Seminar Two

ICMEC seminar Thursday 31 May 2018

'Why are disadvantaged children less likely to use formal childcare than their better-off peers? Exploring the Matthew Effect across Europe'

For the second seminar of the 11th international seminar series, ICMEC hosted Dr Wim Van Lancker, Assistant Professor in Social Work and Social Policy at the Centre for Sociological Research at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and Affiliate Researcher with the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

In the course of his career to date, Dr Van Lancker has undertaken extensive research into the impact of the child-centred social investment strategy in 27 EU member states. A consistent finding of research in this area is that the use and therefore the benefits of formal childcare are socially stratified. Public investment in early childhood services disproportionally benefits better-off families, an effect often referred to as the Matthew Effect (ME).

In his presentation, Dr Van Lancker explored the possible roles of supply- and demand-side funding strategies as well as social norms affecting this situation and examined how government interventions might have to change. You can find a link to the PDF version here.

A response to his presentation and introduction to the discussion with the audience was provided by Dr Jana Javornik, Senior Lecturer in Social and Public Policy in UEL's School of Education and Communities and Director of the Noon Centre for Equality and Diversity in Business at UEL. 

For the most recent paper on the Matthew Effect in European childcare see here.

Seminar  One

The first seminar in the 11th ICMEC international seminar series took place on Monday 11 December 2017 at UEL's Docklands campus. The topic was:

A 'level playing field' for funded early years provision in England? The unintended consequences of policy goals and funding methods on take-up and social mixing

ICMEC welcomed a renowned team of researchers from the London School of Economics who have for years studied the impact of successive governments' policy goals and funding regimes on the delivery of funded early education of 3 and 4 year olds within the English childcare market. A longstanding aim of the government has been to deliver an 'equitable distribution' of funding across this market. However, research led by Professor Anne West finds the consequences of the introduction of the Early Years National Funding Formula in 2017 are likely to be unpredictable for the amount, sustainability and quality of provision and may impact on the delivery of 30 hours free childcare.

Using the National Pupil Database, Dr Kitty Stewart, Dr Tammy Campbell and Dr Ludovica Gambaro (now at the German Institute for Economic Research) are investigating take-up of the free entitlement among three-year-olds. They find that almost 30% of children in low-income families did not take up their free place as soon as they became eligible. In further work, they explore the extent to which children from low and higher income groups attend the same or different early education settings. They also examine how far the pattern of local provision (the mix of maintained, private and voluntary providers) is associated with both take-up and clustering by income group. For data reasons, the analyses focus on children who entered reception in 2012; in the seminar the researchers reflected on what may have changed since then. The seminar was chaired by Professor Eva Lloyd, ICMEC's director.

Links to the PP presentations used by Professor West, Dr Campbell and Dr Gambaro can be found here:

West PPTCampbell PPTGambaro PPT.

If you need further information you can contact members of this research team at the London School of Economics on their LSE email addresses or Professor Lloyd: