Nursery Equipment: Early Years Pupil Premium - Bridging the gap

Three settings tell Nicole Weinstein how they have been putting the Early Years Pupil Premium to good use

Nurseries, schools and childminders have been receiving the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) since 2015, and while many are using it wisely to invest in resources that support targeted children, one in five still hasn’t applied for it, according to the recent Department for Education providers survey.

Settings currently receive up to £300 per year for each eligible three- and four-year-old. The survey found that nurseries and school-based providers commonly used the funding to pay for literacy and numeracy resources, for existing staff to provide more targeted support for children in receipt of the EYPP, to support staff development and purchase outdoor resources.

Childminders reported purchasing a wide range of resources, including toys, specialist clothing and equipment, such as roller blades and ballerina shoes, and educational books and flashcards. There were also instances of childminders purchasing resources for the child to have in their home.

Support was also focused on the areas of early Communication and Language, followed by Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED).

Early Education received DfE funding for a project in 2015-16 to support and evaluate strategies for implementing the EYPP. Chief executive Beatrice Merrick says, ‘As far as we know, EYPP will be in place for the next few years as part of the national funding formula, so it’s worth getting systems in place and thinking strategically and long-term about the funding. It may only be a small pot each year, but settings could use it, for example, to make sure they have a coherent CPD system to track children’s progress and identify areas of need. It’s also worth thinking creatively and linking up with others locally to make the maximum use of the funding.’


Childminder Ann Ross uses her EYPP to buy resources for a four-year-old boy who is developmentally delayed.

She says, ‘He came to me on the two-year-old funding after his two-year-old check with the health visitor revealed delayed development. At the age of 32 months, he still had no speech and he was in poor health with constant colds. Within a week, I realised that he couldn’t hear and strongly suspected that he had a nasal infection. It turned out that he had a piece of natural sea sponge rotting inside his sinus cavity, and after an operation to remove it, he was immediately speaking and could hear again.

‘He’s coming on in leaps and bounds – his social skills are improving, he’s able to concentrate for longer periods of time, his fine motor skills are getting more controlled, and he’s happier. But he’s still developmentally behind for his age and his mum has deferred his school place for a year.

‘When he first came to me, I did a few home visits and I noticed that there were no books or educational resources for him to play with. He lives in a deprived area and is from a single-parent family. As he got older, I could see that the good work we were doing at the childminding setting was not being carried on at home.

‘So I decided to use the EYPP funding to buy resources for him to use at home. His interests are around dinosaurs, trains and superheroes, so I bought books about colours, shapes and number that link into these areas. I had flash cards made for him on eBay with superhero characters from Marvel Avengers – with colours, numbers and letters – that he immediately wanted to look at and play with.

‘He still struggles with colours, so I bought a tub of small vehicle counters, which are great for sorting colours. I also bought him an easel with magnetic wooden letters and a whiteboard for mark-making. He enjoys creative activities so I’ve bought lots of craft items – feathers, glue, paper plates, glitter and lollipop sticks. I also took him and another child to see a local production of Stick Man, which was an experience that he wouldn’t have had without the funding.

‘Each week I do homework packs for the children with fun resources around numbers and the alphabet. I include little wooden numbers and letters, kids-safe scissors, pens, pencils and crayons, a book to read – and his is the only one that doesn’t come back.

‘But he’s noticeably made progress as a result of the support. His mum has also found it hugely beneficial.

‘I’ve also used EYPP funding for some resources in the setting. I bought a simple mud kitchen which packs into a crate and lots of natural resources to use with it outdoors. I’ve also bought steering wheels, which have been great for role play for all children.

‘I’ve accessed online training around schemas with Kathy Brodie and I’ve just booked onto Laura Henry’s course about regulating behaviour. I’ve found Kent County Council’s DVD and book, Threads of Success, a great resource for parents to understand more about their children’s schemas, and I loan this out regularly.

‘The most difficult thing with the EYPP funding is that you receive the money in arrears, and so the next payment is in June and the little boy is leaving in July. So I try to be inventive with how I plan and spend it.’

Recommended resources

Professional resources

  • Laura Henry’s course, Helping Children to self-regulate their behaviour,
  • Kathy Brodie’s online courses,
  • Threads of Success, Kent County Council,

Outdoor play

Pack of 50 Natural Bamboo Circles, £4.99; Circular Branch Offcuts, pack of 50, £3.99; Star Anise, £3.99 per pack; Natural Willow Branches,pack of 30,£3.99 – all from

Mobile Mud Kitchen in a Crate, £49.49; Uber Value Steering Wheels, £19.99; Ship Steering Wheel Jumbo, £9.99; Coconut Scoop Bowls, 10pack,£7.25; Wooden Emotion Spoons, 7 pack, £5.99; Nature Number Strip, £13.49; Nature’s Alphabet Strip Lowercase, £16.95 – all from

Puzzles and games

bananaMy First Bananagrams, £19.99; Humpty Dumpty’s Wall Game, £14.99; Trucky 3, £9.99 – all from

Maped Kidi Cut Children’s Right Handed Safety Scissors, £2.69 –

Transport Counters, £9.99 –

Alphabet & Numbers – Marvel Avengers and others, £4.65 –



eypp2When considering the type of resources or equipment that is needed to support learning and development, staff at Acorn Childcare look at the needs of the individual child. Acorn at Jubilee Wood, near Milton Keynes, one in a chain of ten nurseries, is situated in an area of high deprivation, and one of the main areas of expenditure is supporting children’s language, either because a delay has been recognised or English is an additional language.

