A Fair Start


A Fair Start

A Fair Start

By 2030, we want every child to have a more equal start in life, so will ensure that they have the support and skills necessary to succeed in education, and that the outcome gap between children growing up in disadvantage and poverty in Camden and the national average will be narrowed.

Camden has a proud history of supporting families in their children’s early years, understanding the importance of giving children the best start in life. Nevertheless, this support has not always had sufficient impact. At the end of 2019, the Council decided to invest a higher proportion of available funds in services to support a child’s first 1001 days (pregnancy and the first two years). This was an important shift in approach, and we believe it will enable more children to thrive and be ready to learn in school.

Our vision is that all Camden children should have the best start in life, have access to high-quality early education and be ready to learn well in school by age 5. Our approach is intended to prevent later problems and lead to good speech and language development and stronger social and emotional development – the foundations for education success.

We believe we can bring together a range of services from the council and its partners in health, the police and the voluntary/community sector in a team around schools, empowering and establishing the school as a gateway to support, help and guidance. This will enable us to offer earlier support and swifter resolution of issues and to reach families who may not attend other access points.

The pandemic has also shone a new light on parents’ relationships with school and we saw many schools giving considerable help to parents in supporting home learning. Parents have told us they want structured opportunities to know more about how best to support their children’s learning and we will work with them and schools to develop a programme or programmes to do that. We have also developed a pledge for how schools, and the services supporting parents, will work with them.

Our ambition of a Fair Start for all Camden rests on three development priorities :

1. Thriving children who are ready to learn in school

  • Continue to shift resources to provide both universal and additional support for a child’s first 1001 days, through the network of children’s centres and the specialist services they connect with.
  • Support the early years workforce across all settings to develop a common skillset to help children’s speech and language development, emotional development, healthy lifestyles and the early identification of need for additional support.
  • Create a more consistent approach to the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) across the network of providers to improve EYFS outcomes.
  • Refresh our locality-based early years partnerships so that services and settings work together at a local level to tailor services to local needs and develop creative, collective solutions as well as supporting settings to improve their quality.
  • Support the development of the early years’ speech and language strategy, a concerted and high-profile, multi-agency and population-based approach to intervening early to identify and support children’s speech and language development.
  • Support early years settings to develop consistent approaches to supporting children and families’ health and wellbeing.
  • 2. Schools rooted at the heart of their communities - coordinate a range of council, health and voluntary sector services in a locality team around schools, better establishing the school as a gateway to guidance for support, advice and help and linking with a remodelled and broadened Family Information Service. This will enable us to:

  • Offer earlier support and swifter resolution of issues, so that barriers to learning are reduced.
  • Be more successful in bringing support to families who are harder to reach, building on the trusting relationships established by schools.
  • Grow the skills and confidence of school staff to work with more vulnerable children.
  • 3. Parents as prime partners in their children’s learning

  • Co-design a central programme with parents and schools, both primary and secondary, providing opportunities to help them support their children’s learning more effectively, including supporting their child’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Support parents to create a good home learning environment for their children from birth.
  • Organise a series of opportunities for parents to increase their own basic digital skills, including offering a free course to develop their understanding of and competency in digital literacy skills, leading to a Digital skills Certificate Level 1.
  • Continue our commitment to family learning, developing further joint delivery with schools.
  • Launch a standard for ‘how we work with parents’ based on ‘The Good Help for Families Manifesto’, a design vision of what good help for families looks like post-pandemic, developed by a group of Camden parents (Camden Family Changemakers) with University of the Arts service design students.
  • This engagement phase has finished

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