The government is to provide funding for specialist training to help 2 to 4-year-olds with language and mathematic skills, as part of the early years recovery plan.

The government announced on 6th September that the early years professional development programme (PDP) is to be extended to around 50 new local authorities across England in the 2021/ 2022 academic year, meaning that thousands of pre-school children will benefit from improved language, numeracy and personal, social and emotional skills.

The £10 million extension, building on the £20 million already invested in the programme since 2019 as part of the government’s efforts to narrow the attainment gap in the early years, is aimed at levelling up outcomes for children, particularly the most disadvantaged, between the ages of 2 and 4 by providing high-quality training and professional development support for staff in nurseries and preschools, or childminders.

Former Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said; “We know high-quality early years education can make an enormous difference to the outcomes of our youngest children, not just in their language and numeracy but also their social and emotional development, helping to give them the best possible start to life. This is more important than ever as we build back from the pandemic.

“This programme will play a central role in equipping our important early years staff with the high-quality training they deserve, so that they can support children at the very beginning of their education, enabling them to build on these skills with confidence as they grow up.

“As part of this, the department will also be providing online professional development training, developed by the Anna Freud Centre, targeted at personal, social and emotional development for 2 to 4-year-olds in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that children’s mental health and wellbeing is prioritised. The training also includes a focus on staff wellbeing and will be rolled out as part of the second phase of PDP from January 2022.”

The full press release, issued by the Department for Education can be found here.


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