Campaigns & Government Policies

Nursery World  
The leading bi-monthly publication for all those working with young children - strong on coverage of government issues and practical ideas to enhance best practice. Highly recommend this essential publication. Well worth the minimal subscription fee.

Foundation Years - From pregnacy to children age 5
An indispensible site to support you as a professional working with children and families in the foundation years. It is a one stop shop for resources, information and the latest news on the foundation years. Developed collaboratively by you, the sector - for the sector. It brings together information from many sources that will help you to support children to develop and flourish.

Department of Health
Start Active, Stay Active:
A report on physical activity from the four home countries' Chief Medical Officers. (Download the 62 pages)
Provides activity guidelines which you can download for Early Years at UK Physical Activity Guidelines. Five Factsheets plus other reports. Free to download.

Wave Trust - Tackling the Roots of Disadvantage
WAVE Trust report - a Department for Education invited response to Supporting Families in the Foundation Years - March 2013
Conception to Age 2 - The Age of Opportunity Commissioners Framework

Deptarment of Education
Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five.


APPG Report | December 2016 | PHYSICAL EDUCATION 

There are many recommendations flowing from this Report. This is a reflection of the work required to recognise the vital importance of physical education to health and to create the environment that will reverse the strong recent trend of reduced physical activity. The recommendations also appear at the end of each relevant section. 


Physical activity for early years (birth–5 years)

• Only one in 10 children aged 2–4 is active for 3 hours or more daily.
• This is a new infographic based on existing CMO guidelines. It will help Early Years teachers, nursery schools, health visitors and doctors to talk about the importance of young children being active. It can also be used as a training resource.
• The infographic is designed to explain the UK Chief Medical Officer's recommendation that children aged under 5 should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes, spread through the day. Every movement counts and includes crawling, walking, jumping, object and messy play.
• It highlights the benefits of being active and the range of activity to achieve this recommendation. Physical activity has been shown to help maintain a healthy weight, improve concentration, health and fitness, improve sleep and build social skills and confidence.


Universal Pre-school Education: The Case of Public Funding with Private Provision

The Economic Journal | 23 May 2016


This article studies the effect of free pre-school education on child outcomes in primary school. We exploit the staggered implementation of free part-time pre-school for three year olds across Local Education Authorities in England in the early 2000s. The policy led to small improvements in attainment at age 5, with no apparent benefits by age 11. We argue that this is because the expansion of free places largely crowded out privately paid care, with small changes in total participation, and was achieved through an increase in private provision, where quality is lower on average than in the public sector.



Health matters focuses on ensuring the best possible start from pregnancy through to age 2.

UK Gov | The fifth edition of Public Health England’s (PHE’s) Health matters, published today (12 May 2016), outlines how local authorities and health professionals can support women, and their partners, from conception through to pregnancy and into parenthood.

The first 1001 days through pregnancy to 2 years are vital. What happens in pregnancy and early childhood impacts on a child’s physical and emotional health as they move into adulthood. Enabling children to achieve their full potential as early as possible provides the cornerstone for optimum health later on in life.

PHE’s ambitions for ensuring every child has best start in life include focusing on ‘healthy maternity’, ‘ready to learn at 2’ and ‘ready for school by 5’. The first 2 years are vital to help with transition to parenthood and to identify and tackle problems early.


Family support or school readiness? Contrasting models of public spending on children's early care and learning

Economic Studies at Brookings | April 2016

Executive Summary | In the United States, public policy and expenditure intended to improve the prospects of children from low-income families have focused on better preparing children for school through Head Start and universal pre-K. This school readiness approach differs from the dominant model of public support for early care and learning in Northern Europe, which places more emphasis on supporting families. It also differs from other government programs in the U.S., such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, that support low-income parents of young children by boosting income.


Australia National Education Evidence Base

Austrialian Goverment Productivity Commission | April 2016

The Australian Government is committed to working collaboratively with the states and territories to build a world-class education system that equips children to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Having comprehensive and consistent data that underpins a national evidence base will inform education policy and help improve educational outcomes for children.

While a significant amount of data is currently collected on students, schools and the workforce, data reported nationally is more limited and often inconsistent. Valuable data is also collected outside schools, including in early childhood education and care. Improved access and greater ability to link and analyse national data could enhance the quality and scope of national education evidence that can be used to monitor educational outcomes and inform policy development and evaluation.

Through consultation with states and territories, education authorities and other key stakeholders, this Inquiry will help to identify current investment in national data collection and education evidence, opportunities to collectively invest further, and how we can improve the effectiveness of our investment through a more streamlined, comprehensive and collaborative national approach.

