Report calls for extra early-years funding

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Family and Childcare Trust (FCT) published a report to coincide with the beginning of the new school year. Entitled, School Ready, it did not make entirely comfortable reading. Here’s a summary of its contents and conclusions

The joint authors of the report said that school leaders and practitioners have been raising concerns with them about children’s school readiness for some time.

So, in June and July they issued a survey to delve further into the matter, to better understand the issue of school readiness and test the perception of 780 school leaders across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A foreword to the report signed by Ellen Broomé, chief executive of FCT, and Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT outlined the reasoning. “The start of term in September is a new beginning for everybody in the school community, especially its newest members: children starting primary school,” they said.
”For many of these children and their parents, school is an unfamiliar environment, which is why schools spend a lot of time, effort and resources on making sure that they settle in quickly.

“And in most cases, that’s exactly what happens.

“But, school leaders and practitioners have been raising concerns [with us] about children falling behind in the early years. Our survey finds that the majority of schools are worried about the school readiness of their youngest children.”

In fact, 83% of respondents reported that they have an issue with school readiness and a majority believes this has become worse in the last five years.

What is ‘school’ ready’

Recognising that children develop in different ways and at different rates, that there is a debate surrounding the definition of ‘school readiness’ and that different interpretations exist of when a child is ‘school ready’ and when indeed that should be assessed, the research asked respondents to consider a child to be ‘school ready’ if the child was able to begin to participate in the curriculum and wider school life upon reaching the current compulsory school age.

Issues facing children who are not ‘school ready’ included:

• Communication and language – finding it difficult to express themselves and describe their needs, or to understand what others are saying

• Physical development – issues with coordination, control and movement, for example with putting on outdoor clothes or using the toilet independently

• Personal, social and emotional development – finding it difficult to form relationships with others, or not having a positive sense of themselves

• Literacy and mathematics – not having a simple understanding of numbers, or of the link between letters and sounds

• Understanding the world – having a limited understanding of the physical world and their community

Having been asked to assess school readiness using those criteria, respondents came up with the following key concerns.

• More than four fifths of respondents (83%) said that they believed that there is an issue with the school readiness of some pupils starting school.

• Of those people, 86% believed the issue of school readiness has become worse over the past five years and revealingly, 24% said that more than half of their intake was not school ready.

• Speech, language and communication issues were of greatest concern with a massive 97% of respondents identifying this as a problem and almost half (47%) saying it was the most significant

• Two thirds (67%) said one of the likely reasons children are not school ready is a failure to identify and support additional needs early enough and 66% said that they think parents have fewer available resources or that there are more pressures on family life.

• Some 88% said that funding was a barrier to improving school readiness and 56% said that funding is the greatest barrier they face.

To help improve school readiness, almost two thirds (61%) of school leaders are already using home visits prior to the child starting in reception and more than half (54%) said that they were engaging with health and social care services.

Broomé and Whiteman said there needs to be a more joined-up approach and that schools and families need more support from authorities. They called on government to prioritise funding to support families in the early years to help set children up to learn at school and beyond.

“This includes additional funding for education, including early education, before children start school and renewed investment in critical services for families. These measures will help to level the playing field at the beginning of children’s education,” they said.

“The abiding message of this report is that schools and families must both be ready for each other in order for the first steps of a child’s journey through school to be successful. “Our survey findings emphasise how important it is to have adequately funded support services in place for young children and families. Reductions in local authority and health budgets, combined with pressures on school budgets as a whole, would appear to be having a knock-on effect on children’s school readiness and schools’ abilities to help support their children’s transition once in school.

“Support for parents, early-years providers and schools is essential to help tackle the issue of school readiness as early as possible, especially for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Partnerships between early-years providers, schools, parents, local authorities, health services and other services need to be adequately funded and well-coordinated to help support all children who may find starting school challenging.

“The first years of school education are vital to making sure that all pupils have equality of opportunity in later life. So, just as schools need to be ready to welcome pupils on day one and meet the various needs that they have, having a school full of children ready to learn and participate right at the beginning of term can make a real difference to the progress children are able to make during the year.”

They admitted that there isn’t “a simple, cookie cutter fix” to get children ready for school. “However, we know that high quality early education can help to boost children’s outcomes and narrow the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. Recent investment in extending early education is welcome, but making sure that every child can access early education of this quality must be a priority,” they said.

“In recent years we have seen the sources of support that families regard as essential being cut back or disappearing entirely. Without adequate investment, more and more children will be starting off at a disadvantage, with uncertain chances of catching up.

“It is our belief that the government now needs to prioritise funding for support for families in the early years or face paying the much higher cost that a poor start to school can have on our children’s futures.”

