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Warwick Consortium to evaluate A Better Start

Researchers from the University of Warwick are leading a large, multidisciplinary consortium to evaluate a 10 year study designed to improve the life chances of children 0-3: Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start.

The Big Lottery Fund is investing £215 million over 10 years in five areas:

  • Blackpool
  • Bradford
  • Lambeth
  • Nottingham
  • Southend

Local consortia of voluntary and community sector organisations, health services and local authorities will provide programmes and initiatives designed to improve the outcomes for children in three key areas of development:

  • Social and emotional development
  • Communication and language development
  • Nutrition

A Better Start is a ground-breaking ten year test and learn initiative to see what methods are the best for laying the foundations for 0-3-year-olds to improve their future health, social and educational outcomes and put evidence based early intervention and prevention at the centre of service delivery and practice.

The Warwick Consortium is led by Professor Jane Barlow, Warwick Medical School (WMS, Director) with Professor Geoff Lindsay, Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR, Deputy Director) and Professor Stavros Petrou (WMS) from the University of Warwick, and includes IPSOS-Mori and Bryson Purdon Social Research, along with researchers from several other universities:

  • Professor Kathy Sylva and Dr Sandra Mathers (Oxford)
  • Professor Debra Bick (Kings College, London)
  • Professor Carolyn Summerbell (Durham)
  • Professor Vivette Glover (Imperial College)
  • Professor Alastair Leyland (Glasgow)

Jane Barlow said: ‘A Better Start is an innovative programme which has the potential to have substantial benefits for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The research will examine the impact of the programmes and initiatives delivered during A Better Start on children and their parents and the lessons to be learned from the intervention. Our evaluation is designed to include dissemination of findings though a range of learning opportunities during the course of the study, as well as the outcome findings available at the end, in order to inform the development of effective policy and practice, for the benefit of children and parents across the country.’