Best start in speech, language and communication (SLC): Published by Public Health England, this guidance is provided to help improve SLC in the early years using a whole systems approach and to reduce inequalities in SLC. It also includes guidance for practitioners on an Early Language Identification Measure and Intervention tool for use with children aged 2 to 2 and a half.

Data and tools

CHLDRN: Childhood Local Data on Risks and Needs: Produced by the Children’s Commissioner, this tool provides a complete profile of childhood vulnerability in England, at a national and a local level. Using data over 100 indicators across different age ranges and types of risk, it allows to explore the different trends across England. This resource is aimed to make data more user friendly to allow access to policy makers, researchers, journalists, and analysts. While most of the data comes from official published statistics, some is data collected/produced themselves.

Reports and briefings

Ofsted Annual Report 2019/20: education, children’s services and skills: The Annual Report looks at schools, early years, further education and skills and children’s social care for the academic year 2019 to 2020. This year has two very different halves - the ‘pre-COVID’ period from September 2019 to March 2020, and the ‘post-COVID’ period that followed. This report reflects the divided year and their insights from each period, while also highlighting the commonalities across time and remits.


Characterizing newborn and older infant entries into care in England between 2006 and 2014: Infants comprise a large proportion of children who enter care with the increase largely driven a rise in newborn entries into care. The study aimed to characterise infant entries to care in England using data from all children who first entered care during infancy, between April 2006 and March 2014 (n = 42,000). Authors compared sociodemographic and care characteristics by age at first entry and employed latent class analysis to uncover any common pathways through care. 40% entered care as a newborn; among those who were followed up many were restored to parental care or exited care to live with extended family and one in six infants had particularly unstable care trajectories over early childhood. The papers recognize the need for an evidence-based public health approach to reduce infant entries into care, stressing the importance of data linkage.

Global burden of acute lower respiratory infection associated with human metapneumovirus in children under 5 years in 2018: There is no global burden estimates of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in children associated with human metapneumovirus. The paper aimed to estimate age-stratified human metapneumovirus associated ALRI global incidence (using generalised linear mixed models) using a systematic review of 119 published and 40 unpublished studies. In 2018, there was an estimated 14.2 million children under 5 years with human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI cases, 6,43,000 hospital admissions and 16,100 deaths. The data also showed that infants younger than one year had disproportionately high risks of severe human metapneumovirus infections across all World Bank income regions and all child mortality settings. The research highlights the importance of continued efforts to improve outcomes among young infants in low- and middle-income countries.

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