‘Early years childcare – social exclusion, marketisation, and policy’ In conversation with Professor Eva Lloyd OBE

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In this podcast we talk to Professor Eva Lloyd OBE, Professor of Early Childhood in the School of Education and Communities at UEL. Eva is also Director of The International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC).

Eva discusses social exclusion and child poverty, what looks and feels like for those who are in it. Why early years provision is treated so differently than to later educational provision in the UK. Eva looks at the history of early years childcare, Sure Start, the marketisation of childcare, and the impact children growing up with disadvantages.

Plus Eva looks opening up the debate and influencing policy in relation to childcare, and how the pandemic is impacting on early years childcare.

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Professor Eva Lloyd OBE
Professor Eva Lloyd OBE

Eva Lloyd OBE is Professor of Early Childhood School of Education and Communities and Director International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC). Eva’s research focuses on the marketisation and privatisation of childcare and its relation to child poverty and social exclusion.

Eva Lloyd has been Professor of Early Childhood in the School of Education and Communities at UEL since 2013, having joined UEL in 2007 as Reader in Early Childhood. She is Director of The International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare which she co-founded in 2007 with Professor – now emerita – Helen Penn. For over three decades Eva has specialised in the study of national and international early childhood education and care policies and systems, particularly marketised systems, and their impact on children growing up with disadvantage.

Eva has extensive experience working with national and international policymakers at central government level and with non-governmental organisations. She co-authored a range of UK government commissioned policy studies and evaluations. Currently she advises the Irish government on funding models for Ireland’s childcare strategy.

Funders of research and evaluation projects that Eva Lloyd has led or been part of in recent years include: the British Academy the Department for Education, Eurofound, the Nuffield Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, the Department of Health and Social Care, HMRC, London Borough of Newham, the Resolution Foundation and Ipsos-MORI.

Previously Eva Lloyd held academic posts at Bristol’s School for Policy Studies, University College London’s Institute of Education and the University of London’s Bedford College, alongside honorary positions at Cambridge University and the Queen’s University Belfast. In 2017 she spent a semester as Visiting Professor at the University of Muenster, Germany. Fifteen years of Eva’s career were devoted to working for British NGOs. She held policy and research positions at Save the Children UK and at Barnardo’s and was CEO of the National Early Years Network.

In 2013 Eva Lloyd was awarded an Honorary OBE for services to education.

Bio and image via University of East London


Interviewer: Hello, welcome to the In-Conversation Podcast Series for the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health or ACAMH for short. I’m Jo Carlowe, a freelance journalist with a specialism in psychology. Today I’m interviewing Eva Lloyd, OBE, Professor of Early Childhood at the University of East London and Director of the International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Child Care. Eva’s research focuses on the marketisation and privatisation of child care and its relation to child poverty and social exclusion. If you’re a fan of our In-Conversation series, please subscribe on iTunes or your preferred streaming platform. Let us know how we did with the rating or review and do share with friends and colleagues. Eva, welcome. Thank you for joining me. Can you say a bit about how you got into the work you do today?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Yes, Jo, it’s a real pleasure to be here and to do this podcast for ACAMH. In the early 80s I got BSE in psychology from Northeast London Polytechnic now, which is now the University of East London, and I looked for a job and I found a position as a Research Assistant at the Thomas Coram Research Unit based at the Institute of Education, now part of University College London. That’s a research unit specialised in studies often commissioned by government departments of children and families and young people.

So there was that policy angle straightaway, and I joined a study that was a longitudinal study of day care, and that combination of policy relevant research and the issues around childcare and early education of families and young children got me completely hooked.

One person who really influenced my career was Professor Barbara Tizard, who was director of the unit at the time and a developmental psychologist, and she really became a lodestar for my thinking about the way we work with children, look after children, help children learn. She also did a lot of work on residential child care and her ideas about the need of children for staff that they’re familiar with and the need for consistency amongst the adults that are there to look after them and teach them they are as important now as they were then.

