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Practitioners back joint health and early years reviews

A study by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) of five areas piloting health checks and early years progress when a child reaches 24 to 30 months, found that joint assessment of young children’s health and developmental needs improves information sharing by staff and ensures early help is put in place as well as being effective in identifying hard-to-reach children and engaging their parents in services. 

The NCB study looked at how pilot sites in Islington, Leeds, Medway, Norfolk and Northamptonshire implemented the integrated Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) progress review alongside the Healthy Child Programme check.

The study said that one of the models tested – where early years staff took sole responsibility for carrying out both checks – had not worked well due to practitioners having insufficient training and experience to identify health problems. 

The NCB has also published a toolkit to help local teams successfully deliver the integrated review, which the government hopes will provide a more complete picture of a child's health and wellbeing.