Editor's view - Take five?

Monday, September 5, 2016

In this issue of Nursery World, we report on the Government's review of health visiting practice, which many of our readers may be unaware is happening.

It might seem that this is somewhat outside the early years remit, coming from the Department of Health and focusing on the role of health visitors.

However, if the review leads to the end of the requirement for health visitors to see children five times before they are 30 months old, there could be significant implications for early years professionals.

First, if mandatory checks are abolished or cut back, it will be harder for delays or problems with young children's development to be picked up, especially for those not attending early years settings. This could mean an increase in children needing support when they do start in childcare and early years education.

Second, the already bumpy progress of the Integrated Review, combining health and early education checks, would be further hampered.

Finally, cutting the role of health visitors could put more pressure on early years staff to carry out checks and identify problems, possibly in areas that they have not had proper training for.

Five checks during a young child's first years are not a lot given the invaluable service provided to families. The early years sector, too, would feel the strain.

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