New toolkit to support early learning for children in poverty

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Save the Children has developed a new toolkit to provide a guide for improving the early learning outcomes of children growing up in poverty.

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In partnership with sector professionals, the charity has released the Early Learning Communities Toolkit under a Creative Commons license to provide full access to communities across the UK to use and share knowledge and creativity.

The toolkit is underpinned by an accompanying Evidence Review, which summarises the best available information about what matters, what works and what’s needed for improving early learning outcomes.

Save the Children says the Early Learning Communities Toolkit provides a step by step process to working together to improve the early learning outcomes of children living in poverty.

In this context, children in poverty are those who have claimed eligibility for free school meals through a qualifying benefit such as income support or universal credit.

Available to download for free, the resource aims to support partnerships in communities to develop and implement a collaborative strategy.

Paul Perkins, head of Local Systems Change at Save the Children said, ‘We’re very excited to be using this comprehensive approach to improve the lives of children in each of our Early Learning Communities.

‘By providing the documents under a Creative Commons license we hope to reach many more children and communities across the UK boosting children’s learning outcomes and narrowing the attainment gap, and to learn from others’ use of them.

‘By combining lived experience with professionals’ expertise and the comprehensive evidence we believe this toolkit can provide an excellent approach to catalysing change and supporting communities to transform their children’s futures.’

It aims to support communities by combining academic research, expertise from local practitioners and the experiences of local people in order to develop a bespoke plan designed for a specific locality.

Ian Read, headteacher at Watercliffe Meadow Community Primary School,said, ‘As a founding partner of the Early Learning Community project we are already seeing results. 

'Working together in partnership with Save the Children, Sheffield Local Authority, South Yorkshire Futures, Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and local families we are developing a local strategy and moving ahead with opening a dedicated Early Years Hub in the community – becoming a centre of excellence bringing benefits to our school community and the rest of the city.’

Tim Hobbs, chief executive of Dartington Service Design Lab said, ‘This toolkit provides one of the first accessible guides to early years systems change in the UK. The approach enables communities to access an extensive bank of evidence and the tools to apply this to their own specific contexts.’

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