22 Jan, 2020

Report of healthy early years London: year 1 evaluation (December 2019)


The Mayor’s new Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) awards programme is targeted at London’s 13,000+ childcare settings with the aim of tackling health inequalities across the city at the earliest opportunity in a child’s life. Following extensive development and piloting, HEYL was launched by the Mayor in October 2018. Since that date, 32 London boroughs have become involved in HEYL, and over 1,568 settings have registered to take part.

About this evaluation

The Evaluation was undertaken by Cavill Associates including: Dr Nick Cavill, Mike Parker, Professor Harry Rutter and Jo Foster.
This report describes a process evaluation of the first year of HEYL’s operation. The evaluation aimed to assess the contribution that the programme makes to improving health, wellbeing and child development and to reducing health inequalities among children, aged under five, in London’s Healthy Early Years (HEYL) settings (including childminders). The evaluation makes recommendations for improvements to the ongoing programme for taking to scale across London.

The evaluation combined surveys of stakeholders and early years settings; one-to-one interviews and focus groups; ethnographic visits to settings; analysis of existing routine data.

Headline findings

  • HEYL is strongly supported by early years policy
  • HEYL adds value through working in partnership
  • Resources are severely stretched within Local authorities
  • HEYL is associated with many examples of positive impacts, but evidence is thin
  • Taking part in HEYL requires a lot of paperwork, which may be a barrier to participation
  • Addressing health inequalities is challenging


The report contains recommendations for GLA; boroughs, and childcare settings.

Healthy Early Years London: Year 1 Evaluation Report