The consultation, which seeks the views of the early years sector, local authorities and parents, makes a number of recommendations to early years providers and schools about how they could use the new EYPP to better support disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds.
More than 170,000 three- and four-year-olds are set to benefit from the £50m Pupil Premium from April 2015.
The aim of the EYPP is to close the gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers by providing funding to early years providers to help them raise the quality of their provision.
Nurseries, schools and other early years providers, including childminders, will receive an additional £300 per year for each eligible child (see box) who takes up the full 570 hours. This equates to an hourly rate of 53p per child per hour.
While schools and early years settings will have the freedom to choose how they spend the money to best support disadvantaged children in their care, the Department for Education places emphasis on employing more graduate staff.
The document states that providers will be encouraged to use their EYPP funding to contribute towards 'reconfiguring' their nursery to be teacher-led.
It goes on to suggest providers pool their funding and gives the example that a group of small providers could put their money together to contribute to the cost of a shared Early Years Teacher to work across settings.
Pooling money would be particularly effective for childminder agencies, it says. For schools, it suggests pooling the EYPP and Pupil Premium funding.
The document states that for EYPP to have the biggest impact, schools and providers need to have access to high-quality information about how best to support children. This, it says, could be purchased from teaching schools alliances.
There are 100 teaching schools with registered nursery provision, and more than 1,000 schools with nursery provision that are linked to teaching school alliances.
Measuring the impact of the Early Years Pupil Premium
Ofsted will consider how well schools and providers use the EYPP to raise the attainment of disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds, and include a statement on the strategies used within its inspection report under the Leadership and Management judgement.
From 2016, the early years and school censuses will collect information on the numbers of children receiving the EYPP at each school and setting, whether they are high-quality providers and if there are degree-level staff. The data will be published and added to the Early Years Benchmarking Tool.
Providers are asked for their suggestions of other ways to judge whether the EYPP is having the desired impact, and for examples of good practice in supporting disadvantaged children.
The consultation also seeks views about introducing Unique Pupil Numbers in the future, which could be used to track children from early years and through their 'educational career'.
While early years organisations have welcomed the Government's consultation on the introduction of the EYPP, many have expressed concern that the funding per pupil is far less than that of the Pupil Premium in primary schools.
Beatrice Merrick, chief executive of Early Education, said, 'Although the EYPP is far below the level of the existing Pupil Premium, it is an important first step towards targeted support for the most disadvantaged children, and recognises that to close the gap we must invest more systematically in raising the quality of the workforce in the setting they attend.
'However, the EYPP will not make up for the under-funding of early years provision such as the reduction in children's centre services and cuts to local authority early years teams.
'These systems of support for families and practitioners are vital, and funded early education places alone cannot be expected to address the multiple causes of disadvantage.
'In a situation where many early years practitioners are paid the minimum wage, the aspiration to move to a teacher-led workforce is laudable, but unrealistic without a serious increase in funding.'
WHICH THREE- AND FOUR-YEAR-OLDS WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE EARLY YEARS PUPIL PREMIUM?
A child will be eligible for the EYPP if they:
- are in a low-income family and their parents are in receipt of one or more benefits, such as Income Support and Child Tax Credit;
- have been adopted from care;
- have been looked after by the local authority for at least one day;
- have left care through special guardianship;
- are subject to a child arrangement order.
The Consultation, 'Early Years Pupil Premium and Funding for Two-Year-Olds' is published at www.gov.uk. It closes 22 August.