Sutton Trust highlights parental concerns owing to pandemic 

New research from the Sutton Trust has been released detailing parents’ concerns about their children as a result of the pandemic.

The new polling shows that over two-thirds of pre-school parents say not being able to play with other children has negatively impacted their child.

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Other findings from the research includes: 
  • 56% of parents are worried about the impact on their child’s overall development or wellbeing during the pandemic
  • One in five (20%) of surveyed parents of 2-4 year olds feel that their child’s physical development had been impacted negatively during the pandemic – 25% feel similarly about their language development
  • 52% of parents fee that the pandemic has impacted negatively on their child’s social and emotional development.

The Sutton Trust has made it clear that the development and wellbeing of pre-school children must be at the heart of education recovery, they also made the following recommendations in regards to early years - 

  • Eligibility for funded early education for three and four year olds should be increased beyond 15 hours, with a focus on those from less well-off homes. 
  • An increase in the Early Years Pupil Premium to the levels of primary schools 
  • Funding for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of the early years workforce should form part of a new funding settlement so small early years settings and those in less affluent areas can survive and deliver high quality provision. 

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “Today’s parental survey backs up what nurseries are telling us, that young children’s development, especially their social and communication skills, have suffered as a result of the pandemic. This is why we need to focus educational recovery starting with the youngest children in early years.

“Learning and development starts in a child’s first few weeks and months, therefore education recovery plans must start by looking at supporting our youngest children. They have missed out on time with their wider families, with children of their same age group and lost time in formal early education settings. 

“We know that access to high quality early years education is the single biggest factor in reducing the attainment and inequality gap and gives all children best start in life. So the proposal to widen eligibility for funded places to more families could help address lost time in settings. However, the funding rates have to cover providers’ costs if this is to happen and be sustainable. If not, settings will close and there won’t be enough places for all the children who need them.

“Money spent on early education pays dividends in the long run. But the Government must act fast if we are to avoid a lost generation of young learners.” 

The Sutton Trust has also launched project on the early years with the Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust, looking in-depth at the 30 hours childcare offer. It will investigate the feasibility and potential impact of extending eligibility for the ‘30 hours’ funded early education entitlement for children aged three and four, currently targeted at working parents, to the detriment of more disadvantaged children.

Read the full press release here