Press release

Parents to get complete picture of child development

From September 2015, health and early years practitioners will work side by side to improve outcomes for young children.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Children eating

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter and Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah will today (21 November 2014) announce that integrated health and early years reviews for 2 to 2-and-a-half-year-olds will be rolled out next year.

Currently, health and early years reviews of young children are carried out separately. By integrating them, parents will get a more complete picture of their child, drawing on the expertise of health visitors and early years practitioners.

Age 2 is a key development point where problems such as speech delay and behavioural issues emerge. Integrating these assessments will help avoid duplication and work towards giving parents the support they need.

Integrated reviews will mean bringing together the healthy child programme review at 2 to 2-and-a-half and the early years progress check at age 2 years.

The announcement comes as the Department for Education publishes a report, led by the National Children’s Bureau on a 2-year pilot of integrated reviews from 2012 to 2013.

The report found that parents preferred this joined-up approach, and take-up of the reviews increased as a result. Integrated reviews will mean health and early years professionals will share information and may carry out the reviews together, giving parents a better picture of their child’s progress and reducing duplication.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:

This report shows that integrating health and early years reviews is better for children and their parents - giving a more complete picture of their child’s development and supporting children to the best start in life.

Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah said:

The early years count and this new approach will reassure parents they have the information they need to support their children when they are growing up to give them the best possible start in life.

This is a fantastic example of government departments working together to improve the services on offer to parents.

Notes to editors

  1. The pilot ran for 2 years between 2012 and 2013, and included 10 different locations.

  2. The report recommended that local areas should decide the best approach to integrating the 2 reviews, based on local need/circumstances.

  3. Read the full implementation study: ‘Implementation study: integrated review at age 2 to 2-and-a-half years’.

  4. The National Children’s Bureau has published 2 further documents which will help local areas prepare for implementation of the integrated review by September 2015.

  5. The Early Intervention Foundation has today (21 November 2014) published a report, ‘Getting it right for families: review of integrated systems and promising practice in early years’, which has been welcomed by government.

  6. See ‘Healthy Child Programme: review of children aged 2’.

  7. Read the Early years progress check guidance.

  8. All 3- and 4-year-olds now receive 15 hours of free childcare a week. We have also extended this to around 40% of 2-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, and councils have a statutory duty to provide this.

  9. From next year the introduction of tax-free childcare will give 1.9 million families up to £2,000 support per child, and for working families on the lowest incomes up to 85% of their childcare costs will be met under Universal Credit.

DfE enquiries

Published 21 November 2014