JSNA topic report: children and young people
8. Early years and school ages
Child Development Reviews
All children and families should receive a review when the child reaches around 2 to 2½ years. This allows for an integrated review of their health and development. Disparities in child development are recognisable in the second year of life and have an impact by the time children enter school. If left unsupported, these children are more likely to fail to achieve their full potential. There are inequalities in the number of children who achieve the expected level in their development, with children living in more deprived areas and boys being less likely to be at the expected levels (OHID Fingertips indicator definition).
The proportion of 2 to 2½ year olds in Buckinghamshire receiving a health visitor led child development review in previous years (2017/18 to 2019/20), was significantly higher than the England average.
However, the latest year saw a decrease in all comparators due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease was much larger in Buckinghamshire and the statistical neighbours.
In 2020/21, 55.2% received their development review (3,417 children) which was significantly below the England (71.5%) and South East (71.4%) average but similar to the statistical neighbours (58.4%) (source: The Impact of COVID-19 on pupil attainment,2022).
Figure 12: 2 to 2.5 year health visitor review, 2017/18 to 2020/21
Source: OHID using interim reporting of Health Visiting metrics
Special educational needs
Across all schools there are 9,010 pupils receiving SEN support and 3,807 with an Educational Health and Care Plan.
In January 2021 there had been a 6.9% increase since 2020. Nearly half (42%) of children and young people with an EHC plan maintained by Buckinghamshire are placed in mainstream settings, compared to 39.9% nationally.
Summary of attainment
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still being measured, early assessments in September 2021 have suggested some children have maintained their learning but others have fallen behind. It's too early to ascertain this for Buckinghamshire yet but national evidence shows progress was most disrupted for:
- year 1 pupils
- disadvantaged children
- those with SEND in year 1
- younger children with a slower recovery
Pre- COVID-19 pandemic or early pandemic performance across school ages are largely significantly higher in Buckinghamshire compared to England and similar to the South-East.
Attainment in phonics by children who are eligible for/receiving free school meals was significantly below the England average.
Table 2 shows pre- COVID-19 pandemic or early pandemic performance across school ages. The majority are significantly higher than England and similar to the South-East.
|Indicator||Date||Value||Comparedto England||Comparedto SE|
|School readiness: % pupils who had a good level of development the end of Reception||2018/19||74.3%||Better||Similar|
|School readiness: % pupils with free school meals who had a good level of development at the end of Reception||2018/19||53.2%||Similar||Similar|
|School readiness: %pupils achieving at least the expected level in communication and language skills at the end of Reception||2018/19||84.4%||Better||Similar|
|School readiness: % Year 1 pupils achieving expected levels in phonics screening||2018/19||82.2%||Similar||Similar|
|School readiness: % pupils withfree school mealsachieving expected level in phonics in Year1||2018/19||65.8%||Worse||Similar|
|Key stage 2: % pupils achieving expected standard in reading, writing and maths||2019/20||66.4%||Similar||Similar|
|Average attainment 8 score||2020/21||56.7||Better||Better|
|Average attainment 8 score of children in care||2020||19.3||N/A||N/A|
Other inequalities have also been identified. For example, disadvantaged pupils’ performance in attainment 8, (40.2), although above the South-East average (38.5) is below the rest of pupils in Buckinghamshire schools (60.7). There is a larger absolute inequality gap for Buckinghamshire compared to England as a whole. The gaps have also widened since the previous year.
The map below shows the variation across the county for children in early years achieving a good level of development in 2019. The data by ward ranges from 53.6% to 96.4%.
EYFSP relates to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which supports Early Years practitioners to make a judgement on children's attainment.
Young people who are not in education, employment or training are at greater risk of a range of negative outcomes, including poor health, depression or early parenthood.
The proportion of 16 to 17 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) or whose activity is not known in Buckinghamshire in 2020 was 7% (estimated as 870 children). This was significantly higher than the England average of 5.5% and similar to the South-East average of 6.4%.
16 to 17 year olds that are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or whose activity is not known, 2016 to 2020
As already noted above the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on learning for children and young people but it has also impacted on their employment.
The Office for National Statistics has shown young people (16 to 24 years) saw a large decline in their employment rate in 2020 compared with 2019 and their unemployment and economic inactivity rates increased.