They haven’t changed, and the other thing that she emphasised a lot was the importance of children’s peers, their friends in the earlier setting. She also was entirely clear on the importance of the staff, the practitioners working with children and of course, she knew they are the biggest influence on how children experience this form of provision and what they take away from it and, of course we’ve done very badly in that area. So that is those practitioners and leaders working in the private sector that they are still extremely badly paid and have extremely bad employment conditions.

In fact, the Low Pay Commission thinks that proportionately they are the worst paid sector of our entire workforce. Another colleague was Professor Ann Phoenix, she wasn’t a professor then, but I had the opportunity to co-edit with her a book on motherhood, and motherhood meaning practices and ideologies, and I think from that title you can gather that this was really a book that psychologists, all female psychologists, questions how motherhood has come to be really socially constructed, and that’s the way we constructed motherhood and the mother’s role had political implications and political consequences.

Interviewer: How did you come to be interested particularly in issues around social exclusion and child poverty?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Several factors influenced me. Some personal and some professional. Personal ones was really the experience of bringing up two children during the 80s and the 90s in the London Borough of Hackney. One of the poorest boroughs in the country and indeed one of the six most deprived boroughs in England, and I did that largely as a single mother, and inequality and poverty were all around us. I could see the sharp contrast with the comfort in which I was able to raise my children even as a single parent family with a good job.

Now, professionally my work, my early work at Thomas Coram Research Unit also informed those perspectives because we were constantly arguing and demonstrating the importance of good quality and publicly supported provision for all children, and that required particular policy measures to make sure that children with different forms of disadvantage, it might be disability or it might be not having English as a first language, having a different cultural background in a very diverse community, that they would all have the same opportunities, but I needed more job security than as a contract researcher.

So I actually moved out of academic research and I moved into the voluntary sector and I worked for Save the Children and for Barnardo’s and for an agency called the National Early Years, where network in policy and in research and development, and those agencies and the work I did for them were very much focussed on disadvantaged, and also certainly in the case of Save the Children on the structural factors that were responsible for such disadvantage, you know, structural factors, including structural racism.

My focus there remained on young children and their families in all these agencies, and after 15 years in the voluntary sector I finally returned to academia where I still feel I’m pretty much at home, and I joined the University of Bristol, the School for Policy Studies, where I left the early childhood studies degree, and I joined one of their research groups which was the Group for Poverty and Social Justice with David Gordon and with Christina Pantazis. I worked on a book that was the write up of the Millennium Survey.

A big survey carried out with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and I contributed to write up the book Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain. There’s a chapter on the analysis of the poverty and social exclusion as it affected children then in Britain, and the third editor of that book was Professor Ruth Levitas, sociologist at Bristol, who again was a huge influence on my thinking.

And I was lucky to work with a team that she led on a commissioned report, a report that was commissioned by the Department of Communities and Local Government, and that report was again on poverty and social exclusion. The multi-dimensional analysis of social exclusion. It was published in 2007. If I look at which of the publications I have my name on by now is most frequently cited, that is always that report.

Interviewer: Eva, can you paint a picture of what social exclusion actually, sort of, looks like and feels like for those people who were in it?

Professor Eva Lloyd: If we start with the example of early childhood education and care, then we can see that not all children have access to a service that is now universal early education. You know, an entitlement to 15 hours early education per week during term time. So it might be by reason of disability or it might be by reason of parents working as home workers, working very difficult hours and not being able to take you to the setting for the two and a half hours a morning or an afternoon.

The other part of social exclusion very much as we studied it was children’s experiences, living in a family that regularly had their utilities cut off. You know, no heating, no light. That sort of thing. Where food was unreliable. You know, that parents couldn’t afford to give children three meals a day or a hot meal a day and so on, and their inability, again, thinking of young children, their inability to take part in things that other children could do, even with in an earlier setting, like going on trips when a bit of extra money was required to do that.

