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Evaluating and Developing the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Olds Gail Peachey and Frances Miller DCSF Research Conference 2009 Evaluating and Developing.

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluating and Developing the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Olds Gail Peachey and Frances Miller DCSF Research Conference 2009 Evaluating and Developing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluating and Developing the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Olds Gail Peachey and Frances Miller DCSF Research Conference 2009 Evaluating and Developing the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Olds Gail Peachey and Suzanne Lunn DCSF Research Conference 2009

2 Overview –Acknowledgements –Background –Methodology –Key messages –Implementation

3 Acknowledgements –Contractors: NatCen: Ruth Smith, Susan Purdon, Ivana La Valle and Caroline Bryson University of Oxford: Sandra Mathers and Kathy Sylva University of London: Eva Llloyd –DCSF Research Team –Policy: Suzanne Lunn, Frances Miller,

4 Background Policy oBetween 2006 and 2008 pilot provided free early years education for over 13,500 disadvantaged two year olds across 32 local authorities oAvailable in a variety of settings Aim of policy was to: oimprove childrens social and cognitive outcomes, e.g. social confidence and independence and their verbal and reasoning skills ohave a positive impact on parents and family, e.g. parent-child relationship; parents emotional wellbeing

5 Background (contd) Evaluation design oTo assess whether or not the policy had achieved its aims a programme of evaluation was developed including: oMapping study looking at implementation and targeting oQuality assessments of pilot settings oImpact study using matched comparison group to measure impact on pilot children and families oQualitative interviews exploring parents experiences of the pilot and perceptions of impact

6 Mapping Study Why? oLocal Authorities were given the flexibility to implement the pilot in a way they thought would best tackle local issues this raised problems for an overall pilot evaluation Aim of the Mapping Study oGather detailed information on local implementation strategies to inform the development of the evaluation framework Methodology oContacted all 32 local authorities o45 minute interviews conducted with key local authority staff oIssues covered included: oHow they chose their target groups oTypes of settings offering the pilot oHow the free hours were being delivered in their local authority

7 Quality Assessments Why? oQuality of childcare is associated with differential child outcomes and the quality of care offered by different settings could influence the impact of the pilot Aim of the Quality Assessments oTo collect information on the quality of the different settings offering the pilot oLink setting quality information to individual children participating in the impact study Methodology oCollected setting characteristic information from all participating settings oCarried out observations at 75 settings that displayed a range of characteristics (14% of settings; covered 38% of impact study sample) oObservations carried out using tried and tested rating scales: oInfant-Toddler Environment Rating Scales (ITERS-R) oEarly Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-R) oCaregiver Interaction Scale (CIS)

8 Impact Study Objective –To support the future development of the two year old offer it was important to understand exactly what impact the pilot had had on the participating children and their families Methodology –A quantitative, longitudinal, matched comparison study was undertaken Compared results for the pilot group versus a comparison group from other deprived areas of England Undertook face to face baseline interviews when the child was aged 2 and in pilot areas close to when the child took up their pilot place Undertook face to face follow-up interviews at age 3 Cases were matched across a wide range of baseline characteristics including child cognitive development at age two

9 Impact Study (contd) Sampling Pilot Areas –Local authorities collected the details of all parents. –Details of those who had not opted out of the evaluation were passed to NatCen. –Baseline: All 2,186 eligible parents were followed up resulting in 1,400 interviews. –Follow-up: 1,386 followed up; 1,116 completed interviews. Comparison Areas –The comparison sample was selected from Child Benefit Records with a skew towards non-pilot disadvantaged areas. –Baseline: Following an opt out exercise 2,782 records were issued and 1,821 interviews were conducted. –Follow-up: 1,748 followed up; 1,376 completed interviews

10 Impact Study (contd) Matching Propensity score matching was used to make sure that the pilot and comparison samples are as similar as possible at baseline. Achieved by modelling the difference between the two samples on a wide range of variables using logistic regression and recording the likelihood of each person being in the pilot group. The treatment group individuals are then matched to the comparison group individuals so that the final matched samples have similar propensity score profiles i.e. they are equally likely to be in the treatment group. The types of variables in the analysis included: –cognitive social behaviour e.g. size of English vocabulary, level of parental concern about how the child is learning and growing up –Other variables e.g. use of childcare, receipt of income support, degree of TV watching, lone parenthood

11 Qualitative Study 54 qualitative interviews were carried out in January to February 2009 Interviews lasted between 60 and 90 minutes Conducted with a range of parents (mainly mothers) to explore: –influences on take up –perceptions of the impact of the pilot on children, parents and families. Data was interpreted using a thematic approach developed by NatCen. Provided insight to the broader impact of the pilot.

