Our aim was for Birth to 5 Matters to be “guidance by the sector, for the sector”.
Throughout the process of developing the guidance there have been opportunities for practitioners to be involved in drafting and commenting:
- October 2020 – initial consultation with the sector on the preferred content and format for the guidance – read a report of the feedback and the actions arising from it
- November 2020 – working groups were assigned to draft sections of the new guidance, which were then collated and edited by the project team
- December 2020 – sector consultation on the first draft of the guidance– read a report of the feedback and the actions arising from it
- January 2021 – working groups and the project team reviewed the feedback on the first draft and incorporated it into the second draft
- February 2021 – sector consultation on the second draft of the guidance– read a report of the feedback and the actions arising from it
- March 2021 – working groups and project team incorporated further feedback into the final version of the guidance, which was published on 31 March 2021.
Each working group was asked to provide a bibliography to indicate the key research which underpinned their work. You can find these linked from each section of the guidance, in addition to suggestions for further reading and resources to support practice.
To supplement the responses from the online surveys, we also held a number of focus group meetings with practitioners to ensure we gained the perspectives of those who were less experienced or less highly qualified than our survey respondents. As the project developed, we also consulted with reference groups through Early Years Coalition member organisations.
The parent and child voice
While Birth to 5 Matters is provided for practitioners and parents are not the intended audience, we did nevertheless seek the views on the document draft of a small number of parents, through Coalition members. Within the short time scale of the project it was not possible to consult with children in an ethical and thorough way, but we gathered children’s voices through a small survey of what is important in early years settings to parents and children, and conducted a literature review of existing research offering children’s voices. You can read a summary of that work plus the resulting bibliography here. In addition, children’s perspectives were represented through the knowledge and care of the many contributors who are attentive to, and respectful of, the children with whom they work.