This research looks at the impact of the Early Years Pupil Premium in reaching eligible children and whether this is narrowing the attainment gap between young children from low-income families and their peers.
The last five years has seen a range of policy and funding changes for the Early Years sector. In 2015 Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) was introduced to help providers support initiatives or interventions to narrow the gap in educational attainment. In 2017, the Government introduced the Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF) and Disability Access Fund (DAF) with the aim of supporting children with SEND as part of the revised Early Years National Funding Formula (EYNFF) and wider early-years and childcare reforms on entitlements for three- and four-year olds.
We commissioned Hempsall’s to identify the extent to which the EYPP is reaching eligible children, and whether this is successfully helping to narrow the attainment gap between young children from low-income families and their peers. Hempsalls also carried out research to identify the extent to which the SENIF and DAF have supported children to access early education and consider ways in which this can be improved.
A range of recommendations are included in the report, some that look at improving the process within local authorities and recommendations about how Central Government can support the process and increase take-up.
Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund and Disability Access Fund
- Streamline processes and customer journeys.
- Connect early years settings and schools to ensure a continuum of support for children with additional needs.
- Ring-fence SENIF to support a focus on take-up.
- Standardising SENIF eligibility criteria and funding levels across LA areas to create greater consistency across the England.
- Align the DAF with DLA to remove the need for parental application
Early Years Pupil Premium
- Parent declaration forms could collect information from all families and have embedded consent to check for eligibility.
- The Department for Education provides LAs with EYPP eligibility lists, as they do for eligible two-year-olds.
Enable local authorities to be given greater responsibility and resources for annual monitoring on how EYPP funding is used to ensure it is being spent as designated.
Two reports have been published and are available on the Hempsall’s website. We are now considering the recommendations with the Department for Education, councils and partners to identify the next steps to ensure these funding streams are providing the best possible support for children.