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Early Years Quality Improvement

Early Years Quality Improvement

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Early Years Quality Improvement

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  1. Early Years Quality Improvement December 2007 1

  2. Contents Slide Number • Introduction and background 2–14 • Early Years Quality Improvement Programme 15 • Communicating quality 16–19 • Performance Management – driving quality through the system 20–27 • Local authorities 23–24 • Settings 25–27 • Supporting the workforce 28–29 • Conclusion 30 • Glossary and References 31–32 2

  3. Early YearsImproving quality – the core priority • The Children’s Plan published in December 2007 sets out a vision for making this country the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up • Improving the quality of early years provision is at the heart of that vision • Achieving world-class standards and closing the gaps between the lowest achieving and most disadvantaged children and the rest will require system reform so that all providers are consistently achieving at the level of the best • The Early Years Quality Improvement Programme sets out a framework for taking forward the vision for improvement set out in the Children’s Plan 3

  4. The importance of quality • Early learning, along with the home learning environment, has a significant impact on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development, and contributes to better outcomes at school • However, early learning provision must be of high quality – evidence (EPPE) shows that poor quality early learning adds no value in the long term • High quality early learning has a number of essential characteristics – but the quality of the workforce is one of the most important • Developing high quality early learning is also the best way to ensure that parents are fully involved in their children’s learning 4

  5. 10YO The benefits – why invest in quality? IF HIGH QUALITY… Positive and significant contribution to attainment in reading/maths 4–6 months ahead in pre-reading 2YO 3–4YO 5YO EARLY YEARS PRIMARY SCHOOL IF HIGH QUALITY: better cognitive outcomes esp. pre-language – less easily distracted/more task oriented Higher reading/maths scores at 5 and 10 YO associated with better self-regulation (independence, concentration) when starting school 5

  6. Quality also drives virtuous circles Two potentially virtuous circles… CHILDREN’S OUTCOMES IMPROVE CHILDREN income learning and development EARLY LEARNING AND CARE income WORK access to childcare translating best of practice to the home PARENTS’ OUTCOMES IMPROVE PARENTS …but only if provision is high-quality 6

  7. Quality in the market • The early years sector is a mixed market, with a large proportion of provision delivered by Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) providers (80%+) • The Government has regulated to set core standards for quality in early learning, development and care from birth to five through the EYFS • But providers need to use these core standards as the basis for continuous quality improvement, which should be a part of day-to-day practice • Both supply-side (funding, support) and demand-side incentives (fees from parents) for providers to improve quality need to be used effectively to deliver sustainable quality improvement alongside better access and involvement for parents 7

  8. COMMON IDEA OF QUALITY PVI Maintained SSCC Delivering quality in partnership Sharing best practice at LA level – National QI Network Local authority FACILITATE SHARING BEST PRACTICE SUPPORT & CHALLENGE Research evidence Tools (e.g. ECERS) EYFS as starting point Hardest to reach… Easiest to reach… Parents/children Support for access… 8

  9. Sustainable quality improvement Communications and strategic leadership… £ Local authorities Central Government • Demonstrable impact on outcomes • Consistent basis for quality improvement and shared language for describing it • Sharing best practice Sustainable core of public funding: GLF, SSEYCG Maintained nurseries and schools SSCCs PVI CULTURE – BETTER WAYS OF WORKING 9

  10. Quality improvement – understanding the issues A review of the early years sector carried out in summer 2007 suggested that: • parents do not have a strong enough voice in the market or value quality as an important part of choosing early learning for their child • the quality of early learning is not a strong enough priority for local authorities, and many authorities do not have a strong vision or strategy for quality improvement • the range of support available to providers to help improve the quality of the workforce is not brought together in a coherent enough way and its quality is variable • providers do not feel they have sufficient economic incentives to improve the quality of the workforce, and PVI providers feel there is not a level playing field in support available 10

  11. Data on quality GRADUATES LEVEL 3 In 2007: Nursery Schools 32% Primary Schools 37%–45% FDC/sessional 4% Childminders 3% WORKFORCE • At June 2008 over 3,000 Early Years Professionals – 1,900 with the Status and over 1,500 in training • Aim for EYP in every full day care setting by 2015, with 2 in disadvantaged areas Ofsted – POSITIVES AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT • Ofsted 2005–08 inspections: Quality of childcare and early education has risen year-on-year • 97% of settings satisfactory or better at promoting outcomes for children (54% are good or outstanding) • Settings offering outstanding or good early education up from 54% 2005-06 to 70% 2007-2008 • Too many settings still only satisfactory (33% Ofsted 2007-2008) • Although 93% of settings were offering at least adequate quality of provision (mean total score of 3+ out of 7 on ITERS) only 23% offered at least good quality (5+ score) – NNI study, 2007 • Although all sectors have improved language and reasoning provision, there has been little improvement in literacy and maths – MCS study, 2002–07 PRACTICE POSITIVES AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT • FSP scores: no discernible narrowing of gap with some groups of children still falling behind by age 5 (e.g. Pakistani/Bangladeshi children, children from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities) • Parents not sufficiently well-engaged as partners in the learning process • FSP scores: 1 percentage point rise in 2007 (moderation expected to have fully bedded down by 2008) • 2010 target (PSA10/11): further 4 percentage points increase in children achieving 78 points and 3% narrowing of gap from 2008 baseline OUTCOMES 11

