BESSI in use

Intervention: The BESSI questionnaires are being tested as a means of providing a baseline and as an ongoing monitoring tool for the Foundation Years Trust’s intervention project in Birkenhead.  We are following individual children supported by the project from birth, alongside cohorts of Foundation and Reception Stage children.  We have also used the questionnaires with 8 primary schools in one area of Ipswich.

Fun: Early findings from the research have influenced the content of the Foundation Years Trust's Project.  The finding that fun at home and reading at home were as strong as gender in predicting cognitive development has been adopted as areas for intervention which deserve testing.  All of the intervention’s Play Together activities include an emphasis on ‘fun’ in many guises.  Parents often lack confidence or interest in supporting their children’s learning through play.  We are introducing a variety of ways that families of small children can have fun together, to encourage confidence and adventurousness in family fun.

Poverty: BESSI collects aspects of demographic data on individual children so that their development can be monitored in relation to gender, place in family and the family’s economic status.  In 2011-12 for reasons of simplicity and confidentiality the research team used eligibility for Free School Meals as an index of children’s socio-economic status.  This has proved more challenging from autumn 2014 when free school meals were made available for children in the early classes at school.