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“Hugely disappointing” Children in Need review concludes

By Rachel Lawler
 
child playing early years
The government’s Children in Need review has been criticised as “hugely disappointing” after it failed to make any significant reference to the early years.
 
The review looks at the support given to children in need of help in a bid to understand why they have poorer educational outcomes than their more advantaged peers.
 
Poorer outcomes
It found that around 1 in 10 children will need a social worker at some point, equivalent to 1.6 million children between 2012 and 2013. These children were found to have “poorer educational outcomes” at every stage of their education than those who do need a social worker.
 
Children who have needed a social worker are almost 50% less likely to pass their English and maths GCSEs and by age 21, around half of them will not have achieved any level 2 qualifications.
 
The review was concluded after more than 600 schools and social care practitioners submitted evidence and the Early Intervention Foundation conducted a literature review.
 
“Disappointing”
But Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said the review was “hugely disappointing” due to its lack of emphasis on the early years in its recommendations.
 
He said: “The report makes clear the importance of the early years in the future health, wellbeing and job prospects of children in need – but it never goes beyond that recognition.”
 
He added: “If the government is serious about transforming the lives of some of our most vulnerable children then it needs to change its entire approach to the early years.
 
“This is not just about investment – though proper funding is sorely needed – it’s about acting on the evidence that the early years is the key part of the puzzle when it comes to giving every child the best start in life.”
 
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