Phase 2 of Early Years Special Initiative – Cohort 1 grantees selected
Fatherhood Institute

Fatherhood Insitute

Phase 2 of the Young People and Education Programme's Early Years Special Initiative was launched in January 2023 as the need to address inequalities in early years continues. 

After a robust application process early in 2023, six organisations have been selected to receive grants of up to £300,000, payable over a four-year funding period up to 2028.  All successful grantees demonstrated how their interventions would bring about an increase in children’s numeracy, literacy and language skills, an improvement in school readiness and help reduce the attainment gap in the Early Years. 

The six successful grantees are:

  • British Association for Early Childhood Education: providing training, mentoring and coaching support to practitioners to empower educators to develop an arts-rich creative approach in their teaching and improve school readiness.   
  • Coram Family and Childcare: a literacy-based project focussed on working with families with children most likely to start school with lower levels of emergent literacy. It will focus on sparking a love of reading for both parents and children and providing training and support for parents to develop confidence in reading with their children.  
  • The Fatherhood Institute: a reading for pleasure challenge aimed to engage fathers and male family members with reading with their children and developing their children’s school readiness.  Practitioners will be trained and supported to understand fathers’ impact on and improve their engagement with their children’s education. 
  • NCFE and Campaign for Learning: a numeracy and literacy project encompassing a family numeracy programme to improve the skills, knowledge and resources used by early years settings and in the home environment.  
  • National Day Nurseries Association: two programmes to support the educational development of children through Maths and Language & Communications Champions.  The Champions will be trained to lead early years practitioners to gain confidence with maths and literacy and to embed maths/literacy learning into play-based activities. 
  • Youth Sport Trust: a programme using physical literacy to accelerate school readiness, numeracy, language and literacy skills.  Practitioners are trained to use physical literacy to integrate play based learning and physical activity sessions, and to support parents to become active with their children at home. 

The six grantees will run as a cohort, coming together at regular intervals to discuss common themes, challenges and solutions, and to enable the sharing of knowledge and the dissemination of best practice.  We are pleased to announce that SQW has been appointed as the Learning Partner to work with the grantees and assist with the cohort approach.  

The Early Years Special Initiative was first launched by the Mercers' Company in 2019 (Phase 1), which saw three-year grants of up to a total of £350,000 made to ten organisations across three cohorts. 

Details of how to apply for funding for Phase 2, as part of cohort 2 will be available on the Mercers’ website at the beginning of 2024. 

Learn more about the Mercers’ Company Young People & Education Programme.