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COMMITTEE FOR EDUCATION
Early Years (0-6) Strategy
Department of Education Paper & Powerpoint
Synopsis for the Education Committee Consultation Event
17 November 2010
There is increasing recognition of the importance of the early years as a unique phase of human development and of early intervention. International evidence suggests that interventions early in life can help to reduce barriers to learning that may, otherwise, reduce children’s longer-term chances of success.
This Strategy recognises that there are already a range of services in place from which children benefit. The Strategy aims to build on these and to link learning and development in the early years more coherently through services including Sure Start, the current pre-school education programme and the Foundation Stage of the Revised Curriculum in P1 and P2, hence the age range 0-6.
The Strategy focuses on the wider concept of child development and considers learning in the early years is in a much broader context, including socialisation, language and communication, physical development and good health, particularly for those children who may start with reduced life chances.
The role of the parent or primary carer is central to the development of children and is vital in the early years. The Strategy seeks to address the question of how early years services and providers can work together more effectively with parents, helping them to improve children’s development and well-being, to ensure the maximum benefit for the child.
It is intended that the implementation of the Strategy will build upon existing ‘best practice’ and the working relationships and partnerships between Departments, authorities, agencies, service-providers and service-users. .
The challenges for the future are to place the development and well-being of children at the centre of the Executive’s policies by implementing:
Vision, Aims and Objectives
The Department recognises that the early years are key to the healthy physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of the child. It is in these formative years that a child develops their cognitive and language skills and their disposition to learn.
Within this context the Strategy sets out a vision:
In seeking to deliver this vision, the Strategy includes the following aims:
In support of the aims 4 key objectives have been identified:
The Strategy sets out a series of areas to be addressed within each objective, and suggests a range of actions which will form the foundations for delivering more effective early years services over the longer term. The objectives highlight the importance of collaborative and partnership approaches to the successful implementation of the Strategy, and to ensuring the best outcome for every child.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION – EARLY YEARS PROVISION
The total budget allocated by the Department of Education for Early Years (children aged 0-4) is currently in excess of £82million (2010-2011).
This amount consists of funding for the statutory nursery sector, the Department’s two main Early Years Programmes and support for the promotion of high quality early years provision and services.
Funding is provided in respect of:
This does not include funding provided within the Aggregated Schools Budget for Primary 1 and 2 which is substantial.
The Sure Start programme was introduced in the north of Ireland during 2000-01 through the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). In November 2006 responsibility for Early Years policy, including Sure Start, transferred to the Department of Education.
Current policy on coverage of Sure Start services
Sure Start is a targeted service which has a distinct geographical remit, defined by ward boundaries, with a current policy focus of the coverage of at least the top 20% most disadvantaged wards in the north of Ireland, currently as defined by the Noble indicators MDM 2005. All children aged 0-4 and their families within the catchment area of each Sure Start can access services, as provision is universal within the targeted areas.
During the past 2 years (2009/2010 and 2010/2011) additional funding for the further development of early years services has enabled DE to work towards a further expansion, with the aim of extending Sure Start services to the top 20% Super Output Areas, therefore helping to address the needs of young families living within “pockets” of disadvantage which are located within an otherwise affluent or higher ranked ward area.
Main aims of Sure Start
The overarching aim of Sure Start is t o work with parents and children to promote the physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of pre-school children – particularly those who are disadvantaged – to ensure they can flourish at home and when they get to school. The main objectives are
Core components of Sure Start services
Total number of Sure Starts
32 Programmes plus 2 smaller scale Sure Start partnerships.
Estimated number of children age 0- 4 in Sure Start areas
Budget for 2010/11 - £23m
PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION EXPANSION PROGRAMME (PSEEP)
Aim: To provide a funded pre-school place for every child in their final pre-school year whose parents wish them to have one.
Number of funded pre-school education places in 2010/11:-
Statutory nursery places:- 14,254 (8,632 full-time and 5,622 part-time)
Voluntary/private places:- £12m allocated to the ELBs to fund 8,357 voluntary/private sector places and administration costs.
Reception Places:- Will not be known until the Schools Census Data is collated and verified (2009/10 – 590 places).
Number of settings;-
Statutory Nursery Schools:- 98
Statutory Nursery Units:- 216
Voluntary/private providers in PSEEP:- 375
Minimum quality standards for voluntary/private providers participating in PSEEP:-
Admissions criteria specified by DE
This targeting process, which is part of DE’s wider strategy to reduce levels of educational underachievement in the long-term, has been in operation since the 1999/2000 school year.
All pre-schools must then set their own admissions criteria to select children down to the last available place when too many children apply to a provider. These criteria are entirely at the discretion of the individual school/playgroup and are not determined by DE.
Early Years Strategy Presentation - Education Committee Panel Event 17 November 2010