Having holidays, and of course one of the worst things about that is that more than ten years after this survey the situation as far as child poverty is concerned in this country is considerably worse.

Interviewer: I want to go back to, well go to 2007. So in 2007 you co-founded the Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Child Care. What was happening around that time?

Professor Eva Lloyd: In 2007 I joined the University of East London and I joined my friend and colleague, Professor Helen Penn, who was Professor of Early Childhood there at the time. I came in as a reader and both of us had been following the early childhood policy rollout by the Labour government with great interest and with great admiration, because the 1997/2010 Labour government made a huge change to the policy scene as far as early childhood education and care were concerned, but we also watched policies being rolled out with a degree of caution and concern.

First of all, for the first time, early education was introduced as a universal entitlement for all children aged three to five, and it was across the UK and it was free at the point of delivery. Of course, 1998 Devolution Act, second year of Labour government meant that the delivery format changed a little bit in Northern Ireland and Scotland and Wales, but essentially it was the same entitlement and it was all a universal entitlement.

So that was one side of what the Labour government did, and on the other side they also started supporting parents with childcare costs because apart from this service for three to five year olds, parents were also incurring childcare costs for younger children. Those under three and for additional hours. So there were subsidies through the tax system and through the benefits system for parents. One of the problems with those subsidies was, and this has never been resolved, is that credits were paid retrospectively. So parents had to find the money in advance to pay for childcare costs and then they were retrospectively reimbursed, and that is still happening and it’s a huge problem, which means that many parents are excluded from making use of them because they simply cannot find those upfront payments. And nothing has changed there.

And Labour inherited a system of early childhood care and education which has always been split in really unhelpful ways. Early education is this country. Nursery education has a very different history from childcare. It goes back to the 19th century. It was primarily seen as a sort of compensatory service, later became more accessible, but never fully accessible.

That’s why we had playgroups for many years. You know, mothers themselves organising themselves to deliver services that were like what you could get in a nursery school, and we’ve also as a result had a very split workforce because what we got was nursery education in schools and we had that in playgroups and community nurseries and so on. Then the childcare, of course, was heavily subsidised during World War two and not as a result of different attitudes and different political views and so on.

So support for childcare was very, very badly needed because in those years preceding this Labour government, women had to return to the workforce again in large numbers. Really, women with young children returning to the workforce was a big trend across Europe, well before governments responded to this. What we see then is we’ve got this private market of community nurseries, small day nurseries where parents paid for childcare and we had early education in schools, and what it was really was what we call a mixed economy of childcare and early education.

And what the Labour government then did was to support these markets with subsidies. So chose not to expand the number of nursery classes in primary schools or build more nursery schools, but what he did instead is it enabled private providers of childcare to deliver early education with the help of a direct subsidy. A certain quality criteria were introduced and they had to use a curriculum which became what we now call the Early Years Foundation stage, and they gave parents money, never all parents.

You know, I think even at the height of this no more than about a third of parents were able to access these tax credits and so on, but they gave them money to spend in the market because there’s a great belief that the market offers choice, it offers diversity and the competition you find in a market will increase quality because parents will go for the best. Well in the childcare market wherever you find them it doesn’t work like this.

Parents are reluctant to shop around once they’ve made a choice. Parents tend to choose a place that is close to their home. In London they wouldn’t particularly want to go with a six month old baby on the tube very early, in the rush hour. So all these things make this a very atypical market. The other thing we saw happening during those years was that as soon as sizeable public subsidies became available very many businesses became interested. You see a growth of private for profit providers, really quite explosive growth at the expense very often of smaller community nurseries.

What we then also see happening was that many of the settings became more inaccessible for children whose parents didn’t have a lot of money, because it became uninteresting for providers to offer places to children who just wanted the early education entitlement, those free 15 hours. They wanted children whose parents were working, preferably working full-time and whose parents would be paying for additional hours, and there was no control over what fees they could charge for those additional hours and, of course, for the children under three who were not yet getting a subsidy from the government.

