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The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education [EPPE] project: a longitudinal study funded by the DfEE (1997-2003)

The EPPE Symposium presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 13-15 September 2001

Convenor

Brenda Taggart

Presentations

Presenter

Paper One An Introduction to EPPE and its Methodology

Professors Kathy Sylva

Paper Two First multi-level results on pre-school effects at school entry

Professor Pam Sammons and Karen Elliot

Paper Three Intensive study of selected centres)

Professor Iram Siraj- Blatchford

Paper Four The EPPNI Project

Professor Edward Melhuish and Louise Quinn

Discussant

Professor Angela Anning

The EPPE Research Team

Principal Investigators:

Professor Kathy Sylva
Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford
00 44 (0)1865 274 008 / email kathy.sylva@edstud.ox.ac.uk

Professor Edward Melhuish
Institute for the Study of Children, Family and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London
00 44 (0) 20 7436 2740 / email e.melhuish@bbk.ac.uk

Professor Pam Sammons
Institute of Education, University of London
00 44 (0)20 7612 6323 / email p.sammons@ioe.ac.uk

Professor Iram Siraj-Blatchford
Institute of Education, University of London
00 44 (0)20 7612 6218 / email i.siraj-blatchford@ioe.ac.uk

Research Co-ordinator:

Brenda Taggart
Institute of Education, University of London
00 44 (0)20 7612 6219 / email b.taggart@ioe.ac.uk

Effective Pre-School Provision in Northern Ireland (EPPNI) Research Co-ordinator:

Louise Quinn
Stranmillis University College, Queens University, Belfast
00 44 (0) 1232 384 353 / email l.quinn@stran-ni.ac.uk

 

EPPE Project Address:

EPPE Project, Room 416, Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
Tel: +44 (0)207 612 6219
Fax: +44 (0)207 612 6230
Email: b.taggart@ioe.ac.uk
Or visit our website on http://www.ioe.ac.uk/cdl/eppe/

 

Contents

Paper One - An Introduction to EPPE and its Methodology (p1)

Paper Two - First multi-level results on pre-school effects at school entry (p13)

Paper Three - Intensive study of selected centres (p16)

Paper Four - Effective Pre-School Provision Northern Ireland (EPPNI) Project (p21)

Technical Papers in the Series and Ordering information (p28)

The EPPE / EPPNI Team (p29)

 

Paper One - An introduction to EPPE and its methodology

The Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) is a longitudinal study which investigates the attainment and development of children between the ages of 3 to 7 years. Three thousand children and their families were recruited to the study over the period January 1997 to April 1999 from 141 pre-school centres.

Both qualitative and quantitative methods (including multilevel modelling) have been used to explore the effects of individual pre-school centres on children's attainment and social/behavioural development at entry to school and at the end of Key Stage 1. In addition to centre effects, the study investigates the contribution to children's development of individual and family characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, language, parental education and employment. A parallel study is being carried out in Northern Ireland by the EPPE Team, led by Professor Edward Melhuish (Melhuish et al. 1997).

Part A - Research methods

The EPPE project investigates three issues which have important implications for policy and practice:

An educational effectiveness research design was chosen to investigate these topics. This enabled the research team to investigate the progress and development of individual children (including the impact of personal, socio-economic and family characteristics), and the effect of individual pre-school centres on children's outcomes at both entry to school (the start of Reception) and at the end of Key Stage 1. The EPPE project is designed to examine both the impact of type of pre-school provision as well as allow the identification of particular pre-school characteristics which have longer tem effects. In addition, the project explores the impact of pre-school provision for different groups of children and the extent to which pre-schools are effective in promoting different kinds of outcomes (cognition, language and social/behavioural development). The design is described fully in Sylva et al. 1999.

The aims of the EPPE Project

The sample: regions, centres and children

The EPPE sample was stratified by type of centre and geographical location.

In order to enable comparison across type of provision the researchers recruited about 500 children, 20 in each of 20-25 centres, from the six types of provision. This yielded a total sample of approximately 3000 children and 141 centres. Within each LA, centres of each type were selected by stratified random sampling.

Children and their families were selected randomly in each centre to participate in the EPPE Project. All parents gave written permission for their children to participate.

In order to examine the impact of no pre-school experience, a sample of 310 children was recruited from families who did not use centre-based education or care.

Details about length of sessions, number of sessions normally attended per week and child attendance have been collected to enable the amount of pre-school education experienced to be quantified for each child in the sample.

Child assessments

Around the third birthday, (or up to a year later if the child entered pre-school provision after age three) each child was assessed by a researcher on four cognitive tasks: verbal comprehension, naming vocabulary, knowledge of similarities seen in pictures, and block building. A profile of the child's social and emotional adjustment was completed by the pre-school educator who knew the child best. If the child changed pre-school before school entry, he or she was assessed again. At school entry, similar assessments were administered along with Early Number Concepts and knowledge of the alphabet and rhyme/alliteration. The Reception teacher completed the social-emotional profile.

Further assessments were made at exit from Reception and at the end of Years 1 and 2. In addition to standardised tests of reading and mathematics, information on National Assessments are being collected along with attendance and special needs. At age 7, children will also be invited to describe their attitudes to school.

Child Assessments at Entry to the study (age 3.0 years to 4 years 3 months)

Child Assessments at entry to school (age 4+ to 5 years)

Information from families

  1. Information on individual 'child factors' such as gender, language, health, care history, and birth order was collected at parent interview.

  2. Family factors were investigated also. Parent interviews provided detailed information about parent education, occupation and employment history, family structure and attendance history. In addition, details about, parental attitudes and involvement in educational activities (e.g. reading to child, teaching nursery rhymes, television viewing etc) have been collected.

Pre-school Characteristics and Processes

Regional researchers liaised in each authority with a Regional Coordinator, a senior local authority officer with responsibility for early years who arranged 'introductions' to centres and key staff. Regional researchers interviewed centre managers on: group size, child staff ratio, staff training, aims, policies, management and, parental involvement, etc.

'Process' characteristics such as the day-to-day functioning within settings (e.g. child-staff interaction, child-child interaction, and structuring of children's activities were also studied using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-R, Harms, Clifford & Cryer. 1998). The ECERS-R is rated on a 7 point rating scale by an observer familiar with the centre. It includes the following sub-scales:

To assess the more educational aspects of provision Sylva, Siraj-Blatchford and Taggart (ECERS-E, unpublished) developed four additional sub-scales:

Case Studies

Detailed qualitative data has been collected using case studies of "effective" pre-school practices (chosen retrospectively as 'more effective' on the basis of the multilevel analyses of outcome measures covering the period from entry to the pre-school up to entry into reception). This adds fine-grained detail to reveal 'processes' within centres which establish and maintain good practice. The detailed case studies use a variety of structures and methods of data gathering, including documentary analysis, interviews and observation. The results will help to illuminate the characteristics of more successful pre-school centres and assist in the development of guidance on good practice.

