • less child social competence in SSLP areas • more child behaviour problems in SSLP areas • poorer child verbal ability in SSLP areas Among lone parent families (40%): • poorer child verbal ability in SSLP areas Among workless households (33%): • poorer child verbal ability in SSLP areas
  23. A possible explanation: user satisfaction and reach Wants yes Needs

    yes Ideal users, grateful and compliant Wants yes Needs no Benign neglect; probably providing good voluntary effort, good for child mix Wants no Needs no Ignore, probably using other local services, children fine Wants no Needs yes Requires real resource to engage, probably unpopular with other users
  24. Reasons for differing results Amount of exposure It took 3

    years for a programme to be fully functional. Therefore • in the first phase children / families were not exposed to fully functional programmes for much of the child’s life • in the second phase children / families are exposed to fully functional programmes for all child’s life Quality of services • SSLPs have been reorganised as SS Children’s Centres with clearer focus to services following lessons from earlier years, and the National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS ), 2005 • Early on staff had a lot to learn. As knowledge and experience have been acquired over 7 years, SSLPs have matured in functioning, hence it is likely that children / families are currently exposed to more effective services than in the early years of Sure Start.
  25. Impact 2007, good news! Improved child positive behaviour Improved child

    independence and self regulation Less harsh discipline from parents Less home chaos, improved home learning environment Parents making more use of local services Higher rates of child immunisations Fewer child accidents (last two could be timing) Most important finding: no differences in subgroups Despite this, there has been a steady closure of Sure Start Children’s Centres in England since 2010…
  26. Final two impact studies Results 2010 Significant difference between SSLP

    area children and MCS children • Mothers reporting greater life satisfaction • Less chaotic homes • Better home learning environments • Children better physical health, less likely to be overweight • Greater reduction in worklessness in Sure Start families Results 2012 Significant difference between SSLP area children and MCS children • Mothers engaged in less harsh discipline • Better home learning environments • Less chaotic home environment (boys only) • Lone parents and workless parents better life satisfaction • But....no differences in children’s cognitive or social outcomes 26
  27. What have we learned about Children’s Centres: evidence from ECCE*

    • The main driver of child, mother & family outcomes is family background: financial disadvantage, mother’s educational qualifications, and the home learning environment • Use of Children’s centres(CCs) helps to ameliorate but does not eliminate influence of disadvantage. • CCs help to improve outcomes for all, but especially important for poorer children • Like Sure Start evaluation, challenges to the analysis included: – variations in the offer and families’ uptake of services, – policy/contextual changes, – and the short term nature of the analysis of change 27 * Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England
  28. We are still trying.... A Better Start Programme aims to

    improve the life chances of babies and very young children by delivering a significant increase in the use of preventative approaches in pregnancy and first three years of life. Big Lottery Fund has invested £215m over 10 years (2015-2025) in five local areas: Bradford, Blackpool, Nottingham, Southend on Sea and Lambeth. 28
  29. A Better Start Programme 3 main child development goals and

    1 structural goal: • Social and emotional development – promoting attunement and attachment; preventing harm before it happens (including abuse and/or safeguarding, neglect, perinatal mental health and domestic violence) • Speech and language development – developing skills in parents to talk, read and sing to, and particularly to praise – their babies and toddlers and to ensure local childcare services emphasise language development • Nutrition – starting out by encouraging breast-feeding and promoting good nutritional practices • Systems change: how to redesign local services so more investment is allocated to primary prevention. 29
  30. The role Government can have in supporting parents and parenting:

    Reduce pressures • Rights and legal protection • Financial support • Support in kind For example: • Access to maternity and paternity leave • Flexible working and flexible childcare • Targeted benefits Enhance capabilities • Information and guidance • Skills and training • Intervention For example • Before and after birth, midwife and health visitor support • Family Intervention programmes • Family Nurse Partnerships Intervening to safeguard children 30
  31. Lessons for policy makers Critical to be clear on aims

    of services: • Is early years provision primarily for child development goals or workforce participation? • Are services about the most complex families, or about families on the cusp (a few who need lots of help, many that need a little help)? • What should be the mix of service offers: children’s centres, childcare, parent support, early education, safeguarding? How to design what for whom and where? 31
  32. Lessons for managers and practitioners – Engagement and parent satisfaction

    needs to be matched with quality of activity – Data systems essential to know: • Who is not coming • Are those who are coming engaged in activities that will make a difference – Cross agency working requires systems leadership at local level – It is hard because it is biggest failure in Sure Start was not to recognise training needs for managers and in England this is still an issue for Children’s Centre leadership. 32
  33. The wider political agenda • Government always trying to do

    more with less • Public not trustful of Government to spend tax payers money wisely, so reluctant to fund public services through higher taxes • Last twenty years has seen increase in inequality with the incomes of the top 10% growing much faster than the incomes of the bottom 10% • Impact on children and social mobility: economic status of parents at birth more of a determinant of lifetime outcomes than 30 years ago • Education part of the solution, but cannot solve social inequality on its own. 33
  34. References • Early Childhood Matters: Evidence from the Effective Pre-school

    and Primary Education Project (Sylva et al, 2010) • Providing a Sure Start: How Government discovered early childhood (Eisenstadt, 2011) • Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (Sammons et al, 2015) • Sound Foundations (Mathers et al, 2013) • www.abetterstart.org.uk/content/programme 34
  35. Discussion on your table What has stood out for you?

    What will you do differently tomorrow?
  36. Next seminar Caroline Rowland Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of

    Liverpool Caroline Rowland will speak about her research and ideas on Children's language and communicative development in the early years. Thursday 16 March 2017 (18.30-20.30) St Pauls Centre, St. Helier
  37. Final words Thank you Please fill in your evaluation form

    – we really want to hear your feedback to inform the seminar series.