Developing National and International Policy
Research into the service costs and equity risks associated with the marketisation and privatisation of early childhood education and care (ECEC) carried out by researchers from UEL has directly influenced the development of national and international ECEC and child poverty policies.
The provision, quality and cost of early education and care (ECEC) are vital issues in many countries, especially in those like the UK that are actively seeking to provide all young children with high quality early education, as well as reliable childcare for working parents.
The International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC) was established at UEL by Professors Helen Penn and Eva Lloyd to meet a need for research into the viability, quality and accessibility of early childhood services in the UK and abroad, particularly where these receive public funding.
A "mixed economy" of childcare
Working together with a range of international scholars, Lloyd and Penn have highlighted the role of the "mixed economy" of childcare and have produced a significant and growing body of work on the growth of private for-profit childcare provision and its impact on the viability, quality, and sustainability of early childhood services and equity more generally.
Work by Penn has included an analysis of the financing and regulation of childcare across the EU and in the global South, notably in work for the supranational organization UNESCO, as well as a secondary analysis of the OECD Family Database for the UK Department for Education.
Lloyd's work focuses primarily on UK policy developments, including comparisons of UK childcare policy with that in the Netherlands.
With an interest in the impacts of childcare policy developments on disadvantaged families, Lloyd co-authored the influential 2009 evaluation by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) of the piloting of free education for disadvantaged two year olds.
This evaluation made an important contribution to the evidence base paving the way for a commitment to provide free education to 40% of two year olds by 2014/15. The programme was the Coalition Government's major child poverty initiative.
On behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Lloyd undertook a review of the research literature dealing with the links between early childhood education and care and child poverty reduction to inform its work on the development of a programme of anti -poverty strategies for the UK. A final report is available here.