Analytical strategy

The EPPE research was designed to enable the linking of three sets of data: information about children's attainment and development (at different points in time), information about children's personal, social and family characteristics (e.g. child age and gender, occupation of parents etc), and information about pre-school experience (type of centre and its characteristics).

Longitudinal research is essential to enable the impact of child characteristics (personal, social and family) to be disentangled from any influence related to the particular pre-school centre attended. Multilevel models investigate the clustered nature of the child sample, with children nested within centres and centres within regions (Goldstein, 1987).

Given the disparate nature of children's pre-school experience it is vital to ensure that the influences of age at assessment, amount and length of pre-school experience and pre-school attendance record are accounted for when estimating the effects of pre-school education. Predictor variables for attainment at entry to reception include prior attainment (verbal and non-verbal sub scales, social/emotional profiles), and child and family characteristics. The EPPE multilevel analyses incorporate adjustment for measurement error and examine difference in the development of different groups of children at entry to pre-school and again at entry to reception classes. The extent to which any difference increase/decrease over this period will be explored, enabling equity issues to be addressed.

Summary

This "educational effectiveness' design of the EPPE research study enables modelling of the complicated effects of amount and type of pre-school provision (including attendance) experienced by children and their personal, social and family characteristics on subsequent progress and development. Assessment of both cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes has been made. The use of multilevel models for the analysis enables the impact of both type of provision and individual centres on children's pre-school outcomes (at age 5 and later at age 7) to be investigated. Moreover, the relationships between pre-school characteristics and children's development can be explored. The results of these analyses and the findings from the qualitative case studies of selected centres will inform both policy and practice.

Part B: "Quality" in Reception classes

The second part of this BERA paper will focus on observational profiles of 'quality' and their relationship to type of provision and qualifications.

Two observational profiles were used to explore the relationship between quality (overall and broken down into different dimensions) and staff qualifications. ECERS profiles of 141 centres were made using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Revised Edition, (ECERS-R - Harms, Clifford and Cryer, 1998), and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Extension, (ECERS-E - Sylva, Siraj-Blatchford and Taggart, publication pending 2001). Details of both measures are available in Technical Paper 6 (Sylva et al, 1999).

Originally developed in the US, the ECERS-R is a method of observation supported by staff interview to score seven aspects of physical interaction and the physical environment. These are Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interaction, Program Structure and Parents and Staff. Similarly, the ECERS-E is based on observation and interview, but was designed in the UK by the EPPE team to measure curricular quality as defined by 'Desirable Learning Outcomes' (1996); 'Curricular Guidance for the Foundation Stage' (2000); and 'Developmental Appropriate Practice (NAEYC). For each centre it produces four sub-scores - one each for Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Environment and Cultural Diversity. It is important to note that the ECERS-E includes more criteria than suggested by the DLO's; it was devised to take into account the Early Learning Goals which were being developed at the same time.

Technical Paper 6 (Sylva et al, 1999) showed that significant differences exist between the various forms of pre-school on both measures - the current paper presents reception classes alongside these scores.

Assessing provision for Early Childhood Education and Care in Reception Classes : ECERS -R

Overall, the 25 reception classes in the five regions scored in the 'minimal to good' range. Figure 1a shows their performance in relation to the previously established pre-school scores, and Figure 1b their relative distributions. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences across the seven types (F(6,159)=25.42, p<.001).

Figure 1a. Mean total ECERS-R scores

Figure 1b. Distribution of total ECERS-R scores

Post hoc pairwise comparisons (Tukey tests) were conducted between reception classes and the six forms of pre-school. These revealed that reception classes scored significantly worse overall than nursery classes, nursery schools and combined centres. There were no significant differences on overall ECERS-R score between reception classes and any of the remaining forms of provision. The ECERS-R subscales were then explored to investigate discrete areas of strength and weaknesses in reception.

Figure 2. Reception class ECERS-R sub-scale performance

Figure 2, above, shows the reception class scores across the seven sub-scales. With the exception of personal care routines, which falls just below, all of the scales lie within the minimal to good range (3 to 5).

For each sub-scale, analysis of variance across type (i.e. six pre-school types and reception classes) found that each of the 7 component scales varied significantly by type of provision. Tukey tests were then employed, pairing reception classes with each of the 6 pre-school types. Table 1, below, summarises the significant findings. 'Better' denotes that the pre-school type in question scored significantly higher than reception classes (p<0.01) on the given sub-scale; 'worse' denotes that reception classes scored significantly lower (p<0.01); blank cells denote no statistical difference. For example, the first row of table 1 indicates that nursery schools scored better than reception classes on 5 of the 7 ECERS-R sub-scales.

Table 1. ECERS-R sub-scales: The pre-school environments compared to reception classes

Space and furnishings

Personal care

Language and reasoning

Activities

Social interaction

Programme structure

Parents and staff

Nursery school

better than reception

better than reception

better than reception

Better than reception

better than reception

Combined centre

better than reception

better than reception

better than reception

Better than reception

Nursery class

better than reception

better than reception

better than reception*

Better than reception

Local Authority

better than reception

Better than reception

Private day nursery

Better than reception*

worse than reception

Playgroup

worse than reception

worse than reception

* denotes statistical significance at the 0.05 level

The findings presented in Table 1 further illustrate that in terms of quality, reception classes fall behind nursery schools, nursery classes and combined centres as analysis of the overall ECERS-R scores suggest. To a lesser extent, their provision is also inferior to the local authority day nurseries, and while there is little to differentiate their performance from private day nurseries, reception classes' superior performance on 2 sub-scales suggests a marginally better profile than seen in playgroups.

ECERS-R factors: Activities and facilities, and Communication and supervision

As reported in Paper 6, factor analysis of the whole pre-school sample of ECERS-R scores revealed two main factors that accounted for 30% and 7% of the total variance respectively. The reception classes were assessed for their performance on these two previously identified factors in relation to the pre-schools. Figure 5 below presents mean scores on the two factors by the six types of pre-school and the reception classes.

Figure 5. Scores for the two major ECERS-R factors

Analysis of variance revealed an overall significant effect across the seven types for both 'Activities and facilities', (F(6,159)=67.40, p<.001), and 'Communication and supervision', (F=(6,159)=8.51, p<.001). Pair-wise post hoc Tukey's for reception classes on 'Activities and facilities' revealed they scored significantly worse than nursery classes, nursery schools, combined centres and local authority centres. They scored significantly better than playgroups, and were not different from private day nurseries. Post hoc analysis of the 'Communication and supervision' factor found that the reception classes did not differ significantly from any type of pre-school. This suggests that the reception staff are similar to pre-school staff in their interactions with children but that their activities and facilities are in the range moderate-good whereas the nursery schools, class and combined centres are much better.

