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Early learning and childcare at age five: comparing two cohorts

A report on early learning and childcare use and provision in Scotland, comparing Growing Up in Scotland data from 2008-09 and 2014.

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Contents
Early learning and childcare at age five: comparing two cohorts
Footnotes

Footnotes

1. Note that, because of slight differences in how data on duration of ELC were collected, comparisons should be treated with caution.

2. As above, because of slight differences in how data on duration of ELC were collected, comparisons should be treated with caution.

3. 'All-round high quality' is defined as a provider achieving at least a 'very good' grade on all four themes assessed by the Care Inspectorate (care and support, environment, staffing, and leadership and management).

4. Unlike the EPPE project, this report does not compare the outcomes of children who attended ELC provision with those who did not attend.

5. http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Young-People/early-years/parenting-early-learning/childcare

6. 2 year olds were eligible if their parent or carer was receiving Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit and had an annual income of less than £16,105, or was receiving both Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and had an annual income of less than £6,420.

7. At each sweep interviews took place around six weeks before the child's next birthday. In this report the child's age is referred to in years. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that a 4 year old child was actually 46 months old or just under 4, and a 5 year old child was actually aged 58 months or just under 5.

8. In the interview, the questions about pre-school education were introduced to parents in the following way: "Children aged three and four are entitled to free part-time early education or 'pre-school' places funded by the Government. These pre-school places are provided by a range of childcare organisations such as nursery schools, nursery classes at primary schools, playgroups or day nurseries (…) For these questions, I would like you to think about only those pre-school places [child's name] may have attended since his/her 3rd birthday."

9. In both cohorts, parents were asked to indicate the type of pre-school provider from the following list: Nursery class attached to a local authority primary school, Nursery class attached to an independent/private school, Local authority nursery school or nursery centre. Private day nursery or nursery school, Community/voluntary nursery, Community/voluntary playgroup, Local authority playgroup, Private playgroup, Family Centre.

10. Data about childcare not provided by the child's main ELC (pre-school) provider were collected separately. Questions about non-pre-school childcare were introduced to parents in the following way: "By 'childcare' I mean when [child's name] is looked after by anyone other than yourself [and your partner]. We are interested in all types of childcare shown on this card* - including both formal and informal childcare but not any pre-school or early-education arrangements covered by [child's name]'s free pre-school place." *The card listed a wide range of childcare providers including relatives, childminders and a range of centre or group-based care providers.

11. The exact number of cases for which details were obtained vary according to the measure used. The figures given in the text refer to the number of cases for which information about the child's ELC provider were obtained. Information about the average number of hours the child attended ELC per week was obtained for 4306 cases.

12. Of these 2908, for 1538 children ELC data were collected before the increase in entitlement, and for 1370 children ELC data were collected after the increase in entitlement.

13. Of the 1406 cases where ELC data on provider type were collected at the time the child was aged 5, in 662 cases the information was collected retrospectively - that is, the child was no longer attending ELC at the time of the age 5 interview.

14. Since 1 July 2016 the Care Inspectorate has only reported on the broader quality themes.

15. This is largely due to the 'clustering' of the sample. For further details see Bradshaw and Corbett, 2013.

16. Data were not always available for all individual quality measures so numbers differ slightly depending on the quality measure looked at.

17. The measure of adjustment to primary school relies on parent report and thus reflects parents' perceptions of their child's adjustment, rather than, for example, the child's own assessment.

18. For each cohort, standardised z scores were created for each of the six individual items and reliability analysis was carried out to assess whether the items were suitable for combining into a single measure. For BC1, the analysis showed an alpha of 0.681 for the standardised items; for BC2 the analysis showed an alpha of 0.677 for standardised items. On this basis, for both cohorts, the six items were deemed suitable for combining into a single composite score. For each cohort a total score was then created by adding up z scores for the six individual items. The process took into account that some items were scored in reverse order. Cases where information was missing on one or more items were excluded.

