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Parents to get complete picture of child’s development

Over £2 million to support joined-up checks on education and health development under new childcare reforms.

Parents will have a better picture of their child’s progress at age 2 thanks to reforms including a move to bring together health and education reviews for the first time.

The government yesterday (10 March 2015) announced funding of £2.2 million for local authorities to implement their ‘integrated review’, bringing together assessments given by the Department for Education and the Department of Health.

Currently, health and early years reviews of young children are carried out separately. By integrating them, parents will get a more complete picture of their child, drawing on the expertise of health visitors and early years practitioners.

It has also been announced yesterday that reviews will also be available for 2-year-olds not in settings for the first time thanks to pilots exploring how they can be offered to all children. It is hoped the pilots will find a way to reach around 275,000 children who are not in early education settings.

The final part of yesterday’s package helping parents review their children’s progress is a guide for parents on development during the first 5 years. Parents will be able to check their children’s physical, social and language development against these milestones and learn how best to support them in their development thanks to the ‘What to expect when’ handbook produced by the Department for Education and 4Children.

Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah said yesterday:

No parent should be left in the dark about their child’s development.

There should be an accessible check for all at the age of 2, which is a pressure point where issues such as speech delay and behavioural problems begin to appear.

Today’s announcement will mean more families can get valuable information in a more convenient way

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:

We know it’s important to check children’s health and development when they are 2, so that if extra support is needed it can be identified early.

Integrated reviews and the huge increase in health visitors will lead to better outcomes for children and families.

The integrated review, which will be implemented nationally from September, will be available to children between 24 and 30 months old.

It will bring together the assessments given to 2-year-olds through the Department of Health’s Healthy Child Programme and the Department for Education’s early years progress check.

Health and early years professionals will share information and may carry out the reviews together – giving parents a better picture of their child’s progress and reducing duplication.

The joined-up approach was trialled for 2 years in 10 local authorities and the new approach received strongly positive feedback from parents.

Notes to editors

  1. The pilot areas that will trial reviews for children not in education settings have not yet been announced.
  2. Go to the Foundation Years website to read the ‘What to expect when’ guide.
  3. Integrated reviews will mean bringing together the Healthy Child Programme review at 2 to 2-and-a-half years old and the Early Years progress check at age 2 years. The integrated review pilot phase ran for 2 years between 2012 and 2013 in 10 locations.
  4. The 2012 to 2013 Parents Survey estimated that 48% of 2-year-olds are not in formal childcare. Since the 2-year-old entitlement has been rolled out the percentage is estimated at 40%. Given that there are around 687,500 2-year-olds in England, it is estimated that around 275,000 are not in an early education setting.
  5. Read the ‘Integrated review at age 2: implementation study’ report.
  6. The National Children’s Bureau has published 2 further documents which will help local areas prepare for implementation of the integrated review by September 2015.
  7. The Early Intervention Foundation has published the ‘Getting it right for families: review of integrated systems and promising practice in early years’ which has been welcomed by government.
  8. Read the Department of Health ‘Healthy Child Programme: the 2 year review’.
  9. Read the Foundation Years Organisation’s ‘Progress matters: reviewing and enhancing young children’s development’.

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