Assessing Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy: ECERS-E

Figure 3a shows the overall ECERS-E scores by type, and figure 3b their distributions, and reveals a clearly similar trend to that observed in the ECERS-R scores. Analysis of variance of total ECERS-E score by type found a significant difference across type (F(6,169)=28.78, p<.001). However, post hoc analysis using Tukey's found the only significant pairwise comparisons involving reception classes to be with playgroups, and with private day nurseries, in that reception classes scored better than both. No other statistical differences were found by the remaining pair-wise comparisons, therefore, unlike with ECERS-R, the overall higher means exhibited by combined centres, nursery schools and nursery classes over reception classes are not significant.

Figure 3a. Mean total ECERS-E scores

Figure 3b. Distribution of total ECERS-E scores

The ECERS-E sub-scales were then explored. Figure 4, shows the reception classes mean scores on the four sub-scales.

Figure 4. Reception class ECERS-E sub-scale performance

One way ANOVA's were performed on three of the ECERS-E sub-scales. ANOVA revealed overall significant differences by type for 'Literacy', (F(6,159)=25.32, p<.001); 'Mathematics', (F(6,159)=17.99, p<.001); and 'Diversity', (F(6,159)=13.63, p<.001). Kruskall Wallis was employed to analyse the remaining 'Science and environment' scale, which did not satisfy ANOVA's parametric criteria, (due to a positively skewed distribution). This also found significant overall differences by type.

For the 3 sub-scales that met parametric assumptions, post hoc Tukey tests were conducted pairwise with reception class. The science and environment sub-scales were explored post hoc with multiple Mann Whitney comparisons. Significant findings (p<.01) are summarised in table 2.

Table 2. ECERS-E sub-scales: The pre-school environments compared to reception classes

Literacy

Mathematics

Science and environment

Diversity

Nursery school

worse than reception

better than reception

Combined centre

better than reception*

Nursery class

worse than reception

better than reception

Local Authority

worse than reception

worse than reception

Private day nursery

worse than reception

worse than reception

worse than reception*

Playgroup

worse than reception

worse than reception

worse than reception

worse than reception

* denotes statistical significance at the 0.05 level

As clearly shown by table 2, reception classes fared much better on the ECERS-E, which focuses squarely on curriculum issues, than on the ECERS-R which has high 'care' and 'activities' components. This isn't surprising of course, considering the academic orientation of the scale. Indeed, the finding that combined centres were not outscored by reception classes on any curricular dimension of the ECERS-E again illustrates the very high quality of combined centre's provision. Also interesting, is that the reception classes general superiority in 'Literacy' and 'Mathematics' is not mirrored by their performance on the third academically orientated scale - 'Science and environment'. Here reception classes actually fared worse than two of the pre-school types.

Relationship between ECERS-R and ECERS-E

To summarise the differences between reception classes and 'pre-school' settings, it was found that:

  1. On the ECERS-R, a more global assessment of quality that includes care components as well as 'activity' ones, the nursery schools, classes and combined centres showed strong evidence of higher quality. Playgroups and private day nurseries lagged significantly behind Local Authority day nurseries, who had especially high 'care' scores.

  2. Within the ECERS-R factors, reception classes fared much worse than other LEA (pre-school) settings on 'facilities for young children' and also on 'activities'. On the 'interaction' and 'supervision' factor, however, reception classes were similar to nursery schools, classes and combined centres.

  3. The ECERS-E results were similar, with a more detailed picture of curriculum strengths.

    1. In literacy, reception classes were significantly better than day nurseries, private day nurseries and playgroups, they were on a par with nursery schools, classes and combined centres.

    2. In mathematics, reception classes were stronger than all other sectors except for combined centres.

    3. Science was different; in this curricular domain both nursery classes and schools excelled over reception, perhaps the initiatives for literacy and numeracy in the reception year have squeezed out good science?

    4. And finally, on diversity, combined centres stood out with the highest standard of provision.

  4. Some four year olds are in 'pre-school' provision but many are now in reception classes. Although providing adequate to good provision in terms of literacy, mathematics and quality of interaction, they are weaker than combined centres on diversity and weaker than nursery schools and classes on science. All in all, combined centres, nursery schools and nursery classes seem to offer better education and care to young children than reception classes do.

The relationship between staff qualifications and quality as measured by the ECERS

A five point coding scheme was developed to categorise level of childcare qualification for the manager in each centre. This is summarised in Table 1.

Table 1 - Childcare qualifications 1

Level

Description

Example

Level 0

Unqualified

Level 1

(No childcare qualification equivalent)

Level 2

Childcare certificates

BTEC Certificate in Childcare

Level 3

Childcare diplomas

NNEB

Level 4

Childcare advanced diplomas

Advanced NNEB

Level 5

Professional teaching qualification

BA (QTS), PGCE

1 Based on QCA descriptions.

Due to low numbers in Level 0 and Level 4, the original coding scheme was collapsed into a 3 point system for the purpose of the current analysis. This is shown in Tables 2 and 3 below.

Table 2

Table 3

Original

n

Collapsed

n

Level 0

1

Level 2

19

Level 2 *

20

Level 3

49

Level 3 / 4

52

Level 4

3

Level 5

54

Level 5

54

Missing

15

Missing

15

* denotes that Level 0 was disregarded due to only one unqualified manager being present in the sample, and for convenience was grouped with Level 2.

Relationship between childcare qualification and environmental profiles

Figure 1 below shows the mean ECERS-R and ECERS-E scores grouped according to manager's childcare qualification level. A clear trend is shown in which the quality of the environment increases with childcare qualification. Analysis of variance reveals that this trend is statistically significant on both ECERS measures (p<0.01). Further, Tukey post hoc analysis reveals that in addition to the significant overall effect, significant differences exist between each qualification subgroup also. That is, Level 5 performance is significantly higher than that of Level 3 / 4 (p<0.01) and Level 2 (p<0.01), and Level 3 / 4 performance is significantly higher than Level 2 (p<.05). This is true for both ECERS-R and ECERS-E.

Figure 1 - ECERS-R and ECERS-E means by manager qualification

 

ECERS-R sub-scales

With the exception of Personal care routines, the same positive trend was seen throughout the ECERS-R subscales, (figure 2).

ANOVA analyses revealed that significant differences on ECERS-R subscales, except Personal care routines, are highly significant (p<0.01). Personal care routines does not differ by manager qualification (p=0.73.) Table 4 below, summarises the post hoc analysis. For the 6 overall significant items, each least has one significant difference between the highest and lowest groups, but many of the other comparisons revealed differences also.

