As the Department for Education funded Early Years Professional Development programmes draw to a close, we celebrate their many successes and reflect on some the fantastic feedback from practitioners.
After first launching in April 2019, the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP) and the adapted second phase ‘Building on Success’ (launched January 2022), have both recently drawn to a close as per the contractual agreements with the Department for Education (DfE).
Over the course of the last three years, the programmes have provided high-quality, evidence-based professional development to early years practitioners (EYPs) working in nurseries, pre-schools and childminders, 97% of whom said they thought the content on the programme was useful or very useful and that they were able to start using their newly acquired skills straight away in their settings.
As part of the government’s efforts to narrow the attainment gap in the early years, the DfE funded professional development training was specifically targeted at practitioners in areas with some of the most disadvantaged children between the ages of two and four years.
Working together in partnership with speech and language specialists, Elklan Training; personal, social and emotional development (PSED) experts, the Anna Freud Centre; and early years maths experts, Dr Sue Gifford and Dr Cath Gripton, the programmes have reached over 10,000 early years practitioners across England to help improve children’s outcomes in early language, literacy, mathematics and personal, social and emotional development.
Both programmes have had many successes and some excellent feedback, particularly from practitioners who have seen how beneficial the programme has been both for them and the children in their setting. We are also aware of at least three settings that have participated in the programmes where the quality of CPD and impact has been cited in their Ofsted inspections.
The training also resulted in 90% of practitioners reporting that they felt a greater level of confidence in what they do, which in turn will undoubtedly have an impact on the children within their settings. In fact, immediate signs of improvement in children’s speech, language and communication were reported as well as EYPs reporting being better able to incorporate maths into their everyday practice – both of which are essential in preparing children for starting school.
For those taking part in the second phase of the programme (Building on Success), having the right skills, knowledge and confidence to help support children in their settings with their personal, social and emotional development was critical given the impact of the pandemic on the mental health and well-being of the children in their settings – 95% said they were better able to do this having taken part in the programme.
Giving his thoughts on the end of the programme, Patrick Brazier CEO of Education Development Trust said,
“We know that Early Years practitioners have a critical role in helping the children they work with get the best possible outcomes, which is why we are so proud of the achievements of the Early Years Professional Development Programme. Being able to support Early Years practitioners with expert professional development has built their confidence and refined their skills - a fantastic achievement on their behalf. Because of the programme, more children will now be better prepared to start school and better placed to succeed throughout their time in education.”
This programme has been excellent and we have already implemented the vocabulary building strategies. We are also enhancing our 'large doll play' and have all been working on teaching and providing more exciting mathematical activities to the children. There is so much more we have learnt and we are all looking forward to having everything implemented. We can already see the benefits to the children and the passion coming through from the team.
Early Years Practitioner, Essex (part of the Building on Success Programme)
A child’s early years – between birth and age five – are fundamental to their development, laying a foundation for future learning, skills and behaviours. Early years educational provision is therefore hugely important, and play is at the heart of effective provision. Supporting play in early years settings is crucial: it improves children’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing and helps them to learn about the world and themselves, laying the groundwork for their future learning and development potential. In this commentary, we consider not only the importance of play, but what this means for early years practitioners and how these practitioners can best be supported through effective professional development.
We are delighted to share the results of our recently published evaluation report from the second phase of the Early Years Professional Development Programme - Building on Success.
Education Development Trust will continue to deliver the DfE’s Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP) – now moving into its third phase and available throughout England – after winning the latest bid to support training in this sector.