Earlier this month, The Family and Childcare Trust conducted research into looked after children and early education. The new research report, Starting out right: looked after children and early education, is delivered in partnership with the University of Oxford, and funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
The report highlights a number of studies that show how high quality early education greatly improves outcomes for disadvantaged children. The research found that despite evidence that exists on the difference that high quality early education can make to children’s outcomes, the take-up of free early education among looked after children aged two-to-four are at least 14% lower than that seen nationally. They suggested that some of the barriers to the lower take up could include:
- The additional time and capacity required to meet the additional needs of looked after children,
- Staff knowledge and expertise
- Communication and joint working between professionals
The research goes on to highlight opportunities to expand practice that could help improve access:
- Training and support for foster cares, social workers and early years practitioners.
- Extension of the remit of virtual schools to the early years.
- Consistent use of Personal Education Plans (PEPs) for young children.
- Introduce a higher level Early Years Pupil Premium ‘Plus’ for LAC, as exists for school age children.
- Better data collection and monitoring on LAC’s attendance of early education.
To read the full report and find out more, visit the Family and Childcare trust site.