Table 4 - Summary of post hoc tests of ECERS-R subscales

Level 5 vs Level 2

Level 5 vs Level 3 / 4

Level 3 / 4 vs Level 2

Space and furnishings

p < .01

p < .01

p < .05

Language reasoning

p < .01

p < .01

p < .01

Activities

p < .01

p < .01

p < .05

Interaction

p < .01

Programme structure

p < .01

p < .05

Parents and staff

p < .01

p < .01

p < .01

The factor analysis reported in Technical Paper 6 (Sylva et al, 1999) found two major factors in the ECERS-R data from the EPPE sample; these were called 'Activities and facilities' and 'Communication and supervision'. The latter is very similar to 'interaction or teaching style' while the former is more clearly related to materials, and resources. Both differed significantly overall by ANOVA (p<.01). Table 5 presents the results of post hoc tests - all but one were significant. It is interesting to note that the significant difference in terms of interaction/teaching is at the boundary between Level 5 and all others.

Table 5 - Summary of post hoc tests of the 2 major ECERS-R sub factors

Level 5 vs Level 2

Level 5 vs Level 3 / 4

Level 3 / 4 vs Level 2

Activities and facilities

p < .01

p < .01

p < .01

Communication and supervision

p < .01

p < .01

ECERS-E subscales

As shown in table 6, all post hoc comparisons between Level 5 and Level 2 managers were significant, as were all comparisons between Level 5 and Level 3 /4.

Table 6 - Summary of post hoc tests of ECERS-E subscales

Level 5 vs Level 2

Level 5 vs Level 3 / 4

Level 3 / 4 vs Level 2

Literacy

p < .01

p < .01

Mathematics

p < .01

p < .01

Science & environment

p < .01

p < .01

Diversity

p < .01

p < .01

p < .05

Discussion

These findings show a strong relationship between the childcare/education qualifications of the centre-manager and the quality of provision in the EPPE settings. Level 5 qualifications were consistently associated with better provision when compared to Level 3 / 4 and Level 2. Moreover, Levels 3 / 4 were usually associated with better provision when compared to Level 2 manager qualifications, and in several comparisons Level 3 / 4 managers qualifications were associated with superior provision over Level 2. It must be stressed that staff qualifications are not independent of type of provision, with LEA centres always led by trained teachers, and playgroups centres most often led by managers with a lower qualification. Perhaps the most important finding of all, however, is the fact that the divide between Level 5 and all other levels is always much greater than the gap between Levels 3 / 4 and those below. This supports recent initiatives to ensure that those who manage and lead Early Childhood settings should be trained teachers.

References

Ball, C. (1994) Startright: The Importance of Early Learning, London: RSA

Goldstein, H. (1987) Multilevel Models in Educational and Social Research. London: Charles Griffin and Co.

Harms, T., Clifford, R. & Cryer, D. (1998). Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Revised Edition. Teachers College Press: New York.

Kinnear and Grey. (1995). SPSS for windows made simple. Erlbaum: East Sussex.

Melhuish, E.C. (1993) Pre-school care and education: Lessons from the 20th and the 21st Century. International Journal of Early Years Education, 1, 19-32.

Melhuish, E.C., Lloyd, E., Martin, S., & Mooney, A. (1990) Type of day-care at 18 months: ii Relations with Cognitive and Language Development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 31 861-870

School Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (1996). Nursery education desirable outcomes for children's learning on entering compulsory education. Department for Education and Employment: London

Sylva, K., Sammons, P., Melhuish, E., Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Taggart, B., (1999) Technical paper 1. An Introduction to the EPPE Project.

Sylva, K., & Wiltshire, J., (1993) The Impact of Early Learning on Children's Later Development. A review prepared for the RSA enquiry 'Start Right'. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 1, (1): 17-40

Sylva, K., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Melhuish, T., Sammons, P., Taggart, B., Evans, E., Dobson, A., Jeavons, M., Lewis, K., Morahan, M. & Sadler, S. (1999). Technical Paper 6: Characteristics of the centres in the EPPE sample: Observational Profiles. Institute of Education, University of London: London.

Sylva, K., Siraj-Blatchford, I., and Taggart, B. (Unpublished). The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Extension. Institute of Education, University of London: London.

 

Paper Two - Measuring the impact of pre-school on children's cognitive development: preliminary results

The Effective Provision of Preschool Education Project (EPPE) is a major five year study funded by the Department for Education and Employment which is tracking the progress and development of children over five years (1997-2003) EPPE has collected detailed information about children's personal and family characteristics and their home learning environment for a sample of 2800 children from 141 pre-school centres and 200+ without pre-school experience (the 'home' sample). Children have been tracked from beginning pre-school to entry into reception class. The sample centres were drawn from six types of pre-school provision (playgroups, nursery classes, Local Authority day nurseries, private day nurseries, nursery schools and combined centres) located in five different regions in England.

The research monitors children's progress across the pre-school period in order to identify whether children in particular centres, or experiencing different forms of provision make greater progress than others. An educational effectiveness design has been adopted which uses multilevel modelling techniques. This explores the impact of child, parent and home influences on children's attainment between the ages of three and seven. The impact of amount of pre-school provision (length of time and number of sessions a week attended), and characteristics of pre-school experience have also been investigated.

Aims

The analysis reported here is based on more than 2100 children (75% of the total sample) from 138 centres. The data were collected at entry to reception. The final report will be published on the full sample. Two key issues are addressed:

  1. the impact of background factors and of pre-school experience on later cognitive attainment at school entry, using measures of children's language, non-verbal skills, emerging literacy and early number concepts

  2. whether there is evidence that some centres are more effective in their impact on children's cognitive progress during the pre-school period than others.

The influence of child, parent and home environment factors on cognitive attainments at school entry

The results below are based upon complex statistical analyses which allow the effects of pre-school experiences to be identified having controlled for the impact of other factors (relating to child history or social background) measured in the study.

How child characteristics relate to attainment at entry to school

How parent/family characteristics relate to attainment at entry to school

How the home environment relates to attainment at entry to school

After controlling for the impact of parents' occupations and education, aspects of the home learning environment were found to have a significant impact on children's cognitive development both at age 3 years plus and again at school entry.

While still very important predictors of attainment, the same set of child, parent and home environment characteristics which were related to performance at age three plus accounts for less variance in children's attainment at school entry for literacy and early number concept measures, than was found for toatal BAS scores at age 3 years plus at entry to the study. This modest reduction in the influence of background factors on children's attainment may reflect the positive impact of pre-school education and its ability to help reduce inequality in cognitive development which we found at age three. Further follow up of the same group of children at the end of reception and end of Key Stage 1 will show whether the impact of parent and home background factors continues to diminish as children move through the early years of primary school or whether such differences stabilise or increase.

The preliminary results support the view that pre-school education, while by no means eliminating the powerful impact of inequalities, may play some role in helping to reduce their impact and thus is an important policy tool in combating social exclusion. The strength of background influences on children's cognitive development at entry to pre-school likewise points to the importance of policies to promote support for families of children in the 0 to 3 years age group.

