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Improved ‘evidence level’ evaluation framework of Evidence-Based Practices in the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC)
Childhood (c) Adobe Stock
A core part of EPIC is the repository of Evidence-Based Practices for child wellbeing and development. The repository presents practices that have been categorised as ‘Best’, ‘Promising’ or ‘Emergent’ practices based on the quality of their evidence. Their evidence level is determined using an evaluation framework which looks at three main criteria: 1) evidence of effectiveness; 2) transferability; and, 3) enduring impact of the practice. Users can search for practices by country, recommendation pillar, age group, target group, and type of implementing organisation.

This framework has been revised in November 2017 to increase the rigour by which practices are assessed. Improvements to the framework relate to added precision in the wording of the criteria to remove biases in the way they are interpreted by expert reviewers. Furthermore, we have introduced ‘gradation’ to the transferability criteria so that it is now possible to award practices a single (+) or a double (++) plus for transferability. Practices that have cost information available and have been found to be cost-effective can now receive the highest score (++) for the replication criterion within transferability.

For further details please see the full review criteria here.

In the Spotlight
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New developments in education policy in the EU

November was a busy month for education policy in Europe. Notably, at the Gothenburg Social Summit on 17th November, the European Commission proposed concrete steps to create a European Education Area by 2025. While education and culture policies remain the prerogative of Member States, the proposed European Education Area would include a number of measures to align education provision across Member States. These include: ensuring the mutual recognition of diplomas; supporting the professional development of school leaders and teachers; and setting new benchmarks for secondary language learning and for member state investment in education.

November also saw the release of the 2017 Education and Training Monitor. Strengthening Europe's education and training sector is an important part of EU's agenda for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This year the Monitor addresses the issue of inequality in the Member States and provides peer learning opportunities, including 28 separate country reports.

Eurydice, a network that monitors the organisation of education systems across Europe, also released 2017 reports on trends and practices in compulsory education and citizenship education across Europe. The European Commission also released a study on governance and management policies in school education systems.

In light of these developments, the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) spotlights below a selection of evidence-based practices from our repository that aim to support children’s positive development at school.

Bright Start
Promising practice
Belgium, United Kingdom, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain

Bright Start is a programme for cognitive education for children aged 3-6 years old, especially those at high risk of school failure based on social circumstances such as ethnic minority, inner city residence, and low socio-economic status (SES) group. Bright Start is delivered in kindergarten and pre-school settings in a form of small-group lessons for 5-6 students at a time. The lessons are between 20 and 30 minutes and consist of exercises with detailed instructions for teaching a constructive lesson with a questioning technique.

Parents' Briefcase
Emergent practice

La Mallette des parents' [the Parents' Briefcase] is an ongoing project which aims to involve parents more in their children's education in around 80 schools in France. It is run by the Academie de Creteil, which comes under the direct authority of the France's Ministry for Education. The programme was set up to improve relations between parents and teachers and help parents understand more about how their child is taught so that they can contribute to their child's success at school.

Parent Early Education Partnership
Emergent practice
Ireland and United Kingdom

The PEEP programme is intended to boost the numeracy, literacy, pro-social behaviour and self-esteem of disadvantaged children of ages 3-4. The larger PEEP programme is designed for children from infancy to 5 years, including separate curricula for different ages. The programme is offered through nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups, and freestanding Parents Early Education Partnership (PEEP) groups.

North Karelia Youth Project
Promising practice

The North Karelia Youth Project offered a community and school-based educational intervention for seventh graders (students aged 13) to decrease the social desirability of smoking and coach them to resist peer, adult and media pressure to smoke. The goal of the programme was to decrease the number of children who would start smoking for the first time and reduce all the lifetime exposure to tobacco for all children in the program area. Two versions of the intervention were each implemented at an urban and a rural school in North Karelia County in Finland.

Upcoming Events
Events (c) Adobe Stock
CREAN Conference – The impact of children’s rights education and research on policy development

The Children’s Rights European Academic Network (CREAN) will host a conference for academics, practitioners and policymakers in Geneva, focusing on the role and impact of children’s rights education, and research on policy development.

Programme themes will include the use of scientific data and knowledge in developing evidence-based policies and the resonance of academic research programmes with social and political priorities.

International Conference on ‘Measuring the Effectiveness of Children’s Rights – Make all children count!’

The National Commission on the Rights of the Child (Belgium) and ChildONEurope will co-host an international conference for practitioners, policy makers, researchers, and child advocates in Brussels on the subject of measuring the effectiveness of children’s rights. The conference will aim to develop concrete elements for guidelines on this subject. Registration is open until 15 January.

Universal Children's Day (c) iStock
EPIC celebrated Universal Children’s Day
On 20th November the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) celebrated the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day. We have highlighted a variety of resources available for policymakers and social partners whose aim is to help children to reach their full potential in education and beyond.
EPIC has produced a number of policy briefs that are written to inform policymakers about key topics in child wellbeing. Moreover, EPIC’s repository of studies and reports and statistics features links to further resources and research relating to EU child and family policy.
EPIC’s database of Evidence-Based Practices also aims to share emerging, promising and best practices for children and families. The EPIC user registry provides an overview of other practices being implemented across Europe, which have not yet been evaluated. Practices can be searched by name, topic or country. If your organisation is developing or implementing child-focused practices, you can share this knowledge with other users by submitting it to EPIC here.

Eurydice releases new data on language provision for migrant school children across Europe
Eurydice, a network that monitors the organisation of education systems across Europe, has released the 2017 edition of Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe. The publication, an update of the previous report issued in 2012, offers key figures on the nature and content of language instruction for schoolchildren across European countries, including a section comparing the support available for migrant children.
Notably, the report offers a section focusing on the experiences of migrant children. The study finds that assessment of language capability for newly arrived migrant children varies between European countries, with schools determining their own procedures for the reception. The report also looks at the provision of additional classes in the language of the host country for newly arrived migrant children.
For more information about wider educational support and activities at the European level please consult our news item.

New sources of childcare support for working families in the United Kingdom
As of September 2017, the UK Government has implemented a universal scheme to provide 3- and 4-year-old children of working parents in England with 30 hours of free childcare per week, an increase from the 15 hours of free provision that has been available to date.
The aim of this policy is twofold: (1) to remove barriers to employment by helping families with their childcare expenses; and (2) to support development and to raise educational attainment of children.
It is estimated that around 390,000 working families will benefit from this policy, while children of two years of age from disadvantaged backgrounds will still qualify to receive the 15 hours of free childcare entitlement. More information is available here.


The EPIC team is interested in your feedback on user experiences with EPIC (in particular the Practices that Work section). Aspects that are of interest are for example: How do people use the information posted on EPIC? Do national experts and practitioners work with the information posted on EPIC? Do practitioners and decision-makers use the collected Evidence-Based Practices? Please email us at
European Platform for Investing in Children
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) wants to provide information about all policies that can help children and their families face up to the unprecedented challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe. This is an occasional electronic newsletter intended for anyone with an interest in the information provided by EPIC.