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Published by Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd

Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are being invited to play their part in an exciting new independent research programme for the Early Years sector.

Ceeda, the Early Years research agency, is recruiting and refreshing on a cyclical basis a representative panel of 3,000 private voluntary and independent non-domestic settings and 1,000 childminders to collate an up-to-date and in-depth picture of the sector.

Informed by this advisory group, and sponsored by organisations with a passion for Early Years education, the About Early Years research will collect large-scale data three times a year, year-on-year.

The aim is to provide the evidence base the sector needs to shape its own future, following concern among Early Years organisations and settings that research commissioned by the Department for Education to inform policy lacks in-depth analysis and up-to-date information.

Many major policy developments - including the 30-hour childcare offer and changes to qualification requirements - involve major public investment to research, have been introduced on the basis of limited, and often out-dated, evidence with no long-term strategy to monitor impact on market, capacity, quality and sustainability.

Ceeda is not only an independent organisation, but well-respected in the sector, so perfectly placed to spearhead the research which will collect key information on four core themes:

Drivers of demand - birth rates, employment patterns, economic trends and what they mean for childcare settings.

Sector capacity and quality - up-to-date information on places, occupancy and quality to help target investment and support the life chances of all children.

Early years workforce - timely information on staff recruitment, retention and workforce development priorities to better understand entrenched workforce challenges and support all early years professionals in achieving their full potential.

Market value and sustainability - up-to-date assessments of business performance and delivery costs, taking account of wage inflation, business rate revaluation, auto-enrolment and other cost pressures.

Research fieldwork will start next month.

The panel of 4,000 Early Years contributors will be surveyed in spring, summer and autumn and the data provided will contribute to three research bulletins a year, culminating in an annual State of the Early Years Sector report.

The report will be available free to everyone with an interest in Early Years.

Those contributing to the research will also receive analysis tailored to their setting to help with business planning.

The Pre-school Learning Alliance is taking a lead role as founding sponsor of About Early Years and, as a leading voice for the sector, will ensure the intelligence gathered is used to inform national policy direction.

London Early Years Foundation will also play a key strategic role as sponsor of the Quality and Capacity theme and other supporters include the Childbase Partnership, Connect Childcare and NEyTCO.

There's no doubt Ceeda's research programme will prove to be of huge benefit to the Early Years sector, providing a vital, up-to-date, intelligence base from which to inform and influence policy.

  • Ceeda is inviting leading organisations with a passion for supporting quality and sustainability in Early Years to support the project. For information about sponsorship opportunities visit www.ceeda.co.uk