Comment on New Approach to Early Years

Wandsworth parents are to be given a chance to comment on a new way of providing services for young children and their families.

The Council would like to hear your views on proposed changes and improvements to our early learning provision at our Children’s Centres. The proposals build on the Council’s recently agreed THRIVE Wandsworth Strategy.

The THRIVE Strategy aims to ensure children are given a great start and focuses on the whole family to prevent rather than react to problems.

For example, our recently re-commissioned Health Visiting Service aims to ensure all families benefit from this early support, including extra provision for new parents with postal-natal depression and when families are facing difficult circumstances.

Whilst we are committed to driving THRIVE forward, we are also mindful that to achieve the aspirations of the strategy we will need to do some things differently. Some of the ways in which we offer services will need to change.

The first few years of a child’s life and development are critical, and we know some five-year olds already have better outcomes than others by the time they start school. We are committed to ensuring we address such inequalities so that families have the information, tools and support to enable them to thrive. We are also committed to ensuring there are high quality services and interventions at the right time and place so all families in Wandsworth maximise their potential.

Early learning is also a critical part of children’s development; however, in Wandsworth we know that many children who are eligible for a free early learning place (15 hours a week) are not taking it up. There is a similar pattern for children age 3 and 4 where all are entitled, but not all are accessing their free 15 hours.

Proposed changes to services

In order to focus on working with whole families and preventing problems while building strength and resilience, we will need to make changes to our services. Our proposals are outlined below:

  • Increasing access to free early learning places for 2-year olds through ‘stay, play and learn’ – feedback from our parents, carers and staff indicates that our parents don’t always feel comfortable leaving their 2-year olds in the care of someone who is not a relative. In response, we are proposing to offer parents and carers access to 15 hours of learning for their 2-year old but to stay with them. We want this to be available at all our Children’s Centres and THRIVE HUB as they develop. 
  • Changing how three of our Children’s Centres operate by developing them into Thrive Hubs – these hubs will be the focal points for early learning in the borough with a broader range of services and covering a wider geographical catchment area than our existing children centres. In order to facilitate these changes, some existing services will be offered less frequently.

Have your say

As we develop our proposals and the proposed changes to our services, we would like your feedback on:

  • How you use our Children’s Centres, how they help you and your children get ready for school, and your ideas on what could be improved to help ensure all children in Wandsworth have a good outcome by the age of 5
  • The activities that help you the most, as some activities at our Children’s Centres will have to stop
  • We would like to know how this might affect you if you are a user of these centres

You can access the online survey by clicking on the link below, but if you would like a paper copy, please contact us at consult@wandsworth.gov.uk

https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/wandsworthcsd/childrens-centres-18

Between now and the end of October a number of consultation workshops will take place.  We will publish the dates of these workshops here as soon as they are finalised. Please visit regularly for updates.