  12. Action to secure high quality • Early Years Foundation Stage – setting the national standards for learning development and care from birth to five • Ofsted registration and inspection – ensuring minimum standards of safety and quality are met and providing a basis for constructing strategies for improvement • Early Years National Strategies – supporting LAs to improve children’s outcomes, narrow gaps and engage parents as partners in children’s learning; and providing CPD to professionals: CLLD, ECAT, SEAD, EAL, Boys, IDP • Workforce development: £305m (2008–11) Graduate Leader Fund as a sustainable direct investment to incentivise graduate training, recruitment and retention; Level 3 as the standard for group care, with Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant to support training • National Quality Improvement Network – sharing best practice between local authorities across the country in systems for improving quality in settings 12

  13. The ambition – where we need to be • Continuous quality improvement embedded in all settings, based on key elements of quality underpinned by the right culture • Settings working together, facilitated by local authorities, to share best practice, and working closely with schools and partners in health and employment to focus on the needs of children and families • Leaders and managers who set a vision and lead a learning culture in settings, with sustainable graduate leadership across the sector – all full daycare settings to be led by a graduate by 2015, with two graduates in deprived communities • A highly qualified early years workforce – an ambition for all staff in group care to have a minimum Level 3 qualification, and all childminders to achieve a minimum Level 2 qualification over time • A universal recognition of the importance of high quality early education, a consistent conception of what high quality looks like, and a shared language for describing it, so that parents can drive quality improvement through exercising choice, and settings can set the highest standards 13

  14. Investing in higher quality – the gains • Investing in people is the right basis for improving quality – CPD and qualifications (Level 3, graduate) • Potential gains outweigh the potential risks • Key gains are improved reach (more parents using a provider’s or childminder’s services) and better outcomes for children (including by working better with parents) • As quality improves, the cost of retaining staff with higher skills becomes less than the cost of losing them, and the cost of improving skills is outweighed by the benefits – because the sector becomes an even better place to work: • Culture – consistently learning, stimulating, challenging • Opportunities for innovation and new practice • Day-by-day improvements for children 14

  15. Rising to the quality challenge The Early Years Quality Improvement Programme responds to this challenge through three key themes: • Communicating quality • Performance Management - driving quality improvement through the system • Supporting the workforce rise to the quality challenge Underpinning this, we need to recognise that ‘turning the curve’ on quality is a shared challenge for all providers that depends on sharing best practice 15

  16. Early Years Quality Improvement Programme Communicating quality Developing a universal understanding of the characteristics of high quality early years provision and why it is important, that is shared by everyone in the system 16

  17. Communicating quality • Current perceptions of ‘what high quality looks like’ are uneven among both providers and parents – despite the clear picture that research has painted • For providers, quality is often not seen as synonymous with qualifications – skills and experience are considered more important • For parents, word of mouth is the main driver in choosing an early learning setting, and personal recommendation, trust and convenience tend to be more important than objective measures of quality – although some parents will check Ofsted reports • There are perceived (but not real) disconnects between: • the aims of Government regulation (the EYFS and PSA targets) and what high quality, play-based early learning looks like • the Government’s aim to help parents into work and the key importance of the home learning environment for young children • raising access to childcare whilst improving quality – putting pressure on sustainability in the PVI sector 17

  18. Conception of high quality – common threads • Commitment to improving outcomes for children, not just keeping them safe and happy – and ways of demonstrating that this happens, including through an 'early learning vision' (e.g. 'giving children more') • Skills and experience that not only meet minimum standards but are being well used: are the staff happy and motivated? • Recognition that early learning that conforms with the high standards set out in research (e.g. 'sustained shared thinking') works • Recognition both that the home learning environment can be influenced by early learning provision, and that young children gain important social skills from early learning environments that they may not get at home 18