19. In BC2 these questions were also asked in the age 3 interview.

20. http://www.ehcap.co.uk/content/sites/ehcap/uploads/NewsDocuments/236/SDQEnglishUK4-17scoring-1.PDF

21. In both cohorts, the BAS assessments were also undertaken with the children as part of the age 3 interview.

22. Details about how these data were collected are provided in Appendix A.

23. This includes any time the child spent at their main ELC provider (including both funded and unfunded hours) but does not include time spent with any other provider (cf. section 2.2).

24. This report uses the following urban/rural classification: 'urban' (large and other urban areas); 'towns' (accessible and rural small towns); and 'rural' (accessible and remote rural areas). Further details are provided in Appendix A.

25. As above, this includes any time the child spent at their main ELC provider (including both funded and unfunded hours) but does not include time spent with any other provider (cf. section 2.2).

26. See section 2.2 for details.

27. 'Group-based formal childcare not provided by main ELC provider' is defined as time spent with any of the following types of providers: Private creche or nursery; Nursery class attached to primary school; Local Authority playgroup or pre-school; Local Authority creche or nursery; Private playgroup or pre-school; Community/Voluntary playgroup or pre-school; Workplace creche or nursery; Family Centre; Playscheme / summer / holiday club; Breakfast club;

'Other non-group-based formal childcare' is defined as care provided by any of the following: Childminder; Daily nanny at child's home; Live-in nanny; Babysitter at child's home; Child-carer (provided via childcare agency).

'Other informal care' is defined as care provided by any of the following: Child's grandparents, Another relative, The child's older brother or sister, A friend or neighbour.

A small number of cases with missing information about provider type were excluded from this analysis.

28. As noted in section 2.2, the child's main carer was asked about any regular childcare arrangements currently in place, or in place since the family was last interviewed. 'Childcare' was defined as "…care carried out by anyone other than yourself [or your partner]. We are interested in all types of childcare (…) including both formal and informal childcare but not any pre-school or early education arrangements covered by [child's] free pre-school place".

29. This represents an increase in the average ELC use of 11%. The increase in funded hours from 475 to 600 represented an increase of 26%.

30. Full results are provided in Table 8-5 in Appendix C.

31. Further details about the data from the Care Inspectorate are provided in section 2.3.

32. Full results are provided in Appendix C (Table 8-6 and Table 8-11 to T able 8-14).

33. Full results are provided in Table 8-6 in Appendix C.

34. Full results are provided in Table 8-8 and Table 8-9 in Appendix C.

35. Full results are provided in Table 8-10 in Appendix C.

36. Full results are provided in Table 8-13 in Appendix C.

37. Thus, there were differences in the proportion of children attending a provider with high quality grades according to area deprivation for staffing grades, but not for the overall quality measure (of which staffing is one of the themes measured). This apparent discrepancy is explained by variation in the quality grades achieved on other themes among those achieving a high staffing grade. For example, first of all, of the providers scoring high on one measure (e.g. staffing) some achieved high grades on just this one measure, while others achieved high grades on two, three, or all four measures. Second, among those achieving high grades on two or three themes there was further variation in which themes they achieved high grades in - e.g. some may have achieved high grades on staffing and environment, while others achieved high grades in staffing and management and leadership. Thus, on average, it is possible to observe a pattern for one theme, but not for the others, nor for the overall measure.

38. Full results are provided in Table 8-11 to Table 8-14 in Appendix C.

39. Again, this may seem counter-intuitive given that disadvantaged children were more likely to attend local authority nursery classes, which were, in turn, more likely to achieve high quality grades - would we not expect disadvantaged children to be more likely to attend ELC providers with high quality grades? However, as above, this is largely a result of looking at averages. For example, although less advantaged children were more likely than their more advantaged peers to attend local authority nursery classes, not all of them did so - and, similarly, even though local authority nursery classes attached to a primary school were more likely than other settings to achieve high grades, not all of them did so.

