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UNICEF UK responds to new ONS figures released today on children’s development

The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) responds to new figures released today (Thursday 24 November 22) from the UK Government’s Office of National Statistics on children’s development at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Claire O’Meara, Head of UK Policy at The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) said:

“This data clearly shows the devastating impact of the pandemic on our youngest children and their futures. 

“More than 1 in 3 children* – 11 children in every class in England – are starting school behind in their ability to speak, listen, make friends, and learn. These children are much less likely to catch up later on, putting them at a life-long disadvantage before they can even tie their own shoelaces. 

“Increased pressure and under-investment in services means that families across the UK are still not getting the vital support they need. Experiences in the first few years of life dramatically shape children’s life chances – how long and healthy their life will be, whether they will make friends or succeed in school, even how much money they will earn.   

“The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK)’s Early Moments Matter campaign is calling on the UK Government to deliver a ‘National Baby and Toddler Guarantee’ to ensure every child and family can access the support they need, when they need it. Whoever they are and wherever they are born.”

Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact UNICEF UK media team at media@unicef.org.uk

*These statistics report on teacher assessments of children’s development at the end of the early years foundation stage (EYFS), specifically the end of the academic year in which a child turns 5 years old. This is the first release since the publication of the 2018/19 statistics, as the 2019/20 and 2020/21 data collections were cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The statistics were released at 9.30am on 24 November 2022. The underlying data can be found here – https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/early-years-foundation-stage-profile-results/2021-22 


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters.

Original article link: https://www.unicef.org.uk/press-releases/unicef-uk-responds-to-new-ons-figures-released-today-on-childrens-development/

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