Home children (children without pre-school experience)

The characteristics and school entry attainments of a sample of 269 children who had not experienced pre-school were compared with the EPPE pre-school sample. These children were recruited from reception classes attended by EPPE children. It should be noted that it proved difficult to identify 'home children' who had no pre-school experience, reflecting increase in provision of, and access to, pre-school.

Such children may be at risk of difficulties in adjustment to school because of low initial attainment at school entry. We cannot conclude that these lower scores are necessarily a direct result of lack of pre-school experience, due to the very different characteristics of the home child sample. Far more were of minority ethnic backgrounds and spoke English as an additional language, the proportion in receipt of free school meals was also significantly higher. A controlled experiment (which would not be feasible on both ethical and practical grounds) would be needed to draw causal conclusions. Nonetheless, the data suggest that there may be an important association. Further analyses will be conducted to explore the progress of these 'home' children during Key Stage 1 to establish whether the 'gap' in achievement reduces or remains constant as they progress through school.

Pre-School Centre effects: results of Value Added Analysis

Children's progress was analysed over the pre-school period controlling for age and prior attainment at entry to the pre-school study. These 'value added models' tested all child, parent and home environment measures identified as statistically significant in earlier analyses.

Other factors linked to children's progress

Quality characteristics

Quality of pre-school provision was measured by two observational assessments known as the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales (ECERS-R[Revised] and ECERS-E[Extended]). The ECERS-E scale was developed for the EPPE study to reflect the presence of the pre-school curriculum and pedagogy related to the Desirable Learning Outcomes. Pre-school ratings on ECERS-E were positively related to children's subsequent attainment in language, early number and non-verbal development. The literacy sub-scale of ECERS-E was also positively related to progress in literacy skills. Significant variation between centres in their scores on the ECERS instruments were reported in EPPE Technical Paper 6.

Amount of provision

The preliminary analyses indicate that registered attendance at pre-school for 10 sessions a week (full time) did not produce any more beneficial effect on children's cognitive progress than attending 5 sessions a week (half time).

Summary

The interim analyses have addressed a number of key issues of practitioner and policy relevance. They indicate the important influence on school entry attainment of children's background characteristics (prior attainment and child, parent and home factors) and make it clear that any comparisons of pre-school centres which do not take these differences into account are potentially misleading. They show that pre-school centres do vary in their impact in children's cognitive progress. Some have a particular strength and others an area of apparent weakness. Most pre-school centres show some variation in their effectiveness in promoting different areas of child attainment. The research also shows that centres vary in their quality characteristics and that in particular aspects, these variations relate to children's cognitive development during their time at pre-school . The study thus provides evidence of a significant link between pre-school quality measures and child outcomes. The interim analyses also suggests that pre-school experience has a positive impact on children's cognitive attainment at entry to school and may help to combat educational disadvantage.

Influential factors relevant to progress over the pre-school period have been identified. The educational effectiveness research design adopted for the EPPE study demonstrates the power of large scale, longitudinal studies to address pre-school effects. The design can allow for intake differences in terms of children's prior attainment and child, parent and home environment characteristics. Cross sectional studies and those that focus on descriptions of educational practices alone cannot address the questions of impact on children's outcomes.

The full analysis will be completed until later this year and will provide more robust results, although the size of this sample (76% of the total) means that this preliminary analysis should provide a fairly sound guide to the final results concerning cognitive progress. The impact of pre-school centres on children's social and behavioural development and adjustment to school is a major feature of the EPPE study. These data are currently being analysed to establish whether pre-schools also vary in their impact on these important non-cognitive outcomes.

 

Paper Three - intensive study of selected centres

Introduction

This paper will present the work-in-progress from qualitative data based on 12 intensive case-studies of a range of early years centres. The 12 centres studied are drawn from the 141 centres in the EPPE study. The centres were selected on the basis of effective practice as shown through our cognitive and/or social/behavioural child outcome data from each centre. The presentation will introduce the rationale behind this qualitative investigation and report on how the documentary analysis, the observations of staff and the interviews with managers and parents were conducted. In particular the paper will explore the issues of managing and coding such large amounts of qualitative information using methods of data reduction including the use of the qualitative software QSR NUDIST Vivo. The presentation will end with the some preliminary findings in terms of descriptive, coded and model categories in relation to understanding good practice in diverse and complex early years provision.

Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project Centres selected for in-depth case studies

Id. No.

Type of Provision

Area

No. on roll

Under 3

Over 3

017

NC

East Anglia

52

-

52 PT

106

NC

Shire County

42

-

42 PT

214

DC

Inner London

60

22

38FT

219

PDN

Inner London

52

15

37 F & PF

225

CC (EEC)

Inner London

120

60

60 PT

306

PDN

North East

90

62

28 F & PT

324

NS

North East

120

-

120 PT

401

PG

Midlands

40

-

40 PT

413

PDN

Midlands

121

90

31 F & PT

417

NC

Midlands

52

-

52 PT

421

NS

Midlands

104

-

104 FT

426

CC (EEC)

Midlands

205

85

120 PT

 

Code No of centres in study
 
CC Combined Centres also}  2
EEC Early Excellence Centre }  
DC Local Authority Day Care 1
NC Nursery Class  3
NS Nursery School  2
PG Playgroup  1
PDN Private Day Nursery  3
Total   12

 How the centres were selected for case study analysis

The above centres were not selected on the basis of representation of providers. They were selected within the range of centres achieving good to excellent cognitive or/and social outcomes for their children. The centres were studied after the children in the study had moved to reception classes. Several criteria were used to ascertain their comparability to when the EPPE children were in the setting, including a similar or better Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale -Extension (Sylva, Siraj-Blatchford and Taggart, 2001) score, stability of staffing and no major disruption at the centre prior to or just before the study was to be conducted e.g. OfSTED inspection. Following are examples of four such centres, some were clearly 'outliers' where the children made especially good progress while others reflected child progress which was to be expected given the control in the study for background characteristics

Centre 214 DC

 

 

 

Centre 219 PDN

 

 

 

Key

2

Significantly better than expected

1

Better than expected

0

As expected

-1

Worse than expected

-2

Significantly worse than expected

Sources of information - Example from Centre 219, a PDN

Each centre was studies for an intensive period of two weeks, staff, manager and parents were interviewed and two practitioners were observed for two whole days each. We also collected documents and policies in an effort to triangulate the data. In writing up the case studies we relied on a range of sources:

Profiles of outcomes and 'first reading'

Fieldnotes

Maps drawn by researcher

Staff observations - 2 days per 2 practitioners

Managers' Interviews 1 and 2

Parents' interviews (2)

Manager interviews (3)

