Social and Emotional Skills

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Should we measure social and emotional skills?

EIF Trustee Jean Gross CBE discusses difficulties and opportunities in the measurement of these non-cognitive skills.

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In debates around early intervention, there is considerable and growing interest in skills other than literacy and numeracy, or the cognitive and academic skills that are tested in Key Stage assessments and other school qualifications. 

Social and emotional skills are known by many different names: character, resilience, self-worth – to name just a few. And while the term is disputed, the importance of these skills for the life chances of children and young people is not. Research shows that those who develop strong social and emotional skills in childhood and adolescence are more likely to go on to have healthier and happier adult lives than their peers who have not had the same opportunities to develop in this way.

Early intervention has a crucial part to play in ensuring that all children and young people are supported to develop these skills at the earliest possible stage, both in school and out.

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The Best Start at Home

EIF has developed evidence on interventions designed to enhance interaction between parents and children from conception to age 5.

Click to read the report