The Scottish Government published the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill. Children aged 3-4 would be entitled to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare (up from 475 hours) as would looked-after children aged 2, and those with a kinship care order. Every child and young person would have a named person from birth responsible for safeguarding their well-being, working with other bodies as required. Kinship carers would be provided with more support from local authorities.
Source: Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, Scottish Government, TSO
The inspectorate for education and children's services began consultation on changes to the inspection framework aimed at improving the quality of early years provision. Inspection evidence had shown that nurseries, pre-schools, and childminders were not improving quickly enough. Almost 22 per cent of the places available in the sector were in services that were not yet rated as 'good'. Poor-quality early years care and education was a particular problem in the most deprived areas. From September 2013, only a 'good' or better standard of early years provision would be deemed acceptable.
Source: Good Early Years Provision for All, HMI 130133, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
Researchers examined outcomes at age 5 of an early education pilot for children aged 2, and whether there were any longer-term benefits for the children who took part in the pilot. They also considered whether children who took part in the pilot had been more likely to take up early education when they were aged 3 or 4. In neither case was any evidence found for positive benefits from the pilot.
Source: Ruth Maisey, Svetlana Speight, and Vicky Marsh (with Dan Philo), The Early Education Pilot for Two Year Old Children: Age Five Follow-Up, Research Report 225, Department for Education
A paper examined how the quality of formal early childhood education and care in England was associated with children's background. Children from a disadvantaged background had access to better-qualified staff: but services catering for more disadvantaged children were more segregated and receive lower ratings from the national inspectorate.
Source: Ludovica Gambaro, Kitty Stewart, and Jane Waldfogel, A Question of Quality: Do children from disadvantaged backgrounds receive lower quality early years education and care in England?, CASEpaper 117, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (London School of Economics)
The coalition government began consultation on proposals to reform the role of English local authorities in early education and childcare. It proposed to limit the extra conditions that local authorities could place on private, voluntary, and independent providers in order for them to qualify for funding to deliver places; and to remove the duty on local authorities to secure information, advice, and training for childcare providers.
Source: Consultation on Proposed Changes to the Role of the Local Authority in Early Education and Childcare, Department for Education
Links: Consultation document
A new book examined the impact of changing assessment policy on primary school classrooms, with a particular focus on issues of inequality. Drawing on accounts of life in early years classrooms, it said that a specific model of the good learner operated, and that this model worked to exclude some groups of students from positions of educational success.
Source: Alice Bradbury, Understanding Early Years Inequality: Policy, assessment and young children's identities, Routledge
The coalition government published its proposals (in response to the Nutbrown review) for achieving a more professional early years workforce in England, and improving the quality of provision. Nurseries and childminders in England would be allowed to look after more children, provided carers' qualifications met new standards. Ratios for children aged 2 would rise from 4 children per adult to 6; and for children aged 1 or under from 3 children per adult to 4.
Source: More Great Childcare: Raising quality and giving parents more choice, Department for Education
Links: Report | Consultation document | Hansard | DE press release | Speech | Action for Children press release | CBI press release | Childrens Society press release | 4Children press release | FPI/Daycare Trust press release | Gingerbread press release | IEA blog post | Labour Party press release | NAHT press release | NASUWT press release | NCMA press release | NDNA press release | NUT press release | TUC press release | BBC report | Guardian report | New Scientist report | Nursery World report (1) | Nursery World report (2) | Public Finance report
Notes: Nutbrown report
A think-tank report highlighted the inequality in government-funded nursery provision for pre-school children, and called for a simple change to the system that would make it fair and equal. Nursery education should begin at a fixed point in the year, rather than when a child reached the age of 3.
Source: Ben Thomson, Geoff Mawdsley, and Alison Payne, An Equal Start: Fair access to nursery provision, Reform Scotland