  19. CHILDREN'S LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT What quality looks like Settings – what are the key elements of high quality provision? Clear educational goals Graduate leading practice, setting vision, leading learning culture Meeting every individual child’s needs Level 3 as standard for group care & basis for progression to higher levels Sustained shared thinking Warm responsive relationships between adults/children Workforce Practice CPD – opportunities for staff to gain higher qualifications & improve skills Parents supported in involvement in children’s learning Content & Environment EYFS staff : children ratios Safe & stimulating physical environment EYFS challenging & play-based content Back/Themes Next/Conclusion 19

  20. Early Years Quality Improvement Programme • Performance Management – driving quality improvement through the system • Coherent local authority level QI processes delivered through Early Years Consultants with intervention in inverse proportion to success • Quality improvement processes at setting level using tools to continually review and improve practice, driven by the Ofsted self-evaluation form • Early Years National Strategies challenging and supporting local authorities through training 20

  21. Performance Management – driving quality improvement through the system • Early Years National Strategies – helping LAs to embed early years quality improvement in their plans for children’s services, and training and supporting Early Years Consultants • Local authorities – implementing systematic QI processes through EYCs based on intervention in inverse proportion to success and sharing best practice • Settings – continuous quality improvement processes, drawing on the full range of tools available to support QI and driven by the Ofsted self-evaluation form All those involved in the delivery of early years provision are focused on quality improvement, underpinned by a consistent understanding of quality 21

  22. Driving quality through the system:Early Years National Strategies support and training • Steering quality improvement activity in partnership with local authorities, challenging where robust QI strategies have not been developed and checking that: • support for QI is coherent and simple for providers to understand • inputs (workforce training) have been linked to outputs (measures of children’s outcomes, including the FSP) • local authorities are sharing best practice – both across the local market and with other LAs • Helping to strengthen the current early years advisory workforce in local authorities by providing training in quality improvement tools and processes – in line with the aim of establishing the role of Early Years Consultants as being parallel to that of PNS Primary Consultants’ • Delivering leadership training for managers in settings, focused on the change management and leadership skills required to deliver a continuously improving service in a mixed market 22

  23. Driving quality through the system:Local authority support and challenge The Childcare Act 2006 formalised local authorities’ market management (sufficiency and access) role in relation to the early years sector Local authorities need to: • develop an integrated strategyfor improving children’s outcomesand reducing inequalities between them, which binds together quality improvement, raising access and involving parents – in delivering the S1 outcomes duty • allocate funding and support in a way that best incentivises quality improvement across the local market, and which is perceived as coherent by providers – in delivering the S6 sufficiency duty and S13 training duty • raise awareness among parents of the importance of quality and what high quality looks like – in delivering the S12 information duty This requires a vision and processes for quality improvement which are securely embedded within the local authority’s wider children’s services plan, and which should: • embrace the whole market – PVI, maintained, SSCCs and schools – with ownership across providers and a commitment to sharing best practice • ideally be based on an 'audit and improvement' cycle taking into account Ofsted judgements with teams of Early Years Consultants providing support to providers • set clear expectations for sustainable high quality and continuous quality improvement 23

  24. Driving quality through the system: Local authority support and challenge Key EYC – Early Years Consultants PC – Primary Consultant SIP – School Improvement Partner PVI – Private, Voluntary and Independent SSCC – Sure Start Children’s Centre 24

  25. Driving quality through the system: Settings – continuous quality improvement • Meeting the requirements of the EYFS • Using the Ofsted self-evaluation form as the basis for continuous quality improvement • Focusing on both characteristics of effective pedagogy from birth to five and cultural characteristics of setting (e.g. a learning culture) • Drawing on the full range of QI tools available as required, steered by local authority QI processes – including: • Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS – E and A) • Key Elements of Effective Practice (PNS) • Babies’ Effective Early Learning (BEEL) • Leuven scale of children’s well-being and involvement 25

  26. Driving quality through the system: Settings – characteristics of effective practice, from birth to five • Adult/child interactions: sustained shared thinking and open-ended questioning to help extend children’s learning • Equal balance between adult-led and child-initiated activities in which formative feedback is provided to children • Knowledge and understanding of the curriculumand how young children learn • Use of observational assessment to understand each child’s development and inform their next learning steps • Skilled staff with qualifications and training • Encouraging parental involvement in children’s learning, especially by encouraging shared educational aims with parents, providing regular reporting to parents and discussing children’s progress • Clear policy for managing discipline and behaviour • Cognitive/social development seen as complementary • Play in which the baby or child takes the lead and makes choices; imaginative and creative activity Sources: Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (2007); 'Birth to Three Matters' Guidance, Sure Start 26

