Agenda item - Early Years Strategy

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Agenda item

Early Years Strategy

Report of the Executive Director- Families, Children & Learning (copy attached).

Decision:

1)           That the Committee agrees five priorities for the Early Years Strategy:

 

1)        To focus on disadvantage including agreeing a shared definition of disadvantage across services in the early years.

2)        To provide joined-up services through Children’s Centres to strengthen families by supporting child development, parenting, healthy lifestyles and increasing the number of working families.

3)        To ensure children receive early assessments including the health and progress checks at age two and promoting information sharing between health visiting, early years providers and schools.

4)        To ensure there are sufficient early years childcare places in the city so that disadvantaged children take up their free early years entitlement and parents can work.

5)        To ensure early years childcare places are good quality and additional funding improves outcomes for disadvantaged children.

 

2)           That the Committee notes the extension from 15 to 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds with working parents from September 2017.

Minutes:

10.1      The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning that set out the Early Years Strategy and how the Council was meeting its duty and priorities for the future as per its requirements under the Childcare Act 2006.

 

10.2      Councillor Phillips asked for more information on the financial implications for the council.

 

10.3      The  Head of Service, Early Years & Family Support clarified that a national formula set the council’s allocation for early years funding for three and four year olds.  Brighton & Hove’s allocation at £4.45 an hour is below the published national average amount of £4.78. The Area Cost Adjustment is used to determine the level of funding and Brighton & Hove features very low in this because of being grouped with East Sussex.  The rate is below the average hourly charge for childcare in the city and below comparator authorities such as Southampton and Portsmouth. The issue had been raised at central government level and a possible impact could be that some providers may choose not to offer 30 hours per week or place conditions on the offer.

 

10.4      Councillor Penn noted that the offer of health checks for two year olds were taken up by 75% of parents and asked if the remaining 25% were low-income parents avoiding the checks and what measures could be taken to improve that rate.

 

10.5      The Head of Service, Early Years & Family Support clarified that parents declined health checks for a variety reasons.  Work was continuing in improving take-up and ensuring the most disadvantaged children received checks.  Plans to do so included integrating with checks undertaken in nurseries for targeted children.

 

10.6      RESOLVED-

 

1)           That the Committee agrees five priorities for the Early Years Strategy:

 

                  (i)       To focus on disadvantage including agreeing a shared definition of disadvantage across services in the early years.

                (ii)       To provide joined-up services through Children’s Centres to strengthen families by supporting child development, parenting, healthy lifestyles and increasing the number of working families.

               (iii)       To ensure children receive early assessments including the health and progress checks at age two and promoting information sharing between health visiting, early years providers and schools.

               (iv)       To ensure there are sufficient early years childcare places in the city so that disadvantaged children take up their free early years entitlement and parents can work.

                (v)       To ensure early years childcare places are good quality and additional funding improves outcomes for disadvantaged children.

 

2)           That the Committee notes the extension from 15 to 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds with working parents from September 2017.

Supporting documents:

 


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