Autumn 2017

News Archive

The event will be taking place at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in more

On Saturday 5th October, colleagues from Morton Michel and the wider PIB more

Commenting on the early years funding announced in the Spending Review today ( more

The Department for Education has been criticised for proposing a rise in more

muro’s revolutionary play platform is back in stock, having sold more

Employees at Busy Bees are enjoying a unique opportunity to work at one of more

Mum of one, Joanne Johnson decided to make sure Son, William, aged 4, more

The Department for Education launched Hungry Little Minds, a more

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has published its updated 5532 guide, more

As the summer holidays draw ever closer, parents are going to be wracking more

Sean Whiting, Director of equestrian specialist Houghton Country, explains more

Morton Michel are thrilled to announce that they have won the Best more

apetito, one of the UK’s leading food businesses, has launched a more

It’s something we might forget as adults, but Lizi’s Granola more

A new apprenticeship standard has been approved for the Early Years more

Super Manny Joss Cambridge-Simmons, from Hackney, London, has been nominated more

Back to the Garden Childcare, which has spaces for 120 children in Altrincham, more

Nestled under trees and green, a party has been had – balloons, more

BAPN and Nannyjob are proud to announce that we have worked in partnership more

On Wednesday 26 June, Brake’s Kids Walk will be taking place with more

Every garden will excite at least one of your senses, but sensory gardens more

Early Years Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP has been confirmed to officially more

National Children's Day UK (NCDUK) is all about the importance of a more

Like everyone else it seems, BAPN is now on a number of social media more

June O’Sullivan MBE, the CEO of London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), more

Parenta, has launched Footsteps 2, an online EYFS assessment tracker more

Yoopies claims to have become the first UK childcare platform to offer a more

Early-years training organisation NEyTCO, which was founded in 2014, more

Buckshaw Bunnies Childcare Ltd, the owner of Gelston Manor Day Nursery more

BAPN will be adding to its support and member discounted products and more

Action for Children purchased Kent childcare group St Bart’s more

Stanley Security is running its ‘Together for Safer Education’ more

Mark Hardy, chair of the Association of Play Industries, has called more

Ipsos MORI, the independent research organisation, are carrying out more

The childcare sector welcomed the DfE’s publication of its new Level more

Scotland’s minister for childcare and early years Maree Todd launched more

The British Association of Professional Nannies (BAPN) announced more

Inspiring Scotland was awarded £862,550 to increase outdoor learning more

A SOCITM review found that half of UK councils don’t provide good more

Free childcare in Wales could mean fewer children take up early more

As EYC went to press, 60 nurseries from across the UK were waiting to more

The Co-operative Childcare’s nursery at St. Richard’s Hospital more

A Grantham day nursery that closed its doors in February as a result of the more

Bloomsbury Publishing has released three new educational books for more

David Wright, co-owner of Paint Pots Nurseries in Southampton, more

Fast-expanding Dublin-based childcare provider Tigers Childcare is entering more

Morton Michel, publisher of Early Years Childcarer, is the headline sponsor more

Hocus Pocus Day Nursery has posted a petition calling for government to more

In an attempt to plug gaps in early learning and childcare supply, more

Childminders in England who have been registered with Ofsted for less more

On September 16, an intrepid team from across the insurance industry will more

The Welsh government was advised that its flagship Flying Start more

A charity set up by a family in memory of their late daughter launched more

Co-Founder of First Aid Training Cooperative, Cory Jones, warned that a lack more

Wednesday 1st August is National Play Day, when children are encouraged to more

Children’s Activities Week is a NEW national event celebrating all more

Your Business Matters! Morton Michel’s ‘Your more

London’s first full-time outdoors nursery proves itself as a more

This year at the upcoming Manchester event in June, Childcare Expo more

Despite the weather warnings and Storm Emma rearing her ugly head, more

A Welsh government law which stops funding for registered childminders more

This year’s National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK) will take place more

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) welcomed the government’ more

While most local authorities across England have been told they will more

Paper Nations, a creative partnership led by Bath Spa University and funded more

The British Psychological Society (BPS) labelled a government green paper more

NEyTCO have launched a campaign to bring awareness via Social Media to ban more

National Children’s Day UK grows into a major national celebration more

Returning to Olympia London, the countdown is officially on for the more

Following their hugely successful relaunch, now features more

Complete the Morton Michel annual survey and you could WIN a £100 more

We are running a fantastic competition on behalf of Mark Hainy and Leigh more

The Children’s Activities Association (CAA) has launched Children’ more

While figures released late last year on the uptake of 30-hours more

There is a new water brand on the market specifically for young more

Ofsted has called for improvements to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) more

