Robert Smith, Caroline Sharp, Jo Morrison
26 October 2018
Welsh Government commissioned NFER to evaluate the Early Years Pupil Deprivation Grant (EYPDG). This grant was introduced in 2015/16 to improve outcomes for learners from low income families receiving Foundation Phase early years education for ten hours or more per week in an approved setting.
We conducted an online survey of settings, interviewed policy leads in Regional Education Consortia/local authorities, and conducted case-study interviews in 20 settings.
- Almost all settings correctly understood the EYPDG’s aims and used it as recommended by Welsh Government guidance.
- Most settings had used Welsh Government guidance on how to use the EYPDG alongside other sources of information.
- Settings valued the funding because they could decide how to use it.
- The EYPDG enabled settings to begin supporting disadvantaged children earlier.
- The training on the EYPDG had reinforced staff awareness of the need to support children from low income families to fulfil their potential and helped them to deliver effective strategies in response to their needs.
- In some cases the work strengthened transition from early years provision into the school system.
- The main drawback of the EYPDG was that its value (£300 at the time of the research) was too small, especially for settings with low numbers of eligible children.
- A few settings said that the uncertainty about the future existence and level of their EYPDG allocations limited their ability to plan ahead.
- Some LAs had not distributed the EYPDG directly to non-settings: some practitioners would have preferred them to have done so.