Early Years Service
- Meeting of Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 10.00 am (Item 35.)
Report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services
This report provides an overview of the Early Years offer in the city and reports on outcomes in relation to the Early Years Delivery Model and the Healthy Child Programme.
The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education
Services which provided an overview of the Early Years Offer in the city and the outcomes from the Early Years Delivery Model (EYDM) and the Healthy Child Programme.
The main points and themes within the report included:
- Strategic Priorities and Governance Arrangements;
- The EYDM;
- The Use of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire 3 (ASQ3) in the Model;
- The Sure Start Core Purpose;
- The Healthy Child Programme;
- Health Visitor pressures impacting on performance;
- ASQ3 Developmental Review outcomes;
- Communication and Language Pathway;
- Support for parenting; and
- Summary of impact.
Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- The importance of Early Years for a child’s brain development and school readiness;
- What progress was being made in recruiting to Health Visitor roles, following the additional funding secured from Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (MHCC) to provide some additional Health Visitor training places;
- The uptake of the offer of the free childcare places for two and three-year-olds; and
- Concern about the number of children with a delay in the development of their language skills.
Nicola Marsden, Assistant Director of Children’s Community Health Services, reported that stages one to five of the eight-stage delivery model had been rolled out and that the contacts made were broadly in line with the national picture. She outlined the contacts made with and support available to mothers and their children under the age of five. She advised Members that recruiting Health Visitors was more of an issue than funding for posts.
Jenny Lewis and the Strategic Lead (Children and Young People’s Population Health) outlined the work to recruit to Health Visitor posts and investment in Health Visitor training. The Strategic Lead reported that, to become a Health Visitor, candidates needed to be a qualified nurse and then undertake a one-year training programme. She reported that increasing the starting salary for trainees had led to an increase in high quality applicants as nurses had previously been deterred from undertaking the training as it had meant taking a pay cut.
The Early Years Strategic Lead reported that a recent childcare sufficiency audit had shown that there were enough childcare places across the city as a whole but that some areas had a small shortfall and that the Council was working with providers and agencies to address this. She informed Members that there had been a national decrease in the take-up of the two-year-old childcare offer, primarily due to changes in the benefit system, but that in Manchester the take-up of places was at 70%. She advised Members that take-up of the three-year-old offer was at 96% in Manchester.
The Strategic Head of Early Help informed Members that targeted work was taking place to help parents to develop their child’s language skills. Nicola Marsden reported that children who required additional support in speech and language development were identified at the two-year-old review and were referred to commissioned services.
1. To request a report in respect of the outcome and findings from the Local Government Association Peer Challenge in the Early Years and the Quality Assurance arrangements.
2. To support the Health Visitor requirement for additional staffing and for the pay for training to become a Health Visitor to be commensurate with other nursing roles.
3. To request that further information on take-up of the two-year-old offer be incorporated into a future report.
4. To note that the Ofsted Subgroup would also be considering reports and carrying out visits in relation to Early Years, and that this included all Early Years settings, including childminders.