Oaktree Designs has come up with an exciting, cost-effective resource more

Long awaited and much maligned by the sector, the 30-hour funded more

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Family and more

In the latest in his series of articles, Chris Williams, language more

Luxury shower brand Insignia has launched a gadget to help prevent scalding more

Respected early years lecturer, author and consultant Mine Conkbayir more

The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) has moved more

Bookings for Minding the Gap 2018: Ensuring the Wellbeing of Every Child more

Waltons Garden Buildings has published a complete guide to help more

Popular two-player game Guess Who has teamed up with the RSPB for a more

Fire safety has to be one of your top priorities in any business, but more

Childcare Expo Midlands is back for 2017 with an unmissable programme more

It's your last chance to receive your Morton Michel's Magic Miles more

Chris Williams, founder of “chatta” and language more

Macmillan Cancer Support’s much-loved World’s Biggest more

My Family Week celebrates families of all shapes and sizes, allowing more

Childcare recruitment company Tinies Childcare has launched its Inspiring more

The Nursery Catering Company (NCC) has launched its summer vegetarian more

Latest figures from Ofsted reveal that childminder numbers have fallen more

The Regulation Matters Campaign has renewed its call for all childcarers in more

Delegates at the National Early Years Trainers & Consultants more

Morton Michel celebrated the launch of its new policy for nurseries with more

Get ready to be inspired by the leading influencers and suppliers from more

Last week the inquest into the death of Nasar, a 14-year-old boy from more

The UK government’s childhood obesity action plan unveiled last more

Record-breaking crowds flocked to London Olympia on March 3-4 for more

Emotions were running high as James Hempsall OBE, the national more

In Manchester next month, an event for all childcare practitioners will more

Children and babies are prone to head injuries as they have more

An online services marketplace has created a GCSE style quiz to see how more

A top au pair agency is leading a revolution in the holiday market by more

Childcare minister Caroline Dinenage MP chose Childcare Expo to make more

One of the UK’s leading voices on physical activity in the early more

The Department for Education has re-launched its start-up grants for more

A team of paediatric dietitians have developed a board game that is more

Readers now have a new way to read Early Years Childcarer (EYC); via our more

The Croydon Childminding Association (CCMA) and Pacey Local Croydon, more

An event for everyone in the early years community will be opening its more

An entrepreneurial duo has launched a ride-on for early-years settings. more

Childminders or nannies looking for a way to engage their device-mad charges more

Thousands of early years practitioners descended upon London Olympia on 3 & more

Childcare Expo London, taking place at Olympia on 3rd & 4th March will more

A unique, affordable conference for Childminders and all Early more

The minister for childcare and early years in Scotland, Mark McDonald, more

Despite government hopes that extending parents’ entitlement to more

Self-styled Rainbow Fairies Natasha Gavin and Suzanne Dennison have more

A staggering 98% of parents in Northern Ireland are satisfied with the more

Readers now have a new way to read Early Years Childcarer (EYC); via our more

Christine Button, a nursery manager and former childminder, has been handed more

Not long since the Midlands event closed its doors, Childcare Expo is more

Caroline Dinenage, the MP for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee on the Solent and more

For the first time, the Prime Minister has appointed a minister more

On August 1, Morton Michel, the UK’s biggest childcare more

A new creative construction toy is taking the early-years sector by more

The department of health has published a new infographic promoting more

Discount retailer Aldi has extended its award-winning Mamia range for more

Manchester welcomed Childcare Expo with open furry arms last week at more

In Manchester this month, an event for childcare practitioners will be more

A Merseyside nursery has received an “outstanding” Ofsted rating, more

Home Counties based nanny agency, Nannies Matter has published a more

This magazine’s publisher Morton Michel was named Specialist Broker more

The proportion of parents in England who rate the quality and availability more

The Chiltern College has announced a massive development project at more

Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries has installed cooking facilities at each of its more

Macmillan Cancer Support is urging early-years settings across the UK to more

An entrepreneurial Scottish occupational therapist and childminder has set more

Morton Michel is delighted to announce the launch of their brand new website!read more

Never before has children’s health been deemed a ‘ more

Over 2,500 early years professionals are expected to visit Olympia London more

The first major longitudinal study in Europe to investigate the impact more

The number of childcare providers in England has fallen again, marking more

Out-going Labour Party shadow minister with responsibility for childcare more

Charity Contact a Family has warned government that disabled children more

High quality nurseries led by early years teachers have the biggest more

The National Literacy Trust (NLT) is holding its 12th annual early more

The Playhouse Company, which specialises in bespoke, made-to-order playhouses, more

The National Early Years Trainers & Consultants Organisation celebrated more