Department gives evidence to Parliament on Evidence-based early years intervention inquiry

Professor Edward Melhuish (Professor of Human Development, Department of Education), gave evidence to The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on Tuesday 20 March 2018 to support an inquiry examining how adverse childhood experiences impact later life and how research is being used to create effective support interventions and health policies to address this in the UK.

The aims of the inquiry, which began in October 2017, have been to examine the strength of the evidence linking adverse childhood experiences with long-term negative outcomes the evidence base for related interventions, whether evidence is being used effectively in policy-making, and the support and oversight for research into this area.

The witness panel, including Ailsa Swarbrick (Director, Family Nurse Partnership National Unit), Matt Buttery (Chief Executive, Triple P UK), Jen Lexmond (Chief Executive Officer, EasyPeasy ) and Professor Edward Melhuish (University of Oxford) answered questions on the type, scope and effectiveness of current and related interventions and their related health and education services. The inquiry drew upon Professor Melhuish’s research including his evaluation of the government’s Sure Start programme – an early intervention programme targeting disadvantaged young children and their families – as well as ‘The Study of Early Education and Development’ (SEED),  ISOTIS and the ‘Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education’ (EPPSE) projects.

It is hoped that by understanding the effects of adverse childhood experiences the UK can be better prepared to prevent poor developmental outcomes for children including mental health conditions, and reduce other subsequent problems associated with such experiences, including those in education, employment and criminal justice. Doing so would benefit at-risk children, adults affected by earlier bad experiences, the education and health systems, and, ultimately, UK taxpayers.

Professor Melhuish’s work uses theoretically driven research to address applied issues and policy questions to produce improvements in development and well-being in topics from the development of pre-term babies to early childhood education and care (ECEC) and the evaluation of policy initiatives.

Discover more about Professor Melhuish’s research at the department, here.

Watch the meeting in full, here.

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