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Understanding the take-up of early education entitlements

This research study is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and is being undertaken by the Centre for Evidence and ImplementationUCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunity and Coram Family and Childcare with Ivana La Valle. 

The early education entitlements for all 3-4-year-olds and disadvantaged 2-year-olds aim to support children’s development and reduce inequalities in participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC). While ECEC participation in England has risen since the introduction of these policies, a substantial minority of children, especially disadvantaged children, miss out on some or all their entitlement. This raises the question of whether this reflects parental choice, or whether families face obstacles in accessing the early education entitlements, suggesting that more should be done to support take-up, in order to reduce inequalities in ECEC participation and outcomes.

Take-up of the early education entitlements varies considerably between local authorities. This is likely to be due to a combination of demographics, including employment levels, features of local ECEC services (e.g. mix of provider types, costs), as well as the extent and effectiveness of local authority work to support take-up. The overall aim of the study is to provide evidence to support local authority actions to facilitate take-up of the early education entitlements, where needed, particularly amongst disadvantaged children, by exploring these interactions and identifying the key barriers to and facilitators of take-up among different groups.

School boy in a library aisle

Research by Coram Family and Childcare

Our research and advocacy focuses on making Britain as supportive of fulfilling family lives as possible, and on holding central and local government to account for doing all it can to remove barriers for families. By revealing new insights into family life in the UK and formulating innovative solutions, our research aims to push the envelope on how families are supported in the UK. 

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