We have sharpened our pencils, packed our satchels and are ready for a new school year! For NurseryBook, top of the curriculum this month is the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP); we’ll be exploring everything from what it is and who is eligible, through how to apply for funding, to the most effective ways to invest and measure the effect the funding has.
This week, we are looking at the EYPP from the early years providers’ perspective. So what are the benefits and what are the challenges?
In our recent conversations with providers, they all confirm the funding will be very useful to help ensure all eligible children are in a position to start school on as equal a footing as possible. However, some commentators in the sector have suggested that the amount of funding, working out at 53p an hour, to a maximum of £302.10 per eligible child, may not be enough to really make an impact, especially for smaller settings where it will be harder to pool funding for interventions.
We spoke to two early years settings in particular about their plans: Le Nid Childcare, a new brand in the childcare sector, providing early years education to a mix of both fee-paying and funded children since 2013; and Twizzle Tops Day Nurseries, a chain of six nurseries in Basildon, Stevenage, Lakeside, Wembley, Oxford, and South Woodham, uniquely situated within Partyman World of Play, a soft-play centre.
Mandy Davies, Nursery Manager of Twizzle Tops Day Nursery in Wembley believes that around 25 percent of the children in her care, aged three and four-years-old, are eligible, although so far she has secured funding for closer to eight percent. Wembley is a built-up and diverse area of London, and most eligible children live in flats without an outside space and do not speak English as a first language, so these are the challenges that Mandy and her team plans to tackle first.
‘Most of our children live in high rise buildings, and so giving them opportunities for physical development is also a priority for us. Having the soft-play facilities is a huge advantage and means they can be physically active every day. We also have a small garden with a decking area and I plan to invest some of the EYPP funding in a canopy, so that the children can also be active outside, whatever the weather.’
Meanwhile, Mrs Gaitree Cuppoor, Owner of Le Nid Childcare in Southall, commented: ‘We have thought very carefully about what we should do with our EYPP funding and our plan is to invest in creative play and learning toys to support both the eligible children and the others in their learning journeys, to ensure they have a stimulating and fun time while they are with us.’
Both settings have recently introduced NurseryBook and anticipate the NurseryBook dashboard and reporting will make it easy to track children receiving EYPP funding and to compare their development to the overall progression trend of children of a similar age, which will make it easier to see the impact of each initiative.
In addition, the app’s benefits with regard to parent partnership and engagement, making it easy to share photos and observations, as well as suggesting activities to help children take their next steps, will make a marked difference for all children, including those eligible for EYPP funding. The settings will be able to follow how engaged parents are, which has a clear impact on their child’s attainment.
Please click here to view further detail on how these two early years settings are planning to implement EYPP funding.
NurseryBook has also found that many early years settings struggle to collect all the information required to make an application on behalf of eligible children, so we have launched a FREE EYPP tool, allowing practitioners and providers to quickly gather the necessary information to make an application to their Local Authority. Please click here to find out more and use the tool.
So, early years settings are thinking creatively about the best way to motivate, inspire and develop the children in their care – the funding, though some say it is too limited, will be put to great use – but first settings need to get hold of it! Next week, we’ll be looking at what all parents need to know and how they need to contribute towards funding applications.