The Department for Education has published two new reports which examine early years providers’ experience with the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). Since April 2015, early years providers have been entitled to claim just over £300 per year of additional funding, known as EYPP, if they care for disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds who meet certain criteria. Providers must demonstrate to Ofsted how the funding has improved outcomes for the eligible children in their setting.
The first report is part of the long-term Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) project which is looking at the effectiveness of early education in England, Experiences of the Early Years Pupil Premium.
The second report, Early Years Pupil Premium: Providers Survey, publishes the results of a survey conducted by Kantar Public (formerly TNS BMRB). It covers a range of areas including the EYPP application process, how settings used EYPP funding and the provider’s perceived impact of EYPP and future intention to apply. Fifty-five childminders, all PACEY members, were involved in the research.
What were the key findings?
Findings from the survey suggested that the majority of providers decided how to use the funding by assessing the needs of the child receiving the EYPP.
Many childminders used the EYPP to improve the resources they had in their setting, by purchasing resources such as toys, specialist clothing and equipment e.g. blades, ballerina shoes, educational books and flashcards. Some had also purchased resources for the child to have in their home due to a lack of stimulation in their home environment.
As well as paying for resources, the survey showed that some childminders used a proportion or all of the funding to pay for activities and trips or training for themselves or their assistants.
The results also showed that the majority of childminders did not pool their funding, which suggested by the government to make the funding stretch further.
What impact will this have?
On the whole the EYPP was felt to have a positive impact on nurseries’ and school-based providers’ ability to provide care for disadvantaged children.
However, the perceived impact varied greatly among childminders and it was generally seen as more of a ‘nice to have’ – many felt they could have achieved the same outcomes without the EYPP.
PACEY’s Chief Executive Liz Bayram comments: “PACEY was pleased to be able to support this project as it is vital to assess the impact of this important initiative aiming to make a difference for disadvantaged children and their families. It was good to see that childminders were considered separately alongside schools and group-based settings, as we know that there are particular issues that childminders face in accessing and using EYPP funding.
“It is clearly far more challenging for childminders to assess which families might be eligible for EYPP, although it was interesting to read in the study the novel approaches that some childminders are employing. We know that EYPP is having a relatively small impact on childminding settings. In our soon to be published survey of almost 2,000 childcare providers, 87% of childminders compared to 21% of group settings had never received EYPP for children in their care.
“The important question is this, with the schools pupil premium set at a far higher level to EYPP, how realistic is it that EYPP funding can address the deep social issues that we know can hold back children from disadvantaged backgrounds? Particularly for childminders, the small sums involved prevent the funding being used in high impact ways. We know anecdotally that some childminders have been able to pool their funding to offer, for example, training or specialist support for settings, but in practice this can be difficult to achieve for all childminders.
“If all children are going to have the same life chances, this is not solely going to be addressed by the relatively small amounts of investment through EYPP. In our survey we asked providers whether EYPP funding had enabled them to improve outcomes for eligible children – whilst 50% said that they had seen some improvement, almost one third (30%) said it was too difficult to judge whether EYPP had had an impact, whilst 18% said that outcomes had not improved.
“Once more, this study points to the need for a properly funded early education system so that all children – from whatever background – get the best start in life. With the current government’s commitment to addressing social mobility issues, it is vital that this work begins in the early years.”
Find out how 30 hours funding formula affects Early Years pupil premium.