So what we saw then is that if you were a parent asking for one of those early education places in the provision that was private for profit provision, you to be on the waiting list for a very long time and oops, you never got in, you know, and now your child is ready to go to school. And of course, these days we do send children to school, to reception classes soon after their fourth birthday. Few parents know, of course, that they can decline the offer of a place in the school.

They can stay in childcare longer, especially in a day nursery. Day nursery would be very happy to deliver the same curriculum and in a familiar setting. However, those dynamics were very strong and Helen Penn and I were worried about them, and that’s why we set up the research centre to explore with scholars in other countries, network of other scholars how these marketisation works out in a range of other countries.

You see it very much in English language countries and you see, of course, the private market in countries, for instance, in Sub-Saharan in Africa where governments do not have much public funding to invest in the service. So there is a service for parents who can pay or children get nothing or they might get poor services. Helen Penn and I published a book in 2012, Childcare Markets can They Deliver an Equitable Service where we brought together contributions from our network about a range of different countries, including Canada, Hong Kong, United States, talking about the impact of marketisation of early education and childcare, on children’s experiences and outcomes and on families.

Interviewer: I want to move on to what’s happened since 2007, but I just want to know how did Sure Start fit in within this?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Yes, I remember well being involved from the start in thinking and going to seminars at the Treasury and it was very exciting. You think about these location based service that would be for all four year old children, you know, all families with a child of that age. What was very striking that the services that were going to be on offer did not include early education and childcare, and the Sure Start Centres did embody a type of centre that I, for one, and other scholars like Peter Moss and Helen Penn would like to see at the centre of communities, to be both universal and specialised.

To be able to bring together all the professionals who work with young children and families to give extra support where necessary, but I think Sure Start also suffers from its own success. When they were rolled out widely as children’s centres, there was a lot of dilution of what they could be. What was missed is that very soon it became obvious they’re also very expensive. There is absolutely no doubt that supporting early year’s provision of that kind and just an early education childcare is expensive for governments.

Therefore, there was more of a tendency to allow them to be brokers in the community for parents and children to make contact with other services, and they simply also lost a lot of money and more and more were closed when they had beautiful purpose-built buildings and so on and of course, that’s accelerated since 2010. That is a major problem.

Interviewer: Eva, why do you think early years provision is treated so differently than to later educational provision in the UK?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Well, it’s interesting because some of the early years provision, nursery education in nursery classes in primary schools is within the education systems, but some of it is treated the same and some of it isn’t, and that’s been a debate in many countries. That debate still rages in certain quarters, although I would say across the early year’s sector we would generally consider that these two things are entirely integrated care and education. Of course, this form of provision is not compulsory.

It’s not compulsory education. You don’t have to take it up, although wherever good quality early years provision is offered parents do take it up for their children.

Interviewer: Should it be compulsory, in your view?

Professor Eva Lloyd: I don’t think in England we need to consider that. What we need to consider is that it is inclusive and that we do bring in all the children who might enjoy being there and who might benefit from it and we don’t exclude children. For instance, children whose first language isn’t English or children who have a disability or learning disabilities.

But in France in 2019 early education was made compulsory from three to six. So there the country decided that they needed another measure to bring children in for the service that was so good for them. Now you can have mixed views on that because there’s really no point in aggravating children’s disadvantage by locking up their parents in prison because they haven’t sent them to nursery. You know, it does need a different and primarily educational approach to the parents and practical support of what circumstances are these parents living in who do not send their children to L’ecole Maternelle, and that’s the same here.

We do need to do that outreach and that is very difficult for the private sector. Not for profit sector. It’s better at engaging with communities and doing that outreach to bring in children who otherwise might not attend. Nursery schools are the leading, shining example of how to do that but it is difficult because, I mean, just marketing a service doesn’t mean that parents will feel that that’s right for their children and that everybody might benefit.

