£180 million to improve children’s development in the early years.

Thousands of early years professionals will benefit from investment to drive quality and training and to better support the next generation of children.

Evidence shows that access to early education is crucial in supporting children to thrive in adulthood and contribute to society. The Education Endowment Fund has also shown that improving young children’s pre-school language skills could boost the economy by up to £1.2 billion over the course of their lifetimes.

Up to £180 million of Government funding will support children’s development in their earliest of years and help to address existing recruitment and retention challenges. It follows commitments by the Government to improve parents’ access to affordable and flexible childcare through reforms.

The package of support, which will benefit every region in England, includes:

  • early maths, language and social development training for 10,000 professionals through the third phase of the Professional Development Programme.
  • the national rollout of the Expert and Mentors programme to provide bespoke leadership support to 7,500 early years settings and childminders. Around 200 settings across the North of England, Lancashire and Yorkshire received support through a pilot of this programme this Spring.
  • graduate-level specialist training.
  • support for nearly 6,000 early years professionals to achieve the National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL).
  • training for up to 5,000 Special Educational Needs Coordinators.
  • a new universal online child development training offer to help staff improve their knowledge and understanding of how pre-school children develop.

The Department for Education, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, has also launched a new ‘Better Health – Start for Life’ campaign. The campaign provides parents of children aged zero to four with practical advice and tips to help them develop their child’s language and literacy skills before starting school. Funding from the £180 million announced will also support parents to gain additional advice through new Family Hubs expected to open in the first half of 2023.