Institute of Education


IOE contributes to OECD study on children's early development

11 July 2017

Child with tablet

Iram Siraj, Professor of Early Childhood Education at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is working with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on an international pilot study to improve children's early development in England.

The Department for Education announced on Thursday that schools in England will take part in a pilot of the OECD's International Early Learning and Child Well-Being Study (IELS). IELS will assess, through tablet-based stories and games, five-year-olds' social behaviour, empathy, memory and self-regulation, as well as their early skills in language, literacy and numeracy. It will also take into account family characteristics, home environment and children's individual circumstances.

Professor Siraj is a member of the OECD's technical advisory group. Commenting on the study, she said: "This study will provide valuable insights into how five-year-olds develop, and these will benefit both professionals and parents who want to know how best to support their children's early home learning.

"The holistic approach of the IELS will give us a better understanding of young children's social and emotional well-being, not just their academic skills. It will be carried out using enjoyable, age-appropriate assessments with stories and games by professionals who are used to working sensitively with this age-group."

Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, Andreas Schleicher, said:

"The OECD welcomes England's participation in this study on Early Learning and Child Well-being. England is clearly prioritising the importance of children's early development and this study will provide reliable information that will help England to improve the early learning experiences for this and subsequent cohorts of children."

A field trial, run by NFER, will take place between October and December, involving around 300 children in 20 schools or childcare settings.

Media contact

James Russell
Tel: 020 3108 8516
Email: james.russell@ucl.ac.uk

Media coverage


Image: courtesy of Devon Christopher Adams via Flickr (CC 2.0).