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Increasing parental and community involvement in children’s centres
In May 2012, the Department for Education published a discussion paper on increasing parental and community involvement in children’s centres. The aim of the paper was to see how we can help parents and communities have more of a say in shaping and delivering children’s centre services. A copy of the paper is available to download here. The paper invited expressions of interest from parent and community groups interested in developing their own community management models to bid to run children’s centres or children’s centre services on behalf of local authorities. Following a competitive tendering exercise, the Department has contracted with 4Children to provide advice and support to these groups. 4Children has begun working with groups and will be helping them to develop their proposals over the coming months.

The Foundations of Effective Outreach
The Foundations of Effective Outreach is a new report that has been written by children’s centre practitioners and published by the National College this month. It illustrates examples of best practice from Sure Start children’s centres by drawing on extensive evidence and knowledge from across the system. The report suggests creative and innovative solutions for those who work with the most vulnerable families in our communities. To find out more and to access the document please visit www.nationalcollege.org.uk

Seed funding for Childcare
In her first keynote speech as Women and Equalities Minister, Maria Miller announced a new £2 million scheme to boost childcare. From April 2013 people who want to set up a nursery or childminding business can access grants of up to £500 to help cover costs such as legal and insurance, health and safety training, and adaptations to premises. This comes on top of a package of measures the Government is taking forward to support parents, including extending the right to request flexible working to all employees and allowing parents to share leave to care for their newborn child. Further information could be found here.

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Attainment by Pupil Characteristics
This Statistical First Release provides 2012 information on Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) achievement by gender, ethnicity, eligibility for free school meals, special educational needs and English as a first language building upon figures in the EYFSP Results published in October.

Key findings from the stats release:

  • The percentage of children achieving a good level of development in 2012 was 64 per cent compared to 59 per cent in 2011.
  • Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of pupils achieving a good level of development increased for all broad groupings of pupils, regardless of gender, ethnicity, FSM eligibility, SEN stage or first language.
  • Although the gap between the attainment of children who are eligible for FSM and other children remained broadly the same as in 2011, the proportion of FSM children who reached a good level of development increased from 44% in 2011 to 48% in 2012, this compares to 67% of non-FSM children in 2012.
  • Girls outperformed boys with 73 per cent of girls achieving a good level of development compared to 55 per cent of boys.
  • Looking at the broad ethnicity groupings in 2012, the proportion of groups of pupils who achieved a ‘good level of development’ above the national average were those from White (65 per cent) and Mixed (64 per cent) backgrounds. The groups that achieved below the national average were those from Black (61 per cent) Asian (60 per cent) and Chinese (62 per cent) backgrounds.
  • A higher proportion (65 per cent) of pupils whose first language is English achieved a good level of development compared with pupils whose first language was other than English (56 per cent).

The full publication can be found here.

Families’ Contracts
The Department for Education (DfE) wishes to procure a range of services to be delivered over 2013-15. The services are designed to support the Government in helping the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and families, and those that work with them. Organisations are required to improve outcomes for children and families, and support the workforce. The Department expects bidders to specify how services will continue beyond 2015 without Government funding. More information can be found on the Department for Education website.

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