Diversity and inclusion in early years

Within early years, the importance of representation is a topic of continual discussion.

The Early Years and Childcare Service commit to standing up against racism and promoting racial diversity and inclusion. We aim to support the early years sector with:

  • Supporting staff and early years settings to identify and challenge racism and discrimination
  • Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Championing the rights and needs of children in the communities we serve
  • Working within the Equality Act to ensure that everyone is treated fairly
  • Sharing key messages and resources that promote equality, inclusion and diversity
  • Supporting anti-racist practice in early years

The Childcare Act enables a framework for delivery under three key areas:

  1. The early years outcomes duties require the provision of early years services and joint working between agencies to reduce inequalities, improve outcomes and narrow the gap
  2. The sufficiency duties require local authorities to ensure sufficient early education and childcare for the early years entitlements at two, three and four, and that they enable parents to take part in employment and employment-related activities (childcare for children aged 0-14, or 18 for children with a disability)
  3. The information duties require local authorities to ensure information for both childcare providers and families in order to meet their other childcare duties

The responsibilities on local authorities were further defined by the Children and Families Act 2014. This seeks to improve services for vulnerable children and to support families. It underpins wider reforms and policies to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background. This is further strengthened by the Equalities Act 2010 (which superseded the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and the Code of Practice Guidance 2015.Legislation is also underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1992). The Convention has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights.

Supporting disadvantaged children

Evidence shows that disadvantaged children can face additional challenges in reaching their potential at school. Often they do not perform as well as other pupils. Early years settings should monitor disadvantaged children's progress to ensure they narrow gaps in outcomes. 

Pupil Premium is funding to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. This can be used to improve teaching quality, provide targeted academic support, and for wider strategies to address non-academic barriers to success. This can include attendance, behaviour, and social and emotional support.

Find out more about Pupil Premium on the GOV.UK website.

Supporting English as a second language (EAL)

You may have some children in your setting who speak two (bilingual) or more languages (multilingual). Even if practitioners do not speak the language they can still support children with EAL. It is important to understand and respect the child's linguistic and cultural background.

EAL resources