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Children of the 21st century

Children of the 21st century: The first five years

Kirstine Hansen
Heather Joshi
Shirley Dex
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2010
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  • Book Info
    Children of the 21st century
    Book Description:

    This book documents the first five years of life of the children of the influential Millennium Cohort Study, which is tracking almost 19,000 babies born in 2000 and 2001 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This book is the second in a series of books which will report on the findings from the data and follows on from Children of the 21st century: From birth to nine months (The Policy Press, 2005). It takes an extended look at the children's lives and development as they grow and begin formal education, and the implications for family policy, and service planning in health and social services. The chapters in this book are written by experts across a wide range of social science and health fields and form a unique look at the early lives of children that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It is essential reading for academics, students and researchers in these fields. It will also be of relevance to policy makers and practitioners with an interest in children's early years, family life, child development, child poverty, childcare and education and health care.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-477-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of figures
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. List of tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. List of boxes
    (pp. xi-xi)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xii-xii)
  7. List of contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  8. Glossary
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  9. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Heather Joshi, Kirstine Hansen and Shirley Dex

    This book takes up the story of the 19,000 children recruited into the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) at the beginning of the new century, following their progress from birth to primary school. The origins and objectives of the study, along with the results of its first survey, were covered in a companion volume,Children of the 21st century: From birth to nine months(Dex and Joshi, 2005). In brief, the MCS is the fourth of a set of world-renowned national cohort studies in Britain, each following a group of individuals drawn from the population at large from the time...

  10. TWO Child poverty in the first five years of life
    (pp. 13-32)
    Jonathan Bradshaw and John Holmes

    The children in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) were born around a year after the then Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that it was the government’s intention to eradicate child poverty in a generation by 2020. In fact these children are the generation over which it is hoped child poverty will be eradicated. In Figure 2.1 we can see that child poverty fell after 1998/99. However, the government just missed the first five-year target to reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2004/05, and, according to the latest data available, there has been no further improvement.¹

    This chapter explores family...

  11. THREE Ethnicity, community and social capital
    (pp. 33-52)
    Alice Sullivan

    This chapter focuses on indicators of social capital in the lives of the mothers of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) children. The mothers’ social networks, social support and experiences of their local areas will be relevant to their children as they grow up. The concept of social capital has been influential in policy circles, but is contested, and has been used for varying purposes by social theorists. For Coleman, social capital refers to ‘the set of resources that inhere in family relations and in community social organisation and that are useful for the cognitive or social development of a child...

  12. FOUR Parental relationships and parenting
    (pp. 53-76)
    Elizabeth Jones

    A large body of research suggests that the quality of the relationship between parents is related to parenting behaviours, the interactions between parent and child and child behavioural and cognitive outcomes. The quality of a relationship may affect child outcomes directly or may have an effect through parenting behaviours – that is, relationship quality may affect parenting behaviours that in turn affect child outcomes. Theoretical models have been proposed to explain both direct and indirect pathways for such effects.

    This chapter uses data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to examine the self-reported perceptions of parents about their relationships, how...

  13. FIVE Partnership trajectories, parent and child well-being
    (pp. 77-94)
    Kathleen Kiernan and Fiona Mensah

    The structure of British family life has undergone substantial changes over recent decades. Rises in extra-marital childbearing, cohabitation and parental separation coupled with declines in marriage have translated into more diverse, complex, transient and often inequitable family settings for children. Very large movements in financial circumstances of families can often be associated with these family changes and family changes can also affect the emotional well-being of family members. Consequently, there has been growing concern about the instability of family life and the impact on the well-being of children which has led to a plethora of inquiries, reports and initiatives around...

  14. SIX Employment trajectories and ethnic diversity
    (pp. 95-114)
    Shirley Dex and Kelly Ward

    An important part of the content of children’s early years is their parents’ employment, which influences the time children spend with their parents and the level of income in the family. Hours of employment and the quality of working conditions will also influence the extent to which parents are satisfied, tired, exhausted or stressed when they come home. Over time we have seen changes to family economies in Western societies. Mothers have taken up paid work in greater numbers and the predominant family model is no longer that of the traditional male breadwinner with the father employed full time and...

  15. SEVEN Neighbourhoods and residential mobility
    (pp. 115-130)
    Sosthenes Ketende, John McDonald and Heather Joshi

    In the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) children’s early years, many families had not settled permanently in the home and place in which they would spend most of their childhood. Nearly half had moved home at least once between the interviews at 9 months and age 5. This chapter is concerned with the families’ satisfaction with the area they were living in at age 5 and the moves that had been made to get there, from diverse social and spatial starting points.

    It is relatively common for families with young children to move home (Plewis et al, 2008). Such mobility often...

  16. EIGHT Childcare in the pre-school years
    (pp. 131-152)
    Fiona Roberts, Sandra Mathers, Heather Joshi, Kathy Sylva and Elizabeth Jones

    For the children born around the turn of the millennium pre-school care and education became a near universal experience. This reflects the spread of education to younger children and the increasing ‘normality’ of mothers taking paid work outside the home. This chapter is concerned with the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) children’s experience of care from people other than the mother, with an emphasis on those children who attended group childcare settings at some point during their pre-school years. It begins by outlining the evolving experience of non-maternal care for all the children in the MCS, across the UK, from infancy...