Staff interviews

Termly Planning

Weekly planning

Nursery Policies

Nursery Timetable

OFSTED REPORT 1998

SENs AUDIT

School prospectus

Nursery handbook for Parents

Daily notes from nursery staff

Curriculum information from walls of the classroom

Childrens' portfolio work

Nursery staffs' written observations of children

Vignettes

Critical Episodes

Adult-Child interaction scale ratings from main EPPE

All these data have been used to compile a case study profile of each centre with a special emphasis on pedagogy. The following are the main heading:

1.CENTRE PROFILE

  1. accommodation, people, location

  2. child outcomes and ECERS scores

2. STAFFING

(subheadings)

3. MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP

(subheadings)

4. CLASSROOM ORGANISATION

  1. pupil organisation (age mix, grouping arrangements)

  2. layout

  3. resources

5. PARENT INVOLVEMENT

  1. communication to parents to help them understand the centre

  2. parents and the day-to-day life of the nursery

  3. how parents are made to feel part of their child's education

  4. what's expected of parents

  5. parent education

6. ETHOS

  1. the atmosphere of the place

    i. the welcome
    ii. the working climate for children
    iii. the emotional climate for children (catering for gender, ethnicity and SENs / expectations of
    behaviour
    iv. staff co-operation / collegiality
    v. support for staff

  2. the philosophy

  3. ethos as portrayed through displays and booklets

7. CURRICULUM

  1. curriculum policies

  2. balance and breadth (across subjects and including ICT)

  3. practitioner emphasis

  4. assessment

  5. curriculum planning, continuity and progression

  6. the role of visits and visitors

8. PEDAGOGY

  1. practice

  2. the quality of interaction

  3. the role of play and direct instruction

  4. the role of the teacher

  5. identifying children with SENs

  6. ensuring continuity and progression

  7. developing dispositions

9. COMMUNITY OUTREACH

(no subheadings)

Observations and interview data have been entered into NUD*IST Nvivo and coded to create models of nodes, further data are currently being added.

Centre  Main obs  Gen obs  Child obs  Par Ints  Man/Head
           
017 22:30 23:53   08 1
106 18:55     08 1
214 30:45 15:05   09 1
219 27:35 05:15 00:30 10 1
225 22:20 01:00   07 1
306 10:20 08:30 1:00 05 1
324 17:06     08 1
401 18:21     06 1
413 11:44     09 1
417 25:05     08 1
421 30:40     09 1
426 23:28     08 1
           
Total: 268hrs 49min 53hrs 43min 1hr 30min 95 12
 

Overall total: 324hrs 02min of observation; 95 parent interviews; 12 manager/head interviews

The following is an example of the way nodes are developing into models created by anticipatory data analysis and the iterative process of working through the data and drawing nodes from it.

Initial preliminary model - January 2001

Engagement Model

 

Engagement Nodes 21.3.01 - incomplete revised model

The presentation will show how the coding adds to, and refines, these models and the stages of analysis remaining to be completed. We are finding that effective centres are very diverse as well as containing many similarities, not least because the population of children is diverse as are the pedagogical practices prevalent across providers. Attempting to unravel these processes has revealed a complex set of practices. The study is now beginning to identify a number of practices, structural factors and processes, which contribute to effective outcomes. Special emphasis has been given to parents' and staff interpretations of 'effectiveness' as well as those imposed by the study. The final report of the case studies will be available to the DfES by the end of this year and published as a Technical Paper in 2002.

 

Paper Four - Effective Pre-School Provision: Northern Ireland (EPPNI) Project

This longitudinal study assesses the attainment and development of children followed between the ages of 3 and 7 years. Over 700 children were recruited to the study during 1998 and 1999 from 80 pre-school centres. Subsequently 150 children who had not attended a pre-school centre were also recruited to the study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used to explore the effects of pre-school experience on children's cognitive attainment and social/behavioural development at entry to school and any continuing effects on such outcomes up to 7 years of age. In addition to the effects of pre-school experience, the study investigates the contribution to children's development of individual and family characteristics such as gender, family size, parental education and employment. This overview describes the research design and discusses a variety of research issues (methodological and practical) in investigating the impact of pre-school provision on children's developmental progress. A parallel study is being carried out in England (EPPE).

Amongst the issues addressed by the EPPNI project are these three that have important implications for policy and practice:

The research design was chosen to enable investigation of the progress and development of individual children (including the impact of personal, socio-economic and family characteristics), and the effect of individual pre-school centres on children's outcomes at entry to school, through to age 7.

The sample: centres and children

In order to maximise the likelihood of identifying the effects of various types of provision, the EPPNI sample was stratified by type of centre and geographical location. The centres were chosen to include a selection of nursery classes and schools, playgroups, private day nurseries, reception classes and reception groups. Thus examples of all major types of pre-school centre in Northern Ireland were included in the study.

Over 700 children were recruited from 80 pre-school centres from all Education & Library Boards in Northern Ireland. Children and their families were selected randomly in each centre to participate in the EPPNI Project. All parents gave written permission for their children to participate. In order to examine the impact of no pre-school provision, an additional sample of 150 children with no pre-school experience were recruited from the year 1 classes which EPPNI children entered.

The progress and development of pre-school children in the EPPNI sample is being followed over four years until the end of year 3 of primary school. Details about length of sessions and number of sessions normally attended per week have been collected to enable the amount of pre-school education experienced to be quantified for each child in the sample. Two complicating factors are that a substantial proportion of children have moved from one form of pre-school provision to another (e.g. from playgroup to nursery class) and some will attend more than one centre in a week. Careful records are necessary in order to examine issues of stability and continuity, and to document the range of pre-school experiences to which individual children can be exposed.

Child assessments

Around the third birthday, or up to a year later if the child entered pre-school provision after three, each child was assessed by a researcher on four cognitive tasks: verbal comprehension, naming vocabulary, knowledge of similarities seen in pictures, and block building. A profile of the child's social and behavioural adjustment was completed by the member of the pre-school staff who knew the child best. If the child changed pre-school before school entry, he or she was assessed again. At school entry, a similar cognitive battery was administered along with knowledge of the alphabet and rhyme/alliteration (literacy measures). The year 1 teacher completed the social behavioural profile.

Further assessments are made at the end of Year 2. In addition to standardised assessments of reading and mathematics, information on school progress, attendance and special needs will be collected. At age 7, children will also be invited to report themselves on their attitudes to school.

Measuring child/family characteristics known to have an impact on children's development

  1. Information on individual 'child factors' such as gender, language, health and birth order was collected at parent interview.

  2. Family factors were investigated also. Parent interviews provided detailed information about parent education, occupation and employment history, family structure and pre-school attendance. In addition, details about the child's day care history, parental attitudes and involvement in educational activities (e.g. reading to child, teaching nursery rhymes, television viewing etc) have been collected and analysed.

