Early Years Pupil Premium by Sarah Neville

11th October 2016

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Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) funding has been provided by the Department for Education (DfE) since April 2015 for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds in all early years settings in England. The funding totals a maximum of £302.10 a year and should be paid termly for eligible children.

DfE state that EYPP is provided for early years settings ‘to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds.’ While the additional funding is welcome – all extra money is gratefully received by an early years community in financial crisis – passionate providers, who are always looking to improve outcomes for every child with whom they work, are asking Ofsted inspectors to recognise the many challenges presented by EYPP when making their inspection judgements.

Early Years Pupil Premium Identifying children who might be eligible to receive the funding can be tricky because Local Authorities are not always forthcoming with information and requesting applications from parents can be a challenge as families might not want the stigma of sharing sensitive details about their financial circumstances and relationships with childcare providers. Providers also report that they often find it difficult to communicate the benefits of applying for the EYPP money to parents and many state that, due to overly bureaucratic paperwork and the heavy, expensive administrative burden placed on providers and the Local Authority, the funding has often arrived until the end of the term for which it was meant or after the eligible child has left the setting.

If this is the case in your setting, Gill Jones (Deputy Director of Early Education at Ofsted) advises that you are honest and show your inspector the ways in which you have tried to gather the required information – letters to parents, communications with the Local Authority etc and talk about how you have spent any money you have received and the differences it has made.

Received termly, £100 a small amount of money, especially compared to the funding received by schools for disadvantaged children. Smaller group providers and childminders might only receive one payment of £100 a term which is very little, in real terms and demonstrating impact might be difficult if the child only attends a few hours a week.

You must spend the money wisely – take advice from other providers and your Local Authority and speak to the child’s parents. Consider what can realistically be achieved with the funding: you will find ideas in this blog.

Ofsted tell us they are going to robustly inspect IMPACT and look closely at how the EYPP funding is used to make a difference to the most disadvantaged children – a worthy aim! However, providers know it can be difficult to show a child’s rapid, sustained progress over just 15 hours a week… plus, let’s not forget that deciding how best to creatively invest the money, planning structured interventions, closely monitoring children’s progress and evidencing impact for Ofsted are time-consuming and can take providers away from the very children for whom they are trying to care. Early Years Pupil Premium - Sarah Neville

In his keynote speech to the Kent Early Years and Inclusion conference, Julian Grenier spoke passionately about focussing on children’s progress from their starting points while reminding us that we must ‘never define a child as a level’. We must look at each child – their individual needs and interests and the ways in which they need extra support. We know that literacy, maths, life skills and the prime areas of learning identified by the Early Years Foundation Stage are always going to be a focus for Ofsted inspectors – but we must first ask ‘what does this child need from us?’

We all want to do our very best for every child. We are not working in the early years for the high wages and extra benefits after all! Share your desire to make a difference for every child with your staff team (if relevant) and speak confidently and passionately during inspection about the changes you have made as a result of receiving the EYPP funding and how they positively impact on outcomes for the children.

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