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A national charity, Early Education, has launched the Learning Together About Learning project to help settings and schools make the best use of their Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP), which is additional government funding for early years settings to improve the education provided for disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds.
The project is funded by the Department for Education (DfE)’s Voluntary and Community Sector Grants Programme and will be carried out locally and at a national level.
Pilot networks will run in 15 local authorities across England bringing together early years providers to work in partnership on how best to deliver and evaluate effective use of EYPP funds. Local networks will be co-ordinated by outstanding maintained nursery schools with experience of facilitating workforce development in their area.
Each individual network’s activities will be decided by the participating settings, who will identify how coming together can add value, through sharing their expertise and jointly commissioning training and resources. In the course of the project, the local networks will collect data to help evaluate the impact of different approaches to using EYPP, and also to identify ways of helping settings make best use of it.
At national level, the project will gather together examples of best practice and sources of helpful expertise from the pilot networks and beyond, which it will disseminate via the Early Education website and social media. There will also be events in the autumn and spring to bring together information about resources available to support EYPP and to disseminate the project findings.
Project lead, Caroline Eaton, said: “Our aim is to support the early years’ sector make the best possible use of the EYPP, and to demonstrate the impact. We want to help the sector find creative ways to use the funding effectively and to make it easier for settings to partner up and find the support they need.
“The focus of the spending is likely to be in three key areas: quality improvement which includes CPD, refining partnerships with parents thereby impacting on the home learning environment, and broadening the wider experiences of the children. If you are starting to develop interesting partnerships and ideas for making the difference with this funding, we would love to hear from you as sharing helps everybody.”
Early Education chief executive, Beatrice Merrick, said: “Everyone is on a steep learning curve when it comes to making best use of EYPP. We hope this project can speed up the process of sharing knowledge about what works in a format that’s accessible to all practitioners.
“We know that high quality early education is what makes most difference to improving the outcomes of the most disadvantaged children, so ultimately this is about building the confidence and capacity of all staff to give children the best possible education based on sound early years principles and practice.”
Providers eligible for EYPP are invited to fill out a short questionnaire to give feedback on the project direction and to sign up for newsletters and updates from the project at www.early-education.org.uk/eypp