Pre-school Characteristics and Processes

Regional researchers interviewed centre managers on: group size, child staff ratio, staff training, aims, policies, curriculum, parental involvement, etc. 'Process' characteristics such as the day-to-day functioning within settings (e.g. child-staff interaction, child-child interaction, and structuring of children's activities) were also studied. The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) which has been recently adapted (Harms, Clifford & Cryer 1998) and the Caregiver Interaction Scale (Arnett 1989) were also administered.

In addition four additional ECERS sub-scales (ECERS-E) describing educational provision in terms of: Language, Mathematics, Science and the Environment, and Diversity were also used in each pre-school centre.

Case Studies

In addition to the quantitative data collected about children, their families and their pre-school centres, detailed qualitative data will be collected using case studies. The case studies were of some "effective" pre-school centres (chosen retrospectively as 'more effective' on the basis of the analyses of ECERS-R, ECERS-E and Inspection Report). This will add the fine-grained detail to how processes within centres articulate, establish and maintain good practice.

Analytical Strategy

The EPPNI research was designed to enable the linking of three sets of data: information about children's attainment and development (at different points in time), information about children's personal, social and family characteristics (e.g. age, gender, SES etc), and information about pre-school experience (type of centre and its characteristics).

Longitudinal research is essential to enable the impact of child characteristics (personal, social and family) to be disentangled from any influence related to the characteristics of pre-school centre attended. Given the disparate nature of children's pre-school experience it is vital to ensure that the influences of age at assessment, amount and length of pre-school experience and pre-school attendance record are accounted for when estimating the effects of pre-school education. This information is also important in its own right to provide a detailed description of the range of pre-school provision experienced by different children and any differences in the patterns of provision used by specific groups of children/parents and their relationship to parents' labour market participation. Predictor variables for attainment at entry to primary school will include prior attainment (verbal and non-verbal sub scales), social/emotional profiles, and child characteristics (personal, social and family).

The extent to which it is possible to explain (statistically) the variation in children's scores on the various measures assessed at entry to primary school will provide evidence about whether particular forms of pre-school provision have greater benefits in promoting development by the end of the pre-school period. Analyses will test out the impact of measures of pre-school process characteristics, such as the scores on various ECERS scales and pre-school centre structural characteristics such as ratios. This will provide evidence as to which measures are associated with better cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes in children. Comparisons with the English study (EPPE) can further illuminate the interpretation of results.

Summary of factors related to child development at three years of age

In the first stage of the EPPNI study parents were interviewed concerning child and family characteristics and also children were assessed on social/behavioural and cognitive development. The data provided on child and family characteristics and social/behavioural and cognitive development at the start of the study were used to investigate social/behavioural and cognitive development at 3-4 years in relation to a range of parental, family, child, home and childcare factors. The analysis provides information about associations between variables and should not be automatically interpreted in terms of causality. It is possible that unmeasured factors are producing the effects found. The explanation of cognitive development provided by the analyses presented here is strong whereas the explanation of social/behavioural development leaves much of the variation between children unexplained. This may be explained in part by variation in the sophistication and reliability of measurement available for the two aspects of development. The findings can be summarised as follows:

Parents:

Family:

Child:

Home:

Childcare History:

Similarities and differences between EPPNI and EPPE

Cognitive development

The variables which have a similar effect on the cognitive development of the child in both studies are:

The main differences found between the two studies were:

Social Behaviour

These are the only similarities found in both studies:

Although significant effects were found for other variables on the children's social behaviour these were not common to both studies.

Summary of results from the ECERS observations

While pre-school centres in Northern Ireland are doing well overall on ECERS, there are big variations between individual centres, with some doing rather poorly. Most subscales of ECERS-R show fair to good scores when averaged across all types of provision. However closer inspection within types of provision reveals some differences. Many centres were found to be exciting places where children were challenged and supported in their learning and with sensitive, responsive interactions between staff and children. Unfortunately, other centres were characterised by hasty planning and poor implementation of the curriculum. The subscale 'pre-school activities' tended to show the lowest scores. This indicates that differentiated pre-school curriculum activities such as fine motor activities, art, music, movement, sand/water, nature activities, etc. have scope for improvement in pre-school centres in Northern Ireland.

There is less variation between types of centre in Northern Ireland than in England on ECERS-R, and pre-school centres in Northern Ireland score slightly higher overall than comparable centres in England. This is due to the playgroups and the private day nurseries, but particularly the playgroups, scoring more highly on ECERS-R than in England. It is clear that on every subscale playgroups in Northern Ireland score higher than playgroups in England. When private day nurseries in Northern Ireland are compared with those in England, they score higher on 'personal care routines', 'social interaction' and 'parents &staff', but lower on 'pre-school activities'. Nursery classes/schools in Northern Ireland score higher on 'personal care routines', but lower on 'pre-school activities' and 'parents &staff'.

These results reveal the characteristics of pre-school centres based upon observations that relate to 'expert opinion ' of good practice with pre-school children. It is an open question as to the degree to which these differences relate to later development for the children (Melhuish, 2000). Later reports will consider whether the differences in ECERS scores for centres are related to developmental progress for children attending those centres.

Comparison of pre-school centres in Northern Ireland and England.

As the ECERS scales were applied in similar fashion with pre-school centres in Northern Ireland (EPPNI) and in England (EPPE), comparison of the data sets between EPPNI and EPPE allows differences between pre-school centres in Northern Ireland and England to be explored.

ECERS-R

On the basis of the overall ECERS-R scores, Northern Ireland centres are scoring slightly higher than the centres in England (as shown in the figure below)

ECERS-R total score for all centres in England and Northern Ireland

It could be that this difference in ECERS-R scores is because of the different types of centres in EPPNI and EPPE. However if the comparison is restricted to those types of centre which common to both studies, i.e. nursery classes/schools, playgroups and private day nurseries, a similar pattern emerges.

ECERS-R for common centres in England and Northern Ireland

The differences between the two studies (EPPE and EPPNI) can be examined by the type of pre-school as in the figure below. In looking at the separate types of pre-school, the reasons for the differences in ECERS-R total scores can be seen clearly. The overall higher scores in Northern Ireland are due to the higher scores of playgroups and private day nurseries in Northern Ireland. Whereas nursery classes/schools score almost exactly equivalently in the two countries. Playgroups, in particular, scored very much higher in ECERS-R in Northern Ireland than in England.

ECERS- by type of centre in England and Northern Ireland

When the ECERS-R subscales are compared separately for each of the types of pre-school centre, nursery class/school, playgroups and private day nurseries, a slightly more complex situation emerges (independent t-tests). Firstly and most dramatically, it is clear that on every subscale playgroups in Northern Ireland score significantly higher than playgroups in England. When private day nurseries in Northern Ireland are compared with those in England, they score significantly higher on 'personal care routines', 'social interaction' and 'parents &staff', but significantly lower on 'pre-school activities'. Nursery classes/schools in Northern Ireland score significantly higher on 'personal care routines', but significantly lower on 'pre-school activities' and 'parents and staff'.