Early years manager Laura Andrews says, ‘Due to language being identified as a high need among the eight children who receive EYPP, we focused on building and buying resources to support early language skills and create developmentally, supportive and stimulating environments in which children can experiment with learning language.

‘Resources such as story sacks, puppets and a range of books that focus on simple words and sentence structure, rhyme and different languages have been purchased to support children to gain interest in language and begin to experiment with sounds through storytelling, rhyme-telling and singing. Some of the money was used to gain additional training from local speech and language therapists.

‘Practitioners designed courses around pronunciation of letters and sounds and encouraged children to take part in activities such as blowing whistles to help them with the formation of the mouth. Resources such as story sacks and puppets have had a positive impact on children’s confidence when speaking to their peers, family and practitioners.

‘The resources purchased to support language development also support other areas of learning and development. For example, using puppets supports confidence, well-being and imaginative play. Displaying fiction and non-fiction books also supports children to retrieve information about their area of interest and to be imaginative and understand the world in which they live.

‘We measure the impact of the resources by assessing the progression of individual children through English as an Additional Language (EAL) and EYPP cohort tracking. Assessments are completed on a termly basis, which allows us to see the progression made by each child term on term. We also use the Every Child a Talker (ECAT) audit tool to assess children’s language on a more in-depth basis to identify specific language needs.

‘Through the robust key person systems that are in place, practitioners have a very good understanding and knowledge of their key children. They are familiar with individual interests and how their children best learn and develop, which supports them to bridge any gaps in their learning. Our assessments for children accessing the EYPP show that they have made good progress in their language development and are continuing to do so.’

Recommended resources

Clickety Books,

Role Play Wildlife Puppet Set, 5 pieces, £27.95,

Role Play Zoo Animals Puppet Set, 4 pieces, £17.99,

ECAT guidance for practitioners,



Children in receipt of EYPP funding and those with attachment needs at Alfreton Nursery School in Derbyshire attend the Maslow Group intervention programme devised by Amanda Hubball, specialist leader of education.

She says, ‘This group is designed to support children’s social and emotional well-being, based on the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, whereby all children have a right to have their basic needs catered for. All staff track, observe and assess children’s emotional well-being using the Ferre Laevers monitoring tool. We currently have 14 children eligible for EYPP, and this group has proven to be a great tool for strengthening links to home learning.

‘During the hour-long weekly session, which takes place in the morning and afternoon, there is a big teddy bear, called Mummy Maslow, and the children look after its cubs, feeding them, keeping them warm and attending to their basic needs.

‘As a Unicef Rights Respecting School, we have integrated the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into our daily practice and provision. We talk about needs for the bear cubs – the need for caring and gentle touch; hugs and cuddles and appropriate touch; food and drink; shelter; family to care for us and a sense of belonging.

alfreton1‘We have extended the learning to the home environment by creating four suitcases the children can take home with them to share with parents who are struggling with routines such as bedtimes and healthy eating. The four hard-back suitcases – the Cuddle Case, the Healthy Eating Case, the Home Case and the Bedtime Case – each contain a teddy bear, a blanket, a cushion and various resources and books (see below).

alfreton2‘Elsewhere, EYPP money is used to enable our vulnerable learners to be motivated and creative in their curriculum access. We feel that this is best achieved by ensuring and understanding their emotional well-being before all else.

‘Funding has been used to fund my attendance at a two-day Trauma Awareness Conference, which informed the practice in the Maslow Group and enabled me to train the entire staff team.’

Resources inside the cases

Bedtime Case

A Maslow teddy bear – this can be any teddy bear

A blanket and a pillow

Information for parents on sleep patterns and what to do if children have nightmares

Where the Fairies Fly by Jane Simmons (Orchard Books)

A love crystal

Sparkly magic powder to make the monsters disappear

A dream catcher

Cuddle casesmall

Teddy bear, blanket and pillow

All Kinds of Feelings by Emma Brownjohn (Tango Books) and Small by Clara Vulliamy (Harper Collins Children’s Books)

Maslow’s triangle for parents to understand what the hierarchy of basic needs is

Homemade laminated images of loving, caring families that could be represented in Britain. For example, a dad hugging a daughter; a black family cuddling; two mums hugging a son or daughter; a disabled child having a cuddle.


1st Steps with Numicon in the Nursery Kit, £119.50,

Early Literacy Progress Pack, £155.99,

Giant Hollow Blocks, 26pack, £399; Deconstructed Role Play Set, £185.99; Cosy Complete Role Play Kit, £195.95 – all from

Ultra Bright LED Light Panel A2, £143; Light Box Resources Set, £74.99; Squidgy Sparkle Shapes, £17.99 – all from

Progress Packs: Early Literacy, Early Maths, Early Language, Listening, Early Handwriting, Early Phonics and Engaging Boys – all from

going-homeGoing Home Bags–Collection 3, £235, from, includes nursery rhymes, songs and well-known stories and popular characters


DfE Pupil Premium Survey,

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