Interviewer: I want to focus a bit more on disadvantaged children. So for the past three decades you’ve specialised in the study of national and international early childhood education and care policies and systems. What have your findings revealed about the impact of marketised systems on children growing up with disadvantage?

Professor Eva Lloyd: You have really social segregation in these services, that doesn’t promote cohesion. It goes for the well-to-do children as much as for the children growing up with disadvantage that they’re not exposed to other ways of living, other cultures, a variety of experiences, and yet, you know, it’s the same humanity.

Now, of course, this country has a long history of socially segregated education which influences our society, and it would be the early years would be the obvious place to make a difference, to show the importance and the value of inclusion across a wide spectrum of issues.

Interviewer: What in the perfect world would that look like?

Professor Eva Lloyd: The perfect world is an illusion, but let’s start with Norway. Why I think Norway is such an interesting example is because it does have a mixed economy of childcare. It does have a kind of market. So Norway has, first of all, viewed early childhood as a stage of life in its own right and services for this stage in human’s lives should be seen as a special kind of service. They don’t see these services as part of the education system, although they absolutely support very highly qualified practitioners, graduates and highly qualified assistance to the graduates.

Norway has uncoupled the provision of early childhood education and care fully integrated from the employment status of the parents. This is a service that is for children and all children can attend it and children do attend it more than any other country in Europe and beyond. Norway has succeeded in attracting children living with disadvantage. That is children in minority ethnic groups. Families who have recently come to live in the country and so on, but they’ve done extremely well on that and most children from the age of one and full-time, which is up to, you know, 48 hours a week or 50 hours a week.

Now, the Norwegian government does pay about 80% of this service, and paying 80% of the cost is what it takes a government to secure a high quality service with a well remunerated workforce, with good outcomes for children. Now, it’s a fact that at the moment certainly, and I’m working on another project with the woman who’s in charge of early childhood education and care at the Department of Education in Norway, and it is very clear that the private for profit sector, which is not very high profile there, does want a place at a table. At the moment the mixed economy largely consists of state provision run by local authorities, complemented by not-for-profit provision.

Churches, all kinds of institutions all have to meet the same conditions and apply the same employment regulations to their staff. They have to apply the same fee caps on parental contributions. All parents contribute, unless you’re very poor, but every year in starting the Norwegian parliament there is a debate on where we shall place the fee cap this year. It is seen that there should not be more than about six% of household income, whether it be a single parent or a two parent family that should be paid out for childcare and early education.

Of course, in this country, the balance between different costs within a household is distorted by childcare costs, and we live in a country where housing costs are high and where transport costs are very high compared to other parts of Europe.

Interviewer: I want to ask, how do you disseminate your findings to have the greatest impact?

Professor Eva Lloyd: That’s really a question to which I’ve not yet found a satisfactory answer, but I’ve been looking for it. Of course, for years I’ve been studying the relationship between research and policy making and research and practise, and I’ve written about this. I lecture on it. I can say that, of course, individual studies face huge challenges in making any impact. You can’t really expect policy-makers or practitioners to find out about them and take note of what they mean.

Unless those studies maybe are taken up by one of the policy think tanks and so on to reach their intended audience, but of course in this country we have every reason to be proud of being really at the start of the evidence based policy and practise movement started in medicine where we developed the research synthesis method of systematic reviewing. I’ve been involved in systematic reviewing with Helen Penn and other colleagues. We formed the first early systematic reviewing group that was part of the epicentre.

The epicentre is one of the centres based at University College that specialised in promoting systematic reviewing and developing the methods for this in education primarily and other areas of social welfare. So this form of research synthesis makes findings usable and accessible to policy-makers. NICE uses them a lot and the key features are that once reviewers have assessed the quality of the reviewed studies and that includes the reporting quality, very important, they then assign a weight of evidence rating to those studies.

