Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review of 2014

It's nearly Christmas, so it must be time for a review of major developments and new research published in the children's sector during the last year. After all, you might have missed some of these the first time around...

It's probably best to start with some changes which will impact on all who work in early years and education settings. September saw the implementation of the revised Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, as well as the new SEND Code of Practice (separate guidance for early years settings and guidance for schools are also available). 2014 also saw the passing of the Children and Families Act, with implications of a wide range of children's services.

It's been another year where the topic of childcare - how to finance it, and how best to deliver it effectively - has generated an astonishing amount of reports. But first the official stuff: in January the DfE published their annual Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents, which examines parents’ use of childcare and early years provision, and their views and experiences. Then in September came the latest Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey, which has detailed information on the characteristics of childcare / early years provision, and statistics on the number of providers and children attending. For information on the quality of childcare on offer, April saw the publication of Ofsted's first Early Years Annual Report.

And onto other organisations... In 2013 the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank began a series of reports on childcare provision, and continued this year with two further publications. ChildMind the Gap examined how childcare could be delivered in a manner which would allow mothers to return to work if they so wished, while No More Baby Steps set our proposals for moving the UK towards a "universal, high-quality and affordable system of childcare and early-years provision." The Family and Childcare Trust also issued more than one report: March saw the release of their annual Childcare Costs Survey, while June saw the publication of Where Next for Childcare? which assessed many of the policy developments of recent years. Other reports to tackle issues around childcare provision include the Citizen Advice Bureau's The Practicalities of Childcare, and the Nuffield Trust's Quality and Inequality.

The future of Children's Centres is another topic which has generated debate for at least a couple of years now, and two new reports added to the discussion. In February Barnardos released What Are Children's Centres For?, while in October the 4Children charity published their latest Sure Start Children's Centre's Census, which is probably the most comprehensive picture available of the services that are on offer.

Of course, some lengthy research projects continue to produce new information for many years! In September the final report of the EPPSE project was published (EPPSE has been tracking the development of a large number of young children since 1997). On a similar note, the Millennium Cohort Study has been running since 2000 and is still ongoing, but recently published a new report detailing how the children they have been following are faring at age 11.

And here are some other interesting documents from 2014, which I couldn't easily fit into any of the above paragraphs(!):
Your reward for reading this far is some blatant self-promotion... The most popular posts published on this site this year have been:
As ever, if you feel I've missed something important, please share it with other site visitors by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post. I need to go, I can hear a knocking sound...

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