Funding announced to focus on children’s development

Yesterday, the Department for Education announced that up to £180 million of government funding over the next three years will support the sector to focus on children’s development in their earliest years. 

This will also include helping to address existing recruitment and retention challenges. 

The Department for Education said that early year professionals will ‘benefit from a major investment’ to drive quality and training opportunities, and to better support the next generation of children. 

They also stated that every region in England will benefit from programmes to improve teaching of children’s early speech, language and numeracy. 

This will be along with professional development to build strong leadership skills and improve the understanding of children’s development. 

New opportunities will be provided for graduates looking to embark on a career in early years teaching, and also staff looking to train as early years special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), according to the government. 

Minister for Schools and Childhood, Kelly Tolhurst, said: “The early years of a child’s life are vital, not only in establishing important developmental skills, but also in building a lifelong love of learning that will help them succeed in adult life. 

“I’m really proud of the quality and dedication of our early years workforce.  

“This package of support is a huge investment in their skills and professional development, because raising the status of this important sector is key to its growth.” 

Yesterday’s package of support, which the government said will benefit pre-school children all over England, includes: 

  • Early maths, language, and social development training for 10,0000 professionals through the third phase of the Professional Development Programme (PDP3) – more than 1,300 professionals in 51 local authorities were provided with bespoke training designed to support the learning and development of children affected by the pandemic during the second phase of this programme, meaning around 20,000 children will have benefited from better trained, more confident staff 
  • The national rollout of the Expert and Mentors programme to provide bespoke leadership support to 7,500 early years settings and childminders to address the impact of the pandemic on children in their care.   This support is free and available across the country to eligible settings. Around 200 settings across the North of England, Lancashire and Yorkshire received support through a pilot of this programme this Spring 
  • Graduate-level specialist training leading to early years teacher status – evidence is very clear that higher qualifications are consistently identified as a predictor of higher quality and associated with better child outcomes 
  • Support for nearly 6,000 early years professionals to achieve the National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL) which is designed to support early years leaders to develop expertise in leading high-quality education and care, effective staff and organisational management, and support the recovery of children’s development that has been impacted through the pandemic 
  • Training for up to 5,000 Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) to help identify children’s needs earlier so they have the right support, a commitment reaffirmed in the SEND Green Paper 
  • A new network of 18 Stronger Practice Hubs to support early years practitioners to adopt evidence-based practice improvements, build local networks for sharing effective practice and cultivate system leadership 
  • A new universal online child development training offer to help staff improve their knowledge and understanding of how pre-school children develop, as well as training for early years professionals to help parents and guardians encourage their children’s development at home 
  • The continuation of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme during the academic year 2022-23 – building on the two-thirds of primary schools which have already benefitted from this investment, improving the speech and language skills of an estimated 90,000 children in reception classes. 

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