Transforming Early Years Provision, Increasing School Readiness
25th April 2017
Public Policy Exchange are holding a Conference on Tuesday 25th April 2017 at a Central London location.
The pace of cognitive development during the first few years of life make the quality of early year educational and care provision enormously important to the future health, well being and attainment of every child. Stimulating and enabling environments during this period are crucial for ensuring that children develop the personal, social and communication skills they need.
Significant progress is still needed to improve the ‘school readiness’ of 5 year olds and close the development and attainment gap between underprivileged young children and their peers. The State of Education Report (May 2016) found that 1in 3 children are not ready for school by aged 5, with delayed speech and poor social skills the most commonly cited issues. This increases to approximately 1 in 2 children from low income families (Action for Children 2016). Disadvantaged 2 year olds have experienced difficulties accessing their free childcare allowance, with only 57% currently doing so. Analysis by the National Audit Office (2016), suggests these levels could drop further with the doubling of free childcare, as settings opt to offer additional hours to 3 to 4 year olds by reducing the number of disadvantaged 2 year olds they look after. Moreover, whilst the majority of providers are eager to offer 30 free hours a week, 49% of those surveyed by the Pre School Learning Alliance (2016) stated that doing so may force them to close, owing to insufficient funding.
In light of these challenges, the forthcoming replacement of the EYFS assessments, and recently announced changes to the Early Years National Funding Formula, this symposium will provide local authorities, schools, early year’s providers, and third sector practitioners with a timely and invaluable opportunity to; develop effective strategies for improving the quality and availability of early year provision, and prepare for forthcoming reforms.
• Analyse how all children can be provided with a secure foundation of learning and development opportunities planned around their needs.
• Debate whether an agreed definition of ‘school readiness’ is required to help schools, parents and early years practitioners identify what national and local support is required.
• Determine how to develop cost effective models of flexible and tailored provision for parents and children.
• Assess how to maximise the uptake of free child care for disadvantaged two year olds, and close the attainment gap for children from low income families.
• Discuss how to formulate a workforce development strategy that underpins the recruitment and retention of high quality staff.
• Consider ways to successfully measure the learning and development of young children after the end of the EYFS assessment framework.
• Examine the expectations on local authorities in implementing the early year’s national funding formula.
• Explore the impact of exposure to technology upon child socialisation and whether technology can be used healthily to promote language development and interaction skills.
• Evaluate the impact of the new entitlement for 30 hours free child care and how local authorities and providers can respond.
• Share best practice on the early implementation of 30 hours free childcare.
• Scrutinise how to strengthen partnerships between parents, guardians and providers and enhance parent involvement in child’s learning.
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