Improving the collection and management of education data in Australia will assist to create a more robust national education evidence base for effective policy and program development to meet our national education objectives and lift our national productivity. 


The Future of Family Incomes | How key tax and welfare changes will affect families to 2020

 Childrens Society | Sam Royston | February 2016

The Future of Family Incomes: How key tax and welfare changes will affect families to 2020, reveals for the first time the collective impact of a range of welfare, tax and benefit measures announced, but not yet introduced, by the current and previous governments.

While some changes, such as the introduction of a higher minimum wage, might increase household incomes by 2020, others will cancel out any gains by significantly cutting key support for many families.

The changes are expected to impact various family types in the following ways for people making new claims in 2020:

  • A 23-year-old primary school teacher and single mum of two children renting their home could be worse off by £239 per month, or £2,868 per year.
  • A nurse and her partner with three children, renting in London, could be worse off by £425 per month, or £5,100 per year.
  • An army corporal and his partner with three children, including one who is disabled, who own their home, could be worse off by £771 per month, or £9,252 per year.


Ofsted report on alternative provision for schools

Ofsted | First published:9 February 2016

Today’s report, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), was carried out over a 3 year period and follows up the results of an initial survey in 2011, which found significant weaknesses in the way schools used alternative provision.

Ofsted inspectors visited 165 schools and 448 of the alternative providers they used. The survey reveals that:

  • more schools are refusing to use alternative provision if they do not think it is of a good enough standard

  • schools have developed in-house alternatives when good quality provision is not available locally

  • more schools are working together to find and commission good quality alternative provision

  • providers are usually safe, with reasonable accommodation and resources available to students

  • a small number of providers are contravening regulations regarding registration, and schools are not always checking providers’ registration status.


PHE | Maternal Obesity

Maternal obesity

Approximately half of all women of childbearing age in England are either overweight or obese. Maternal obesity (defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more at the first antenatal consultation) can increase health risks for both the mother and child during and after pregnancy. For mothers these risks can include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. Fetal risks include macrosomia, congenital anomalies and stillbirths. Maternal obesity has also been linked to low breastfeeding rates, adverse childhood cardiovascular and respiratory outcomes and childhood obesity.

Data on the prevalence of maternal obesity are not collected routinely in the UK, but trend data from the Health Survey for England show that the prevalence of obesity among women of childbearing age increased during the period 1997-2013. Severe obesity (a BMI of 40kg/m2 or more) among women has increased since 1993 and is predicted to rise further over the next twenty to thirty years. Severe maternal obesity is associated with greater risks of birth complications, longer postnatal stays and wound infection. Recent evidence from the UK indicates that high maternal BMI is also associated with increased health service usage and healthcare costs.


ncb | The Integrated Review

Bringing together health and early education reviews at age two to two-and-a-half | Published online by the NCB Early Childhood Unit March 2015 

From September 2015, local authorities, health visiting services and early years providers will be expected to bring together health and early education reviews for young children at the age of two to two-and-a-half.

Age two to two-and-a-half is an important time for children and their parents. It is a period of rapid growth, learning and development in a young child’s life, and is also a crucial time when a child’s need for additional support from health services or the education system can become clear. While the care given during the first months and years of a baby’s life is critical for equipping them for the future, age two is another important stage where planned contact with all children and their parents can help to make a real difference to a child’s future outcomes.


Early Years Foundation Stage

Early Years Foundation Stage - EYFS 
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the statutory standards that all early years providers must meet. This includes all maintained schools, non-maintained schools, independent schools and all providers on the Early Years Register.


Policy for Play
This site is for anyone interested in – or concerned about – children’s play and how to provide for it in the modern world. Adrian Voce OBE, previously director of Play for England, posts about the political and policy side of play.

The Marmot Review Fair Society, Healthy Lives - UCL
Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010. 

The impact of the Economic Downturn and Policy Changes on Health Inequalities in London The UCL Institute of Health Equity was commissioned by the London Health Inequalities Network to look at the impact of the economic downturn and the government’s welfare reforms on health inequalities in London to 2016, with a particular focus on the employment, income and housing impacts of the changes.

Public Health England
Obesity - The Public Health England Obesity website provides a single point of contact for wide-ranging authoritative information on data, evaluation, evidence and research related to weight status and its determinants.

Early Intervention: The Next Steps 
An Independent report to Her Majesty's Government - Graham Allen MP Jan 2011

The Concept of Physical Literacy - Margaret Whitehead PhD
British Journal of Teaching Physical Education 2001

Framework for Children's Learning for 3 to 7 year olds in Wales
Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning Skills. Welsh Assembly Govenment. This document sets out the Welsh Government’s requirements for the Foundation Phase for 3 to 7-year-olds in Wales.