The early years pupil premium: Helping to demonstrate evidence of impact.

Since April 2015 disadvantaged three and four-year-olds in early years settings in England have been able to benefit from extra funding in the form of the early years pupil premium (EYPP).  This is all part of the Government’s drive to improve the quality of education for these most disadvantaged children and narrow the gap between them and their more advantaged peers. The EYPP not only provides opportunities for settings to enable these children to move closer to fulfilling their potential, but the nature of the EYPP allows them to think creatively about how the money could be used.

There’s no doubt about the need for support for disadvantaged children to be seen as a priority – and supporting children’s early language skills is key to this. Evidence shows the language gap between disadvantaged children and their peers when they start school can be as much as 19 months. The recent report published as part of the Read On. Get On. campaign, Ready to Read, contained new analysis; it showed that children in deprived areas have poorer language skills at age 3, and are more likely to stay behind their wealthier peers. The report also showed these children are much less likely to do as well in reading at age seven. This adds to what we already know: disadvantaged children are less likely to do well during their school career, which can then impact on their employment prospects and future life choices – with early language a crucial factor in this.

Early years settings have the freedom to decide how to make best use of the EYPP but will be held accountable for this – it needs to make a difference for children. Ofsted inspections will report on whether providers spend their EYPP funding effectively. As the funding can be used flexibly, to meet a child’s particular needs, it opens up opportunities; funding can be used for ensuring staff have the skills needed to support children’s early language and communication skills, evidenced programmes and interventions, resources and staffing.

However, we are aware of the challenge for early years settings to demonstrate to Ofsted how they use the funding to make a positive difference to the progress of identified children, and show the evidence of impact. As an organisation we ensure we develop financially viable language interventions that are always evaluated and enable settings to evidence progress children make as a result of the intervention. For example Early Talk Boost, launched this week, has been evaluated and findings show that children make statistically significant progress in their early language. For as little as £19 per child, settings can double the rate of progress in language and communication for a child with delayed language development. For settings running the Early Talk Boost language groups, just £450 (the EYPP funding for just 2 eligible children attending nursery part time) can boost the progress in early language for 24 children with delayed language, helping to narrow the gap between them and their peers.

This will give them the language skills they need to make a positive start at school.

Find out more about Early Talk Boost here.