It is very important that strong key person relationships are in place throughout a child’s time in an early years provision. In many Local Authorities, parents need to check to see if their child is eligible for EYPP and complete a form to apply for the funding. In others the provider is allowed to claim on behalf of the parent / child – you should check the rules in your LA. In some instances, early years providers might need to support parents if they are refused access to EYPP – you should speak to your LA for advice if you have a family who are affected.
When money has been received for the child, a meeting should be called with parents to discuss how it is going to be spent. The child’s tracking across the prime areas of learning might give strong indications to the setting about how they want to spend the money – but parents views should also be considered. You might, for example, send out a questionnaire to the parent or ask them to attend a meeting to discuss how the money will be allocated. This conversation should be documented and will be used as part of the evidence shown to Ofsted relating to the strength of parent partnerships and the way EYPP has been effectively targeted to support the individual child.
The Early Years Inspection handbook states that Ofsted inspectors will track children who receive EYPP as part of the early years inspection and comment on how the EYPP has been spent and whether it can be clearly shown to have been effective in raising outcomes for the child/ren and helping prepare them for starting school. Transition to school at age 4 is a big focus of how EYPP is being spent.
Spending the money
EYPP can be spent in many different ways. For example, a nursery might decide to buy some new ‘getting ready for school’ role play resources for the eligible child to support their school transition – a childminder might attend training to support their own skills and knowledge and then purchase specific resources to enhance the child’s learning – a pre-school might decide to pay for a taxi or bus fare to help ensure the child attends regularly and makes the most of their funded sessions or contribute towards a uniform to give the child a sense of belonging in the setting.
Cohort tracking can be used to identify areas where the setting needs to improve provision. For example, if a cohort of funded 3 year olds are tracked and it is noted that a high percentage of the children are struggling with their gross motor skills development, an outside company might be brought in to run a weekly movement session; similarly, if the tracking shows that a high percentage of children are falling behind with their maths or literacy, a practitioner might attend a course on how to raise outcomes for children in these important areas of provision.
EYPP is not for a specific purpose – it can be used creatively by early years providers to help narrow the gap for the individual child, for example –
- Staff in the setting might consider what the disadvantaged child does not have at home (that other children have) such as access to an outside area or toys and games and then show how they aim to enhance the child’s learning by providing daily outside play access to enhance physical or maths skills or putting together ‘learning at home’ resources for parents to borrow;
- Parents might suggest that the money is used to provide their child with a healthy breakfast because they do not have time to eat at home in the morning;
- Children might suggest the money is spent on a setting pet, ICT equipment because they don’t have any at home or a regular activity they feel would support their learning.
Other ways EYPP could be spent to support the child preparing for school include –
- Paying for extra staff hours to cover for staff accompanying children on visits to school
- Book bags which children take home with their parents to get them into the habit of reading at home with their family early in life
- Teddies dressed in the new school uniform so children can practice taking it off and putting it on again and become more relaxed about wearing a uniform when they start school
- Makaton training and a set of symbols to support a child who needs support with their communication and language
- Song and dance sessions for the children to support their learning about music and movement (focus on enhancing physical development, expressive art and design)
- Paying for a staff member to attend a school meeting with a parent who needs extra support eg a translator or reassurance that a mainstream school is the right next step for their child who has autism
- Staff training in maths – an area of focus in Ofsted inspections and an area of learning in which outcomes for children are often recorded as lower that the ‘typical behaviour’ suggested in Early Years Outcomes
- Paying for extra sessions including lunch club to allow a child to get used to a full day at pre-school / nursery before they start school
- Implementing a home visit programme to better engage parents before a child starts in the provision and to help them complete EYPP application forms (if required)
- Purchasing contents for story sacks which can be loaned to parents who can use them with their child over the weekend. This type of resource will encourage families to take part in home learning with their child
- Duplicate copies of children’s favourite reading books which they can take with them into reception
- A photo album showing the reception classroom to reassure children that the changes won’t be huge when they move up to big school
- Resources to support a child’s schema or learning style
- A tablet and age-appropriate maths or literacy software for the supervised use of a child who does not have access to ICT equipment at home
- Communication and language resources to support a group of children
- Transition packs for children including information about reception, a book about starting school, a voucher towards uniform purchase for parents etc.
It is important that practitioners are accurate when recording the progress children are making, correctly recording their baselines assessment and observing new things they are doing and saying. Staff must also be objective about how they are supporting children to make progress – sometimes they might need to plan more adult-led interventions, work more closely with parents, make more suggestions of things children can do with parents at home or attend training to enhance their own knowledge on, for example, supporting children’s behaviour or schemas in children’s play etc.
Of course, all the children in the setting / room might benefit from many of the interventions purchased by the EYPP funding – while EYPP is provided for an individual child, a childminder (for example) would not take that child away from the group or say resources were only for the child – they will be shared and all children’s learning will be enhanced as a result.
It is important that providers and parents work closely together to measure the impact of how the EYPP has been spent, closely tracking the eligible child’s learning and / or development to make sure they are making rapid progress and narrowing the gap between the most and least advantaged children and from where the individual child was tracked when they first started in the provision (parents starting points and practitioner baseline assessment).
In conclusion the aim of EYPP is to close the attainment gap – if resources or equipment have been purchased the provider must be able to show the process they went through (involving staff if appropriate) to determine how the money would be spent. They must then show, using the child’s starting points / baseline assessment and current tracking, that the child has made rapid progress towards school readiness. It is important that providers include information about how they have used EYPP to raise outcomes for children on their Self Evaluation Forms (or the Ofsted SEF) as well as having data to show Ofsted during inspection – use of EYPP and how it impacts on narrowing the gap in children’s learning is a contributory factor towards the overall leadership and management grade awarded to settings and childminders during the new-style Ofsted inspections.
You can find more information about EYPP by using a Google search. There is a toolkit from here.
There is a guide for Local Authorities here.
This is a useful presentation from Julian Grenier - here.
Early Education have published some guidance here.