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Study of early education and development

Young girl painted hands
Published: July 2017


SEED survey data is now available for secondary analysis

Data from the first two waves of the SEED survey (when children were two and three years old) is available for secondary analysis from the UK Data Service (click here for wave 1 data, and here for wave 2 data)


A new report finds childminders boost language while nurseries help social skills.   


SEED is a major new longitudinal study into the uptake and impact of childcare on children. It is following around 6,000 two-year-olds from across England through to the end of KS1 between 2013 and 2020.


A new report 'Early education use and child outcomes up to age 3' published in July 2017. It is available as a full report and brief summary on the Department for Education's website.

Key findings 

You can explore child outcomes by childcare type in the table below. This analysis controls for other factors such as the home environment.

Care given in a one-to-one setting at age two, such as by childminders, had significant positive effects on children’s language development and behaviour by the time a child was three.

Group settings including nurseries were shown to have positive effects on children’s emotional development and improve how well they get along with other children.

Seed outcomes by childcare type 

Previous reports are available from the Department for Education's website

You can find out more about taking part in this research at SEED's dedicated participants' website

We're working with Frontier Economics, the University of Oxford and Action for Children, on behalf of the Department for Education.


We are triangulating a lot of different types of data about the same families. The study involves the following data collection strands:  

  • A longitudinal survey of around 6,000 families with preschool children from the age of two to the end of Key Stage 1 (age seven), and surveys of childcare staff and school teachers working with these children.
  • Around 1,000 visits to early years settings and to around 100 childminders to study the quality, characteristics and process of provision.
  • A value for money study involving the collection of cost data from 166 early years settings.
  • Case studies of good practice in centre-based early years settings.
  • A qualitative study with childminders.
  • A qualitative study about experiences of Early Years Pupil Premium.
  • A qualitative study of early education provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities involving interviews with families and staff at early years settings.