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Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): Impact Study on Early Education Use and Child Outcomes up to Age Three: Research brief.

Morris, SP and Melhuish, E and Gardiner, J (2017) Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): Impact Study on Early Education Use and Child Outcomes up to Age Three: Research brief. UNSPECIFIED. Department for Education, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627108/SEED_Impact_at_age_3_Research_Brief.pdf.

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Abstract

Introduction From September 2013, two-year-old children living in the 20% most disadvantaged households became eligible for 15 hours of funded early childhood education and care (ECEC) per week. This was extended in September 2014 to two-year-old children living in the 40% most disadvantaged households. This report aims to explore the impact of this new policy on take-up of ECEC for twoto three-year-old children, and to study whether differing types of ECEC between ages two and three, as well as aspects of the home environment, are associated with child cognitive and socio-emotional development at age three. Methods This report presents findings for 4,583 children from the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) longitudinal study. Demographic characteristics and factors of the home environment included in these analyses were measured at an average age of two (Wave 1), while child cognitive development and childcare provider rated socioemotional development outcomes were measured at age three (Wave 2). Type and duration of ECEC use was measured between ages two to three. Results Take-up of ECEC did not increase in the year following the introduction of the twoyear-old policy, however subsequent census data from later years (DfE, 2017) indicates increased take up, suggesting that it took time for policy impacts to be seen. Cognitive development at age three was associated with use of formal and informal individual ECEC between ages two and three. Socio-emotional development at age three was associated with use of group and individual formal ECEC between ages two and three. ECEC was beneficial across all levels of family disadvantage/advantage. A number of factors in the home environment were also associated with cognitive and socio-emotional development including aspects of the parent-child relationship, although the relationships between ECEC and outcomes were largely independent of the advantages of a rich home learning environment. Conclusions Early cognitive and socio-emotional developmental benefits are associated with use of ECEC between ages two and age three. Furthermore, the benefits of ECEC were seen regardless of family disadvantage level, and regardless of the quality of the home learning environment.

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