So is this really giving us evidence that we can rely on, and that’s very important, but as you can guess from what I’m saying, this is quite an involved process? It is thought that a systematic review takes no less than six months to do properly with a team, a small team, because working with others, of course, prevents to an extent bias and so on in interpreting findings. Attracting media attention can stimulate popular debate and popular debate in turn can influence policy, and we certainly would need a national debate about if we wanted to move towards a Norwegian system.

Something that you and I were discussing just now. The conversation is one organisation, you know, which tries to share research findings or does share research findings with the general public, and their articles are free to reproduce in the press. To give an example of one of the pieces I did for them in 2018, I contributed a piece on the early childhood workforce, under-paid and under for funding.

The reality of childcare work in the UK, and it ended up being reproduced in 128 media outlets up and down the country. So actually I wanted people to think about the issues.

Interviewer: I mean, you’ve been very successful then in opening up the debate and influencing policy. You’ve worked with a raft of government and non-governmental organisations and have also UK commissioned policy studies and evaluations. Eva, can you highlight some of the ones that have had the greatest influence or that you feel are especially important?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Thank you for your kind words, and let’s go with what I think is especially important. I think influence waxes and wanes. The time I worked at Save the Children, I was very involved with their work opening up prison visitor centres. First in women’s prisons, and then they were involved with supporting people who did this in men’s prisons as well and they were very involved with the rights and needs of prisoner’s children, and this work was high profile for a while.

It was influential. If you remember, you may not, Lord Woolf mentioned the importance of this work in his report on the 1990 Strangeways prison riots in Manchester, but of course the salience and the profile changes over time, and there was change within both the penal system and the judicial system as a result of his work. The second example of which is something that I hope will have influence, it has the potential to be influential, is very enjoyable work that I’m doing as a member of an expert group that has been commissioned by the Irish Minister at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. That group is working on recommendations for the government on how they might fund their early childhood education and care system, which is in a state of development and evolution. Rapid evolution. Very interesting.

I’m very pleased with the principles that we’re working to and how we’re working, but it’s also a huge challenge. The recommendations have to be out in the second half of this year and we’ve consulted very widely with the stakeholders, with the providers, with parents, policy-makers and I hope that there will be some influence.

Interviewer: Eva, I want to turn now to the pandemic and its impact on early years. I know you were part of a Nuffield Foundation study exploring this. What stands out for you and what needs to happen?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Well, the pandemic really highlighted the fault lines in the system we have. It’s really threatening the sustainability of the sector, and I just before I started talking to you, saw the latest statistics on the number of children who are currently attending early childhood settings and that’s like 58% and we just know that that is not enough. Of course they have had support from the government, although the support has been quite late at times. Inconsistent and has at times betrayed a lack of understanding of how the sector operates, but largely these settings, unless they’re school nursery classes and school, and nursery schools depend on the funding that they get from the parents.

You know, the funding from the government is essential to keep ticking over, but the funding that the parents pay for the additional childcare hours for the under threes and the additional  for the three to five year olds is absolutely crucial, and they have very small margins by and large. Plus there is the issue that I have already talked about of profits in the four profit sector going elsewhere, than being invested in the sector. So things are very bad and this presents an opportunity to improve, but we’re not out of the woods of course.

Research projects that I’m working on, which is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is looking at different aspects in England of the impact of Covid, and we’re talking to parents, to providers, to policy-makers, to local authority, to people who are key figures in the sector and to the practitioners about their experiences. About their views on what can be improved and their vision for the future. What will the sector look like after Covid? I have argued elsewhere that what we need immediately for the sector is a bigger role for local authorities. A strengthened role for local authorities. Giving it great powers of oversight and additional funding to help the market remain accessible to young children, and we should also have additional regulation that makes everybody who qualifies for public funding work within a set time scale towards improving the conditions of the workforce.

