Welcome to the eighteenth edition of our A Better Start Southend Research Bulletin, bringing you the latest on ‘what works’ in early years’ around our outcomes: Social and Emotional Development, Diet and Nutrition, Communication and Language, Community Resilience and Systems Change.

Your regular update, edited by Rachel Wood, also shows how we are using these findings to influence our work in Southend. In addition, we invite you to help shape our ‘test and learn’ projects and innovations in prevention and early intervention.

If you would like to contribute an article, want to sign up to receive these updates, or have question, please email:

Early Intervention Foundation: ‘What Works’ in the Healthy Child Programme

Case Study from the US: Strategic Evidence Planning (Project Evident)
Co-production and Compassion

Early Intervention Foundation: ‘What Works’ in the Healthy Child Programme

Title: Asmussen, K. and Brims, L. (2018), ‘What Works’ to Enhance the Effectiveness of the Healthy Child Programme: An Evidence Update, Early Intervention Foundation

Research source: http://www.eif.org.uk/publication/what-works-to-enhance-the-effectiveness-of-the-healthy-child-programme-an-evidence-update/

Publication date: June 2018

Our Summary:  The Healthy Child Programme is a 0-5yrs evidence based framework to ensure that (p5):

  • Every woman experiences a healthy pregnancy;
  • Every child is ready to learn by the age of 2;
  • Every child is ready for school by the age of 5; and
  • A reduction in child obesity and inequalities in oral health.

It also looks at:

  • Child health;
  • Screening and immunisations;
  • Child development reviews;
  • Prevention and early intervention.

This report argues that there is good evidence on:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychodynamic Theory for mothers with mental health issues;
  • Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is an evidence based option for supporting parents and carers who experience Intimate Partner Violence (IPV);
  • Kangaroo Mother Care – has found to be effective in breastfeeding, parental sensitivity and increasing children’s attachment related behaviours;
  • Infant Massage has good outcomes in low weight babies;
  • A mixture of phone, and in person contact on an individual basis increases breastfeeding initiation and duration;
  • There is good evidence of a variety of supporting parental sensitivity. This includes video feedback and parenting activities; and
  • Home visiting can support children’s language development.

This shows that there is a growing evidence base (p17) in terms of the Healthy Child Programme (HCP). It also argues that evidence of what does not work is also crucial.

It also argues that new research is required both on universal and targeted provision.

It is also important to note that a balance of long and short-term interventions is likely to be required.

In summary, the authors found that the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) was a good delivery mechanism and that quality referral systems need to be in place for targeted provision.

How were applying this in Southend

  • We ensure that as part of our commitment to ‘test and learn’ that we update ourselves as to the latest in ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t work’;
  • We have a broad portfolio of delivery, as this is crucial to our ambitions for outcomes for children and families.

Help us help Southend

  • From the evidence update, what do you think should be our priorities in terms of our ‘test and learn’ agenda?

Let us know what you think by e-mailing  abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk

Case Study from the US: Strategic Evidence Planning (Project Evident)

Title: Project Evident (2018), Roadmaps for Continuous Improvement and Evidence Building in the Social Sector: Early Lessons from Strategic Evidence Planning – SEP

Research source: https://www.projectevident.org/updates/2018/6/27/roadmaps-for-continuous-improvement-and-evidence-building-in-the-social-sector-lwzjd

Publication date: June 2018

Our Summary: In the US, Project Evident found that non-profit leaders had a deep commitment to understand the impact of their work on outcomes. In order to do this they prioritised (p3):

  • Data collection and predictive analytics;
  • Outcomes measurement;
  • Long-term investment;
  • Effectiveness

It also acknowledges the challenges for evaluators in being able to provide rapid reviews that practitioners required for their programme outcomes.

It is recognised that this involves collaboration, and shared learning objectives.

Project Evident used prototyping in order to develop a 3-5 year roadmap and learning agenda. One of the main ways that this took place is through small scale, and rapid cycle testing, along with designing and refining theories of change (to test assumptions).

How were applying this in Southend

  • We use the principles of ‘test and learn’, and rapid cycle testing so that we can continuously study, evaluate and learn through our design and delivery processes;
  • Our service design process involves the development and refinement of theories of change in all of our projects;

Help us help Southend

  • What are your thoughts on our evaluation framework? How can we improve it to further develop our learning from our projects?

Let us know what you think by e-mailing abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk

Co-production and Compassion

Title: Taylor, A. and Hodgson, D. (2018), Co-production: A Shared Sense of Compassion

Research source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326225929_Co-production_a_shared_sense_of_compassion

Publication date: July 2018

Our Summary: This conference paper highlights that co-production and research is essential for services, which are of quality and which achieve equitable outcomes for both practitioners and those that use them.

Although applied to a different area of knowledge than 0-4s the paper argues that compassion has a crucial role in co-production, and that there are plans to share this with those on undergraduate programmes.

The emerging benefits they found were that:

  • Co-production supported service designers in their practice;
  • Involving practitioners and users of services at the same time was beneficial;
  • That collaborative (user and practitioner) research is crucial in terms of knowledge and practice.

How were applying this in Southend

Help us help Southend

  • Are there other ways that we could use co-production in terms of our services and projects?

Let us know what you think by e-mailing abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk

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