OVO Foundation report: Education Inequality in the early years

Dawson A, Williams C, Akehurst G |   | Institute for Employment Studies | Feb 2021

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OVO Foundation wanted to expand the education projects they support and following an evidence review decided to focus on early years. Three projects were chosen for support: Doorstep Library, Parental Engagement Network (PEN) and Tales Toolkit.

IES in collaboration with Sutton Trust and Professor Kathy Sylva (University of Oxford) were commissioned to help support theory of change development, provide monitoring and evaluation support and help evaluate the impact of the projects on children’s communication and language skills from June 2019 to December 2021. The projects were all affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and therefore the plans for evaluation were updated to examine the changes the projects made to adapt to the crisis.

This report outlines the initial plans to evaluate the three projects and the development of the Theory of Change models for the interventions. The report then describes the way the theory of change contributed to new means of online engagement, and subsequently to new evaluation strategies following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.