Childcare and early years

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Key Findings
• Norm for 3 and 4 year olds to attend some formal free early-education provision.
• Family and child characteristics are the most important factors affecting child outcomes.
• Parenting skills and the ‘home learning environment’ are becoming increasingly important aspects of the evidence base.
• Targeted ‘early-interventions’ in the ‘early-years of childhood’ are on the increase – especially for the most disadvantaged children.
• There is a drive towards ‘early-intervention’ in the early years of childhood that encompasses much more than childcare and early-education provision.

Key Trends
• Provision of childcare places are insufficient to meet the demands of working parents, whereas part-time early-education for three and four year olds is taken up nearly universally.
• The proportion of children attending different types of early-education provider is relatively stable over the last five years. Between 35 and 38 per cent of 3 and 4 year olds attended the private or voluntary sectors and around 55 per cent attended the publicly maintained sector.
• The proportion of disadvantaged two year olds attending early-education is on the increase, with England leading the way.
• The variety in the nature of provision and the differential ages at which children officially start school make comparisons of international trends very complex. It is not clear how investments in the UK compare to other countries.

Key Sources
• Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
• OECD Study for Early Education and Development (SEED)
• ‘Evaluation of a Better Start’
• Early Intervention Foundation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe well-being of children in the UK
EditorsJonathan Bradshaw
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPolicy Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781447325673
ISBN (Print)9781447325628
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Wellbeing
  • children
  • childcare

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