Summary of results from interviews with managers of pre-school centres

This section of the paper reports on interviews conducted with managers of the EPPNI pre-school centres which took place between September 1998 and July 1999. In total, 80 centre managers in five local areas of Northern Ireland (five Education and Library Boards) were interviewed. The breakdown of types of pre-school centres and areas are shown in the table below.

Number of centres by ELB

 

Belfast

West

North-east

South-east

South

Total

PG

3

3

3

3

3

15

PDN

5

4

4

4

3

20

NC

2

1

1

1

2

7

NS

3

3

3

3

3

15

RC

2

3

5

3

4

9

RG

2

2

2

3

4

21

Total

15

15

17

16

17

80

PG= Playgroup / PDN= Private Day Nursery / NC= Nursery Class / NS= Nursery School / RC= Reception Class / RG= Reception Group

The interview was designed to provide information concerning a variety of different characteristics and areas in each of the pre-school settings.

The interview schedule explored the following areas:- general information i.e. age of centre, opening times, major objectives etc., parental involvement i.e. opportunities for parent/staff contact, written materials provided to parents, parent education etc., the staff i.e. conditions and benefits, qualifications, turnover etc., the children i.e. numbers, provision for special education needs etc. perceptions of quality in child care and education, and organisational practices i.e. planning and record-keeping etc.

Overall a good range of facilities were offered by all types of pre-school provision involved in the project. All centres met and improved on the minimum statutory staff/child ratios. Staffing within the sector as a whole was fairly stable with most children experiencing a fair degree of continuity in care and education.

Training opportunities for staff working in all types of pre-school setting were of a high standard. However no clear pattern emerged regarding contracts and other staff benefits. Overall full-time staff working in the statutory education sector have access to better staff development opportunities than all other groups of staff.

As expected the senior person working with children in the statutory sector held a teaching qualification whilst in the private sector the highest qualification held in the majority of centres was a NNEB/NVQ Level 3. The most commonly held childcare qualification amongst other pre-school staff was NVQ Level 3.

The majority of centres held regular staff meetings with the statutory sector being more likely to fund attendance. Widespread use was made of the Pre-School Curriculum Guide and NIPPA guidelines. When considering issues of quality, managers agreed about what were the most important objectives and characteristics of their centres with the development of a positive self-concept coming out on top. Almost all centres conducted regular assessments in a wide variety of developmental areas and employed a system for identifying special needs.

Parents were surprisingly allowed to visit their centres on a daily basis more often in the educational sector than the private sector. Parents helped with fund raising and maintaining the physical environment more than any other area.

 

 

Technical papers in the series

Technical Paper 1 - An Introduction to the Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) Project. ISBN: 085473 591 7 Publication Date: Autumn 1999

Technical Paper 2 - Characteristics of the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project sample at entry to the study. ISBN : 085473 592 5 Publication Date: Autumn 1999

Technical Paper 3 - Contextualising EPPE: Interviews with Local Authority co-ordinators and centre managers. ISBN : 085473 593 3 Publication Date: Autumn 1999

Technical Paper 4 - Parent, family and child characteristics in relation to type of pre-school and socio-economic differences. ISBN : 085473 594 1 Publication Date: Autumn 1999

Technical Paper 5 - Report on centre characteristics (Interviews). ISBN : 085473 595 X Publication Date: Autumn 2000

Technical Paper 6 - Characteristics of the Centres in the EPPE Sample: Observational Profiles. ISBN : 085473 596 8

Technical Paper 6A - Characteristics of Pre-School Environments. ISBN : 085473 597 6 Publication Date: Autumn 1999

Technical Paper 7 - Social/behavioural and cognitive development at 3-4 years in relation to family background. ISBN : 085473 598 4 Publication Date: Autumn 2000

Technical Paper 8 - First multi-level results on pre-school effects at school entry. ISBN : 085473 599 2 Publication Date: Autumn 2001

Technical Paper 9 - Report on age 6 assessment. ISBN : 085473 600 X Publication Date: Spring 2003

Technical Paper 10 - Intensive study of selected centres. ISBN : 085473 601 8 Publication Date: Spring 2002

Technical Paper 11 - Report on the continuing effects of pre-school education at age 7. ISBN : 085473 602 6 Publication Date: Summer 2003

Technical Paper 12 - The final report. ISBN : 085473 603 4 Publication Date: Spring 2004

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or

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The EPPE Team

Principal Investigators:

Professor Kathy Sylva

Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford

Kathy Sylva is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford. Her research centres on evaluation of pre-school and primary educational interventions, with a special focus on the predictors of cognitive, linguistic and social outcomes in longitudinal research. She has also led research projects on literacy interventions, supporting parents, and the effects of child care on children and families.

Professor Edward Melhuish

Institute for the Study of Children, Family and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Edward Melhuish is a developmental psychologist. His research interests are in studying environmental influences on social, cognitive and communicative development, often using longitudinal studies. Interests include pre-school care and education; parenting; and the linking of research on child development with social policy. Previous research influenced the 1989 Children Act.

Professor Pam Sammons

Institute of Education, University of London

Professor Sammons is a leading authority on school effectiveness and improvement research. She is a Professor in Education at the Institute of Education and Associate Director of its International School Effectiveness and Improvement Centre. She has directed a range of studies on primary and secondary schools funded by ESRC, DfEE, SOEID, DENI, OFSTED, QCA and several LEAs.

Professor Iram Siraj-Blatchford

Institute of Education, University of London

Professor Siraj-Blatchford is a specialist in Early Childhood Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her research interests include early childhood curriculum and pedagogy. She has published on issues of Early Childhood quality and equality. She has directed projects for several bodies including the DfEE, Aga Khan Foundation, Esme Fairburn Trust and the Leverhulme Trust. She has been a consultant to UNESCO. Currently she is evaluating several Early Excellence Centres.

Research Co-ordinator:

Brenda Taggart

Institute of Education, University of London.

Brenda Taggart has a background in primary education, having been a teacher, primary advisory teacher, deputy head and acting head. She has worked as both an initial and in-service trainer of teachers. She has worked on a number of research projects focusing on primary and early years education. This has included work for the ESRC, SCAA, QCA, NUT, DENI, the DfEE and several LEAs.

Research Co-ordinator EPPNI:

Louise Quinn

Stranmillis University College

Louise Quinn's background is in nursing, social psychology and research. Before joining the EPPNI research team she worked on a number of projects within higher education and the care sector involving marginalised client groups.

This document was added to the Education-line database on 05 December 2001