Qualitative Process Evaluation of a Practice Elements Approach on Responsive Caregiving to Infants in Early Years Skill Mix Workforce Development

Project outline

While a Practice Elements approach is gaining popularity globally, it is currently not known whether this approach is beneficial in terms of the training and development of early years skill mix workforces in supporting responsive caregiving to infants, specifically in terms of whether local site readiness and implementation support, leads to successful adoption and delivery of such an approach.


This qualitative process evaluation focuses on the implementation process of the Practice Elements approach in five Start for Life pilot workforce sites in England. The evaluation will explore  if a Practice Elements approach focused on the training and development of early years skill mix workforce is associated with the effective implementation of evidence-informed practice related to responsive caregiving. The evaluation follows 5 cohorts of facilitators and trainees in the practice elements approach through cross-sectional surveys and semi-structured interviews over a 10 month period.


Objective 1: To explore how a Practice Elements approach can support the development and sustainability of a skill-mix team, in terms of job recruitment, retention, and satisfaction.

Objective 2: To assess changes in knowledge, behaviour and responsiveness of the skill-mix workforce trained in the use of a Practice Elements approach to support the provision of a consistent and complementary practice with regard to promoting responsive caregiving in parents as part of Start for Life services.

Objective 3: To understand the feasibility of implementing a Practice Elements approach within the context of policy and practice in the first 1001 days.

Ethics and dissemination 

Ethical approval for this study will be obtained as an amendment to an existing IRAS approval. The findings from this evaluation will be disseminated via a variety of routes including publications in academic, policy and methods journals and conference presentations.