  17. NINE Intergenerational inequality in Early Years assessments
    (pp. 153-168)
    Jo Blanden and Stephen Machin

    One of the principal motivations for the launch of the new Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) was to gather up-to-date evidence on the extent to which family background impacts on child outcomes. In this chapter we use data from the MCS to provide some new empirical evidence on the extent to which one measure of parental background, family income, is correlated with two child outcomes, cognitive vocabulary ability and behavioural outcomes.² The analysis we undertake considers the magnitude of age 3 and 5 test score gaps and gaps in behavioural (or non-cognitive) outcomes by family income group. We also use these...

  18. TEN Ethnic inequalities in child outcomes
    (pp. 169-184)
    Lorraine Dearden and Luke Sibieta

    This chapter reports some findings from the first three surveys of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) on the nature and extent of ethnic differences in early childhood environment and outcomes up to age 5.¹ Due to the lack of suitable data, it has not been possible to consider these issues in the UK before – the MCS is one of the first longitudinal surveys in the UK that has the ability to look at this important issue, particularly as the MCS design involved over-sampling individuals from minority ethnic groups and individuals living in disadvantaged areas of the country.

    In this...

  19. ELEVEN School choice
    (pp. 185-200)
    Kirstine Hansen and Anna Vignoles

    In 1988, the Education Reform Act for England and Wales strengthened parents’ rights to choose the school their child attended at primary and secondary school levels. Similar legislation was applied in Northern Ireland. The 1988 Act was introduced to encourage competition between schools, as they sought to attract pupils, with the idea that this would lead to higher standards of teaching and children’s achievement. Despite obvious policy interest in the extent and consequences of school choice, there is remarkably little evidence on the process of school choice itself (at least from the parental perspective) and indeed there is only limited...

  20. TWELVE Teacher assessments in the first year of school
    (pp. 201-216)
    Kirstine Hansen

    Children’s development in the early years has been shown to be related to their success in later life in a range of areas including: education, employment, and avoiding crime and early parenthood (see Carneiro and Heckman, 2003; Feinstein and Duckworth, 2006). Determining why some children do better than others in the early years is a key issue for policy and is crucial in attempts to reduce inequalities. This chapter examines differences in Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) children’s achievements at age 5 as rated by teachers. These teachers’ assessments provide another view of MCS children’s development at age 5, complementary to...

  21. THIRTEEN Childhood overweight and obesity
    (pp. 217-234)
    Lucy Jane Griffiths, Summer Sherburne Hawkins, Tim Cole, Catherine Law and Carol Dezateux

    The rising prevalence of being overweight and obese is well recognised. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.2 billion people are overweight, 300 million of whom are obese (Government Office for Science, 2007). The most startling increases have taken place in the US and UK where the prevalence of overweight and obesity has almost doubled in the last 25 years (Wardle and Boniface, 2008). These increases are not just confined to adult populations. Data from the Health Survey for England, using the UK national body mass index (BMI) percentile classification, indicates that the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) among...

  22. FOURTEEN Resilience in children’s development
    (pp. 235-248)
    Ingrid Schoon, Helen Cheng and Elizabeth Jones

    The aim of this chapter is to assess early childhood influences on the cognitive and behavioural development of children in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) at age 5. In particular we consider the role potential protective factors in the family environment may play and whether they can ameliorate some of the disadvantages known to influence children’s development, such as family financial hardship.

    The association between limited family material resources and poor child and adolescent development is well documented (Duncan and Brooks-Gunn, 1997; Bradley and Corwyn, 2002; Engle and Black, 2008). Children growing up in circumstances characterised by socioeconomic disadvantage are...

  23. FIFTEEN Parental and child health
    (pp. 249-264)
    Yvonne Kelly and Melanie Bartley

    Healthy development in early childhood encompasses physical health, socioemotional behaviour and cognitive ability. Early to mid-childhood is a crucial time in the life course, with concurrent rapid development and transition into formal education. Markers of early childhood health and development have been found to be socially patterned, with children from advantaged backgrounds doing better compared with their disadvantaged peers. A range of environmental factors influences early childhood health and development, including the health of their parents, suggesting possible intergenerational transmission of health. However, little is known about the pathways via which the health of parents influences child health and developmental...

  24. SIXTEEN Conclusions
    (pp. 265-272)
    Heather Joshi, Kirstine Hansen and Shirley Dex

    To round off this collection of contributions we pick out some themes that have emerged from the different aspects of the children’s lives covered in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). We then draw together a few implications for the future.

    The threads running through this volume and this study tell of diversity, mobility and intergenerational transmission. The diversity of the points from which the MCS children have started out on life include inequality in their family origins, while variation and inequality are beginning to emerge in the development paths of the children themselves. On mobility, the longitudinal data permits a...

  25. References
    (pp. 273-290)
  26. Index
    (pp. 291-298)
  27. Back Matter
    (pp. 299-299)