  27. Driving quality through the system: Cultural characteristics of a high quality setting • Leadership capable of inspiring and managing change • 'Whole setting' approach with clear educational vision • Shared ownership of vision and quality improvement processes by leaders/staff • High aspirations for every child – a strong commitment to making a difference to children’s (and parents’) lives and recognition of how quality improvement can help achieve this • Reflective practice, both individually and together amongst staff • CPD-enabling: time and space for discussion and development • Environments designed to facilitate high quality learning and development Source: Leadership in EY Settings (2007); supported by DCSF case studies Back/Themes Next/Conclusion 27

  28. Early Years Quality Improvement Programme Supporting the workforce to rise to the quality challenge Providing sustainable funding to improve the quality of the workforce, focusing on: • Graduate recruitment/retention • CPD for all staff • Coherence, shared purpose and mutual support of the schools and early years workforces • Leadership skills 28

  29. Supporting the workforce The Government is investing in the quality of early learning through the SureStart, Early Years and Childcare Grant. Namely: • theGraduate Leader Fund, sustained through to 2015 and positively targeted on the PVI sector, to incentivise the employment of graduates by: contributing to salary costs for newly employed graduates; providing further CPD for graduates to support retention; and providing graduate training for existing staff in settings • an expanded programme of CPD – delivered by EYNS – focused on supporting particular aspects of children’s learning and development which are key to their later achievement, such as the development of speaking and listening skills, as well as on particular approaches to gap narrowing • funding for LAs to flex the boundaries between the schools and EY workforces to share knowledge and practice by building on the Early Years Professional (EYP) practice-sharing networks being established by the CWDC. Support for networking and the exchange of leadership practice, including through 'buddying' arrangements and other joint work Back/Themes Next/Conclusion 29

  30. Conclusion The Children’s Plan has positioned quality improvement as an imperative for the early years sector, and a shared challenge for local authorities and all providers in the market Developing a common conception of high quality and language to describe it, and sharing best practice, are vital The Early Years Quality Improvement Programme underpins the next stage of development of the sector by providing a coherent framework of policy for quality improvement and funding to support it through: • Communicating quality: a common perception of quality and its importance that is shared by everyone in the system • Performance Management – driving quality improvement through the system: the roles of EYNS, LAs and settings, which are reinforcing • Supporting the workforce to rise to the quality challenge: sustainable funding for quality improvement, focusing on graduates, CPD, exchange of practice with schools, and leadership 30

  31. Glossary ‘Boys’ Confident, capable & creative : supporting boys’ achievements programme CLLD Communication, language and literacy development programme CPD Continuous professional development CWDC Children’s Workforce Development Council EAL English as an additional language EPPE The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project ECAT Every Child a Talker programme EYC Early Years Consultant EYFS Early Years Foundation Stage EYNS Early Years National Strategies EYP Early Years Professional FSP Foundation Stage Profile IDP Inclusion Development Programme ITERS Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scales LA Local authority MCS Millennium Cohort Study NNI Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative Ofsted Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills  PNS Primary National Strategies PSA Public Service Agreement PVI Private, voluntary, independent QI Quality improvement SEAD Social & emotional aspects of development programme Settings Any out of school provider of early years provision for children from birth to five includingchildminders, local authority nurseries, nursery or early years centres, children’s centres, playgroups, pre-schools, schools in the independent, private and voluntary sectors and maintained schools SSCC Sure Start Children’s Centre 31

  32. References The Childcare Act 2006 The Act may be viewed in full online at: Below are brief outlines of sections 1, 6, 12 & 13 Part 1, Section 1 General duties of English local authorities in relation to the well-being of young children An English local authority must: (a) improve the well-being of young children in their area, and (b) reduce inequalities between young children in their area in relation to: • physical and mental health and emotional well-being • protection from harm and neglect • education, training and recreation Part 1, Section 6 Duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents An English local authority must secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the provision of childcare (whether or not by them) is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area who require childcare in order to enable them: (a) to take up, or remain in, work, or (b) to undertake education or training which could reasonably be expected to assist them to obtain work... Part 1, Section12 Duty to provide information, advice and assistance An English local authority must establish and maintain a service providing information, advice and assistance in accordance with this section. The service must provide to parents or prospective parents information which is of a prescribed description and relates to any of the following: (a) the provision of childcare in the area of the local authority; (b) any other services or facilities, or any publications, which may be of benefit to parents or prospective parents in their area; (c) any other services or facilities, or any publications, which may be of benefit to children or young persons in their area… Part 1, Section 13Duty to provide information, advice and training to childcare providers An English local authority must, in accordance with regulations, secure the provision of information, advice and training to persons providing childcare in their area and other persons specified in the Act. The Children’s Plan Department for Children, Schools and Families: The Children’s Plan, Building brighter futures. Published December 2007.Cm7280. 32