Interviewer: Eva, what else are you working on?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Since late 2019 I have been working on a project funded by the British Academy. This project looks at early childhood education in Lebanon. So I’m working with colleagues at Rafi Hariri University in Lebanon, and this funding is part of the early childhood education programme run by the British Academy, which is funded from the Global Research Challenges Fund, which is a fund that forms part of the UK’s overseas development assistance, and what interests us as a team is that Lebanon hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world, and more than half are children.

In 2015 the Lebanese government then decreed that there would be an offer of early childhood education for all children in Lebanon aged three to five, and this would be in public schools and that all children meant that Syrian child refugees were included in this initiative. So we like to see how this works in practise. Whether the policy aims are achieved and what factors inhibit or promote this inclusive and universal policy. So the situation in Lebanon is very difficult, not just because of Covid, but also the political situation is extremely difficult.

Lebanon suffers from hyperinflation. We all remember the terrible explosion in the harbour of Beirut in August 2020. About 70% of the population now live in poverty. There have been food riots again last week. So there are certain constraints on carrying out this research, but we will certainly persist because the children are so important and what happens to them and the opportunities they are offered and they’re such brilliant people, including people working in informal settings, NGOs and so on, trying to make a reality of this policy.

And then there is the report I already touched on, which is a study funded by the Nuffield Foundation looking at what’s happening in local authorities across England in terms of the impact of Covid.

Interviewer: And is there anything else in the pipeline, Eva that you’d like to mention?

Professor Eva Lloyd: Thanks for giving me that opportunity. Yes, I’d like to mention a report that should be out any day now. Again on the website of the Nuffield Foundation. That’s a report on a study I was involved in that looked at the private sector childcare in England and it looked at the dynamics of financialisation. It looked at the spread of private for profit childcare across English local authorities looking at deprived authorities in particular. We talked to a range of people. We talk to resurvey providers and practitioners.

So key aim for the project has been to consider how regulation that has been used elsewhere in the education sector or in other countries might be useful to support the shape and improve private provision in England.

Interviewer: And if people want to see that report should they just go on the Nuffield Foundation website?

Professor Eva Lloyd: I’m sure if it finally gets there we will manage some publicity for it. Yes. The Nuffield Foundation, if you go on the website, has reports from a range of interesting studies and they have funded a range of studies that are primarily concerned with the impact of Covid on services for children, young people and families. So it is well worth looking there.

Interviewer: And finally, what is your takeaway message for those listening to our conversation?

Professor Eva Lloyd: My takeaway message will bear in mind young psychologists who are thinking about a research career. I think what I’ve been talking about has sort of demonstrated the importance of multidisciplinary teams to research potential answers to many of the pressing issues in society, but it is very important to always remember within such teams your primary disciplinary background. I need to remember that I had a background in psychology, and although I am very familiar with other approaches, for instance, in economics, that doesn’t make me an economist.

So we are always learning from each other and making sure that sometimes things are actually still quite separate. My current Nuffield study is a mix of quantitative and qualitative, and it is important when you’ve been working for so long in multidisciplinary teams to keep up with your own field as much as you can, and that’s probably never enough because things are changing and there’s such exciting things happening in developmental psychology, and the other thing for psychologists at the start of research career to remember before they embark on such multidisciplinary research and enjoy what those teams have to offer is that highly influential science or social science really still tends to be both traditional and conventional. So that your chances of becoming very famous are, sort of, attenuated by being part of a multidisciplinary team. To be a representative of your fields can be more difficult.

Interviewer: Eva, thank you ever so much. For more details on Professor Eva Lloyd, please visit the ACAMH website www.acamh.org and Twitter at ACAMH. ACAMH is spelt ACAMH, and don’t forget to follow us on iTunes or your preferred streaming platform. Let us know if you enjoyed the podcast with a rating or review and do share with friends and colleagues.

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