Research

The ECERS-R and ECERS-E are probably best known for their use in the Effective Provision of Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE), where they underpinned the research on the relationships between quality provision in the early years and children’s later development:
The EPPSE project
The EPPSE project is a large-scale, longitudinal study of the progress and development of children from pre-school to post-compulsory education. It considers the aspects of pre-school provision which have a positive impact on children's attainment, progress and development. More than 3,000 children were assessed at the start of pre-school around the age of 3, and the quality of their early years provision assessed using the ECERS-R and ECERS-E. The children’s development was monitored until they entered school around the age of 5, and then at key points until the end of Key Stage 3 in secondary school. They are currently being followed through their final year of compulsory schooling and on to their post 16 educational, training and employment choices. The study applies an 'educational effectiveness' design to establish the factors related to children's progress, as well as using intensive case studies and classroom observations to' un-pack' effective practices. Click here to access the project website.


  • Improving Quality in the Early Years (Mathers, Singler and Karemaker, 2012): this research study by the University of Oxford, Daycare Trust and A+ Education explored the relationships between different quality measures used to assess early years provision in England. The study compared the grades awarded by Ofsted for over 1,000 nurseries with their scores on the research-validated ECERS and ITERS rating scales. The findings were used by Ofsted in the 2012 revision of the inspection framework. Click here to read publication.

  • The Evaluation the Graduate Leader Fund (Mathers et al., 2011): this government-funded evaluation was designed to assess the impact of the graduate-level Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) on the quality of provision for children aged 5 and under. The findings of the research have been used to support the government’s continued focus on graduate leadership for early years settings. Click here to read publication.

  • Evaluation of the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Old Children (Smith et al., 2009): this evaluation assessed the impact of the pilot programme providing free early education places to disadvantaged two year olds between 2006 and 2008. The research explored the effectiveness of targeting, parents’ experiences of taking up a pilot place, the quality of the pilot settings and the impact on the children’s development. The findings demonstrated impacts for children and families but emphasised the importance of quality; improvements in vocabulary and in parent-child relationships were only seen for those attending high quality places, as measured by the ITERS-R. The findings were used to inform the roll-out of the wider government initiative. Click here to read publication.

  • National Evaluation of the NNI: relationship between quality and children’s behavioural development (Mathers & Sylva, 2007): The aim of the Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative (NNI) was to reduce unemployment and child poverty by offering high quality, affordable childcare in the most disadvantaged areas of the country. This research was part of the NNI National Evaluation. It had two main aims: firstly, to assess whether Neighbourhood Nurseries were offering provision of sufficiently high quality, and secondly, to explore the effect of provision quality (and other setting characteristics) on children's behavioural development. Click here to read publication.


  • Quality of Childcare in the Millennium Cohort Study (Mathers, Sylva & Joshi, 2007): This study examined the quality of provision in a representative sample of 301 childcare settings in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), providing for children aged 3 - 5 years. The study looked at whether there is a relationship between the quality of childcare received by children and their home background. The report assesses improvements made by settings over the last five years by comparing the data with that collected at the start of the EPPE study. Click here to read publication.

  • Quality and Inequality (Mathers and Smees, 2014): This study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, compared the quality of early years providers serving deprived areas and children and those catering for the more advantaged. It found that quality among private and voluntary early years providers is lower in deprived areas. However nursery schools, and nursery classes in primary schools, offered comparable quality for all children regardless of their background. Click here to read the report.


RaisingQualityLine