1998 EARLY YEARS DEVELOPMENT PLAN
SECTION C - EARLY YEARS IN BRISTOL
(THE CITY COUNCIL PERSPECTIVE)
The new unitary authority has made a concerted effort to
co-ordinate its approach to planning and developing early years services as well as moving
to increased integration, particularly of Education and Social Services provision.
This was formed by Bristol City Council from its inception on 1
April 1996. The Committee comprises of Members from Social Services, Education and Leisure
Committees and is served by officers from the same directorates. The role of the Committee
has been agreed as follows:
(a) To oversee the three yearly Day Care Reviews required under
Section 19 of the Children Act 1989. (This report encompasses the 1998 Day Care Review).
(b) To steer the development of two integrated Social
Services/Education resources for 0 - 5 year olds and their families within available
resources and in the light of the budget review of various service committees.
(c) To promote a corporate approach to early years work. This
would include undertaking an audit of services to under 8s across all directorates,
including budget and staffing provision and identifying key performance targets. It should
also include ensuring common criteria and clear access routes to Council-maintained
provision for 0 - 5 years.
(d) To examine the implications of the Education Committee=s report on nursery vouchers for all early years
services in Bristol.
(e) To promote the quality of early years provision, through the
development of the Bristol Standard.
(f) To work with the voluntary sector and other early years
service providers towards the achievement of common standards of quality and equality of
(g) To build a partnership with parents/carers and providers,
through consultative forums.
The Committee has developed a participative model, in that
members of the public are welcome to attend and to contribute to discussion. A wide range
of issues have been debated in this open forum. On occasions it has provided the
opportunity for the City Council to seek views on proposals. It has provided the forum to
debate the creation of the Early Years Partnership and is playing a key role in the
production of the Early Years Development Plan and Review.
Development of Early Years Policy
A number of reports concerning a strategic view of early years
provision have been considered. These are briefly summarised below:-
Towards a Strategy for Early Years Services in Bristol
Early Years Joint Sub Committee 7 November 1996
This report identified the primary purposes of early years
services in assisting both young children and their parents/carers. It commented:-
considerable and largely uncontested evidence about the positive impact that good quality
early years provision may have on children=s
future educational attainment. There is also evidence that such provision can have social
and emotional benefits for children. Good quality services will not only promote
confidence, social skills and emotional well-being in young children, but they also play a
key role in counteracting social disadvantage. In short, good quality early years services
are an investment for the future.@
The report went on to consider principles and values which
should underlie all early years services. These can be summarised as:
1. Provision should be based on and meet explicit quality
care and education standards.
2. There should be a range of flexible provision in
3. Educational development should be provided to
support and promote early learning.
4. Provision should reflect and respect individual needs, value social, cultural and
linguistic diversity and promote City Council Equalities policies.
5. The environment should be safe and healthy.
6. Early years services should empower parents/carers and work in partnership
7. Children in need should have priority access to
8. City Council should promote effective partnerships
with whole range of agencies and providers.
9. Work with young children should be highly valued.
Early Years : Strategic Directions - Action Plan Early
Years Joint Sub Committee 13 March 1997
This report set out ways in which the City Council could work
towards the achievement of strategic objectives agreed. It contained an action plan which
has now been largely superseded by the current process of creating an Early Years
Development Plan and Review.
Early Year Services - Strategic Directions Proposed Vision
Statement Early Years Joint Sub Committee July 1997
This document sets out a possible vision of the way in which the
City Council should organise its services and relate to other agencies and providers. This
statement has been agreed as a `draft= upon
which to consult and develop a final position. The document is appended to this report as
it will be the basis from which the City Council will plan services in the future.
City Council Provision: main issues
Details of provision funded by the City Council are contained
elsewhere in this report. There have been a number of collaborative projects across
directorates of the City Council most notably between Education and Social Services. Key
issues for these two services are identified below:
|Recent reviews and the adoption of previously documented policy statements
regarding early years provision will necessitate careful consideration of the future of
existing Social Services day care provision. Within great financial constraints the City
Council inevitably needs to ensure that funding is targeted to Children in Need but this
also needs to be achieved in non-stigmatising settings. The City Council is a relatively
high direct provider of services and it will need to ensure that this deployment of
resources provides the most flexible and cost effective service to children and families.|
|There is considerable support for an integrated approach for Education and Social
Services provision and the pilot project at Hartcliffe will demonstrate how effectively
this sort of provision can serve the interests of Children in Need. Similarly two emerging
projects based in primary schools will pilot a different form of integrated provision
which would also provide family support services to families with children in primary
school. A further area for debate will be the extent to which the City Council continues
to directly provide its own day care services - it could alter the balance of current
provision by purchasing more individual places and/or commissioning other agencies to
provide services on its behalf. Whatever the future, it will be important to ensure that
the expertise and knowledge that currently exists in Social Services provision is not
|Whilst more fundamental change is debated there will be a need to continue to
develop existing social services provision. Current work on raising quality standards in
day nurseries and providing more accessible, flexible services will be a crucial
contribution to early years provision. Consideration also needs to be given to drawing up
an appropriate development plan for day nurseries.|
|The aim to provide a more flexible, integrated service will present a number of
challenges in view of the wide range of existing early years school provision in the city.
There are also issues concerning how more family support services can be provided from
school settings. Other issues include:|
- the need to reconsider and revise the current admissions
policy for nursery education places, as well as developing a clear policy regarding full
and part time attendance.
- appropriate staffing ratios need to be determined in nursery
schools and classes and discussion is currently taking place about more devolved funding
for nursery schools whose budgets are currently managed centrally.
- quality issues will continue to be addressed with commitment
to working towards the Bristol Standard in all settings and specific consideration given
to the ways in which the needs of younger 4 year olds in reception classes can best be
Summary: Early Years in Bristol
- The creation of the Early Years Joint Sub Committee has been the basis for a
number of co-ordinated efforts to develop an early years strategy for Bristol City
- The draft >vision= for Early Years promotes the creation of an
Integrated Early Years Service and this now needs detailed work and consultation.
- Continuous effort is being made in all Bristol City Council provider settings
to improve quality, flexibility and integration.
- There are a number of issues which need further consideration in both Social
Services and Education in order to plan effectively for the future, including drawing up
appropriate development plans for nursery classes, schools, day nurseries and reception
B:Background C:Early Years in Bristol D:The Partnership
& Consultation E:Audit of Need & Provision
F: Quality & Inspection G: Curriculum & role of Qualified Teachers H: Training & Staff Development I: Family Support/ Parent Involvement & Under 3's J: SEN K: Integration L: Affordable Childcare M: Information
Services Conclusions Annexes Executive Summary/Action
Plan Supplementary Info