Research, policy and practice news – May 2019

A Better Start
Richard Newson

One of the key elements of the A Better Start programme are the ‘Communities of Practice’.

These frank and constructive meetings give stakeholders in the programme a chance to discuss the inspiration and challenges that inform their approach to early years work.

The National Children’s Bureau has just completed its first round of co-ordinating ‘CoPs’ on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund.

We have produced a summary of the research, evidence and practice resources that these meetings found interesting. We hope these will be of use to the wider early years sector and beyond.

This issue includes news of:

  • The new Ofsted Inspection Framework for early years settings
    Following a consultation with the sector, Ofsted has published a new early years inspection framework for registered early years and childcare providers which will come into force in September 2019. A report in Nursery World said the new framework had been ‘cautiously welcomed’ by the early years sector.
  • Key enablers to establish an effective partnership-based early help offer
    Commissioned by the LGA, this research explores the enablers of, and barriers to, developing and sustaining an effective local early help offer. The findings are based on in-depth engagement with eight local areas which were selected on the basis of interesting or innovative practice in the area of early help. Read the report
  • Engaging disadvantaged and vulnerable parents: An evidence review
    This report sets out the findings from a rapid evidence review to understand what is known from the literature about encouraging disadvantaged and vulnerable parents to take up, fully participate in and complete parenting and parental conflict programmes and services. Read the report
  • Early Intervention Foundation: Key competencies in cognitive development
    This report from EIF reports the evidence on how best to support cognitive development in the early years, including knowledge of objects, people, numbers and language. Read the summary and full report

We hope you find this information useful – please share it widely and if you have any relevant news for inclusion in the next edition please send it to:

Richard Newson is Senior Media and Communications Officer at the National Children’s Bureau.

About A Better Start

A Better Start is a ten-year (2015-2025), £215 million programme set-up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Five A Better Start partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend are supporting families to give their babies and very young children the best possible start in life. Working with local parents, the A Better Start partnerships are developing and testing ways to improve their children’s diet and nutrition, social and emotional development, and speech, language and communication. The work of the programme is grounded in scientific evidence and research. A Better Start is place-based and enabling systems change. It aims to improve the way that organisations work together and with families to shift attitudes and spending towards preventing problems that can start in early life. It is one of five major programmes set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier

The National Children’s Bureau is coordinating an ambitious programme of shared learning for A Better Start, disseminating the partnerships’ experiences in creating innovative services far and wide, so that others working in early childhood development or place-based systems change can benefit.

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