What are the Early Years Stronger Practice Hubs?

Early Years Stronger Practice Hubs provide advice, share good practice and offer evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners.

They are part of the Department for Education (DfE)'s Early Years Education Covid-19 Recovery Package, which also includes the early years experts and mentors programme.

The Early Years Stronger Practice Hubs programme launched in November 2022 and is supported by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and is funded for two years, until late 2024.

The 18 Hubs (two in each of the government office regions in England) provide advice, share good practice and offer evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners. 

Each Hub is led by a group-based (school-based, private, voluntary, or independent) early years provider and support settings to adopt well-evidenced practice improvements by:

  • Establishing regional networks of settings to share knowledge and effective practice. 
  • Proactively sharing information and advice on evidence-based approaches, for example, through newsletters, blogs and social media. 
  • Acting as a point of contact for bespoke advice, and signposting to other funded support. 
  • Working with EEF to select evidence-based programmes to fund and make available to settings. 
Infographic highlight the main aims of the Stronger Practice Hubs programme

Each Hub plays a key role in developing the types of support that they will offer to settings and providers in their area. Hub objectives are agreed locally as part of a co-produced process with the Hub, DfE and NCB, to produce a bespoke support offer for the local sector that meets the needs of early years professionals, and ultimately of children under 5 in the area.

As DfE's delivery partner for the programme, NCB leads the relationships with the Hubs, including providing oversight and quality assurance.

EEF is the programme's evidence partner, supporting the Hubs by providing accessible information on their Evidence Store about the evidence around early years pedagogy and processes that support practice change. It is also working with Hubs to fund access to evidence-based professional development programmes for Early Years settings. 

Each Early Years Stronger Practice Hub supports other early years settings regionally to improve outcomes for children in their local area across the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), but specifically focusing on areas of development that research shows have been most impacted by COVID-19: personal social and emotional development (PSED); communication and language, and early literacy and maths.

If you have questions about the Early Years Stronger Practice Hubs programme, please email the National Children’s Bureau at [email protected]