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Study of early education and development (SEED): Impact study on early education use and child outcomes up to age three

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Melhuish, E.; Gardiner, J.; & Morris, S.
Publication Date: 
1 Jul 2017


Executive summary

Several studies have shown that good quality early years education can have a positive effect on the educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes of children, in both the short and long term (Sylva et al., 2010; Melhuish et al., 2015). From September 2010 all three- and four-year-olds in England have been entitled to funded early education for 570 hours per year (commonly taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year). More recently the Government expanded this entitlement to benefit two-year-old children living in the most disadvantaged households in England. From September 2013, twoyear-old children living in households that were within the 20% most disadvantaged by household income became eligible for 15 hours of funded early education per week. This was extended in September 2014 to two-year-old children living in households within the 40% most disadvantaged by household income. 

The Study of Early Education and Development (SEED)1 is a major study designed to help the Department for Education (DfE) provide evidence on the effectiveness of early years education and to identify any short- and longer-term benefits from this investment. The study is being undertaken by a consortium including NatCen Social Research, the University of Oxford, Action for Children and Frontier Economics. This report is part of SEED, and focuses on the take-up of the early education offer for two-year-olds, and on exploring how early childhood education and care (ECEC) may be related to children’s development at age three. SEED aims to study children longitudinally at age two, three, four, five and seven to seek information on how variation in ECEC experience may be associated with cognitive and socio-emotional development.

This report addresses two main objectives:

1.To explore the impact of introducing a policy of free early education for disadvantaged two-year-olds on take-up of early education for two- to three-year-old children, in the year following the introduction of the policy.

2.To study the associations between the amount of differing types of early childhood education and care (ECEC) and child development, as well as associations between child development and aspects of the home environment.

-reprinted from Department for Education

Entered Date: 
19 Jul 2017
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