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Towards universal early years provision: analysis of take-up by disadvantaged families from recent annual childcare surveys

By Svetlana Speight, Ruth Smith, Cathy Coshall and Eva Lloyd

Abstract

Our analysis revealed large differences in the take-up of early years provision by children from different backgrounds, with those from disadvantaged families being much less likely to access early years provision than those from families in better circumstances. What were the main barriers to accessing early years provision experienced by disadvantaged families?\ud The findings of this study suggest that lack of awareness of the entitlement to free early years provision and a low level of information about local options for nursery education and childcare were important factors affecting take-up of early years provision by disadvantaged families. In addition, the way the entitlement to free early years provision is delivered through a range of providers appeared to have an impact on its uptake by the disadvantaged families. Parents from disadvantaged families were more likely to mention lack of availability of places at local providers and other constraining factors than those from families in better circumstances. There is some evidence to suggest that some types of providers (e.g. nursery classes attached to schools) might be more easily accessible by disadvantaged families than others (e.g. day nurseries), which means that there may be fewer options open to disadvantaged families with regard to where to take-up the entitlement to free early years provision than to families experiencing no or little disadvantage

Publisher: Department for Education
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:roar.uel.ac.uk:1779

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