40. Full results are provided in Table 8-15 and 8-16 in Appendix C.

41. Normative data from British samples is available at http://www.sdqinfo.org/.

42. There were some indications that the conduct problems score had reduced slightly between the cohorts, however, the proportion of children with scores in the 'close to average' range was the same in both cohorts, at 88%.

43. Full results are provided in Table 8-22 in Appendix C.

44. Full results are provided in Table 8-23 in Appendix C.

45. There were also some indications that differences had increased in relation to the level of peer problems and conduct problems. However, differences here were extremely small and are therefore not commented upon in the text.

46. Full results are provided in Table 8-24 in Appendix C.

47. The analysis did show some indications of a very slight widening of the gap in pro-social behaviour and conduct problems. However, these differences were extremely small and are therefore not commented on in the text.

48. Full results are provided in Table 8-25 in Appendix C.

49. The vocabulary and problem solving t-scores are standardised scores which express average ability based on comparisons with a UK wide norming sample. Further details on the scores are provided in section 2.4.3.

50. Full results are provided in Table 8-27 and Table 8-28 in Appendix C.

51. Full results are provided in Table 8-29 in Appendix C.

52. Information was collected about the average number of hours the child was attending pre-school on a weekly basis at the time the cohort child was aged around 4 years old. The question wording specified only to include any pre-school education the child had attended since their third birthday. Further details are provided in Appendix A.

53. Models were fitted where associations were borderline significant up to p<.007.

54. Details are provided in the Technical Annex.

55. These groupings were devised to ensure appropriate base sizes (30+) were achieved across all measures included in the models for each group.

56. Full results are provided in Table 8-30 in Appendix C.

57. Information about pre-school/ ELC use specifically referred to pre-school education the child had attended after their third birthday (see Appendix A for further details).

58. The odds of children who attended ELC for 30 hours or more per week exhibiting above average levels of difficulties were 1.6 times higher than the odds for children who attended ELC for 12.5 hours or less. Full results are provided in Table 1 in the Technical Annex.

59. This was tested by adding a measure of ELC quality ('grading mix') to the model. Full results are provided in Table 2 in the Technical Annex.

60. This was tested by fitting an interaction effect between age 3 hyperactivity levels and weekly ELC attendance to the model predicting displaying above average levels of hyperactivity difficulties. Results not shown.

61. Preliminary additional analysis suggested that this was also the case when looking at time spent in any group-based care. Results not shown.

62. The odds of children in lower and middle income households (outside the wealthiest 40% of households) exhibiting above average levels of hyperactivity at age 5 were twice as high among children who spent 30 hours or more in ELC per week compared with children who spent 12.5 hours or less ( OR=1.965). Results are provided in Table 3a in the Technical Annex.

63. The analysis did show some associations between ELC quality measures and aspects of children's cognitive development, however, these were not statistically significant.

64. The odds of exhibiting above average levels of peer problems at age 5 among children who attended an ELC provider which did not achieve at least 'very good' grades across all four quality themes, were 1.4 times higher than the odds for children who attended an ELC provider who achieved 'very good' or 'excellent' grades across all four quality themes (once the level of problems reported at age 3 and differences in social background were taken into account). Results are provided in Table 7 in the Technical Annex.

65. The odds of exhibiting below average levels of pro-social behaviour at age 5 among children who attended an ELC provider which did not achieve at least 'very good' grades across all four quality themes were 1.4 times higher than the odds for children who attended an ELC provider who achieved 'very good' or 'excellent' grades across all four quality themes (once the level of pro-social behaviour reported at age 3 and differences in social background were taken into account). Results are provided in Table 10 in the Technical Annex.

66. The relationship was evident among children in the families outside the most affluent 40% of households, but not among children in the most affluent 40%.

67. The analysis did show some associations between ELC quality measures and aspects of children's cognitive development, however, these were not statistically significant.

68. The question wording was as follows: 'For roughly how many hours does [child's name] attend his/her pre-school place in an average week?'


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