SEED – Study of Early Education and Development – is a major new longitudinal study which will follow 8000 2, 3 and 4 year olds in England until their early years at school. The study will find out how early education can help to give children the best start in life, and what is important for high quality provision.
Researchers will interview parents/carers in their own homes, asking them about their families and their child. Participant families for the study have been chosen from the Department for Work and Pensions database.
Part of the planned research is to conduct visits to around a thousand childcare and early education providers to observe practice over a two year period from May 2014. Settings to be visited will be selected via the parents who are involved in the study.
For the first time in such a major longitudinal study, childminders will be included in the research. In previous studies of this type, such as the EPPE project, childminders were not interviewed.
Because childminders work in their own homes, families during the pilot study felt unwilling to share their contact details. Instead, families will pass on a copy of this letter to their childminder if they are taking part in the study. The childminder can then make contact with researchers to get involved.
In a separate strand of the research, the team will undertake in-depth, qualitative interviews with 20 childminders to capture their perspectives and experience in delivering funded places for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds. The sampling process for this strand of research is still being confirmed, but we’ll share news here when we know how childminders will be invited into the study.
The study is being carried out by NatCen Social Research, working with Frontier Economics, the University of Oxford and 4Children, on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE).