Hydrogen could play a significant role in tackling climate change. Using it does not produce carbon dioxide, so it could replace fossil fuels in a range of applications. It may also provide valuable energy storage. However, almost all hydrogen production currently results in greenhouse gas emissions. Methods of producing it that do not emit greenhouse gases would need to increase for it to contribute to climate change mitigation. Governments and industry in the UK and abroad are aiming to increase low-carbon hydrogen supply. The UK Government will publish a Hydrogen Strategy in 2021.
In 2019, childminders, private and voluntary nurseries and pre-schools together provided over 1.3 million places in England. Research indicates that early childhood education and care (ECEC) can have a positive effect on children’s educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes, in both the short- and long-term, if it is of high quality. ECEC can also play a positive role in raising attainment and closing the gap between outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and other children. However, recent UK data suggest the evidence of actual benefit is more mixed. Positive benefits are dependent on several factors, including the quality of care, such as the nature of the activities and relationships that children engage in within their settings, as well as group size, child-teacher ratios, staff retention, teachers’ training and professional development, as well as family and community engagement.
This POSTnote will look at research on ECEC and its impacts on children, including factors affecting outcomes, such as quality of care and parental engagement. It will also look at available evidence on what is needed to improve the quality of ECEC in England and what approaches for encouraging parental engagement in care are effective. It will consider what impact recent changes in government policies on funding for ECEC have had on access to high-quality care and on the attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers. It will also look at available evidence on the impacts of closures in ECEC due to the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s developmental milestones, and whether it is likely to increase inequalities in outcomes for children.
The POST board has approved 9 new POSTnotes. From blue carbon and genome editing, to space defense and early childhood education, find out how to contribute as an expert.
Digital skills are increasingly important for day-to-day life, including for communication, accessing services and employment. However, around a fifth of the population do not have essential digital skills for life as defined by the UK Government. While research suggests the number of people with basic digital skills has increased in recent years, concerns remain about those who lack them. Experts have highlighted that digitally excluded people may experience various negative impacts, including poorer health outcomes and social isolation This POSTnote gives an overview of digital skills in the UK, the impact of a lack of digital skills on outcomes in areas such as employment and health, and initiatives in place to improve digital skills.