12 Key Messages The final report drawing together the key findings from the study published in July 2009 concluded: Implementation oThe pilot successfully targeted children experiencing different types of disadvantage. oHowever, the study found that around half of the control group were experiencing childcare by the end of the pilot clearly raising questions about deadweight. How many of the children in the treatment group would have experienced childcare without the pilot? oTo reach the key target, the most economically disadvantaged children who, as a group were less likely to be able to access good quality childcare, local authorities would need to receive clearer guidance on targeting. Impact oTo have a positive impact on language ability and parent-child relationships children would have to attend higher quality settings – Ofsted rated as Good Quality of settings oThe quality of provision in target areas needs to be improved – the majority of provision in the pilot was adequate (77%); only one fifth was good (21%) Parents experiences and perceptions of impact oOverall positive: staff approachable and friendly, high satisfaction with feedback on childs progress, positive effect on childs development oPositive impact on parenting skills, physical health and mental wellbeing

13 Policy Development - Wave 1 LAs Original pilot oIn 2006, 32 LAs start delivering a targeted offer of free early education to disadvantaged 2 year olds (No cap on numbers – at LAs discretion) oLAs took individual approaches in delivering the offer. oDefinition of Disadvantage varied across the pilot authorities. oDifferent experiences of Quality in settings. Impact oFindings from the evaluation influenced future policy development bringing changes in the implementation and delivery of the offer across the Wave 2 (31 LAs) and Wave 3 (89 LAs)

14 Wave 2 Development Changes oInstituted high level National eligibility criteria based on economic disadvantage. oEqualising the offer more – giving a harder focus on low income families. oSet delivery target – offer to reach15% of the most deprived families in each Local Authority identified using the IDACI (the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index ). oWave 1 LAs working to bring numbers down and some to increase numbers, to ensure offer reaches the 15% target group oThe offer is increased from 7.5 hours to 15 hours per child per week over 38 weeks of the year across the Wave 1 & 2 LAs oQuality criteria is reviewed and given a stronger focus

15 Policy Changes (Contd) oTo be eligible for the offer all families must meet the primary criteria - be in receipt of at least one of the following: Income Support Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element Extra Working Tax Credit relating to a disability Pension Credit oLocal Authorities may also apply secondary criteria to meet local priorities: SEN / Teenage Parents / Lone Parents etc oSpecific funding is issued to all LAs for Outreach / Family Support Services targeting the hardest-to-reach families, and those who will benefit most from an offer of free childcare.

16 Wave 3 and the National Offer oWave 3 oThe Prime Minister wanted to move the offer further towards being a universal offer for all two year olds oCommitment to roll an offer of free early learning and childcare stage by stage to all two year olds across the country – starting with the most disadvantaged. oQuality oThe final evaluation report highlighted a key component for the offer to impact on child outcomes required all provision to be of good quality oQuality section in the Guidance is strengthened further (July 2009) to help LAs inform their local quality arrangements: oSettings must have an Ofsted Good or Outstanding rating oLAs may only use settings with a Satisfactory rating if they can evidence they are actively working towards a good rating - to ensure sufficiency and standards to deliver the offer

17 Implementation oDCSF has provided guidance to LAs and support via Government Offices, to run regional learning and knowledge sharing workshops with LAs to share good practice and drive delivery oSeptember 2009 saw the remaining 89 (Wave 3) LAs start delivery of the offer oWave 3 LAs are offering 10 hours per child, per week over 38 weeks of the year oCurrently providing funding for more than 20,000 children per year and their families. oThe extended offer will be data-driven to ensure effective targeting of the hardest-to-reach families, and those who will benefit most from an offer of free childcare. oAll 152 local authorities across the country have been funded to deliver a targeted offer to 15% of their most disadvantaged 2 year olds by 2010-11

18 Next Stages oSecure take up of the number of places allocated per Local Authority; identify and share good practice in local delivery oFurther extend the number of places for the most disadvantaged 2 year-olds beyond 2011 oImprove access amongst Families with SEN oLook further at what high quality provision for two year olds means in practice - parents perceptions of quality childcare/early years education and its broader impact localauthorities/lapractice/pilots/twoyearoldsoffer/

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