Is your child school ready?…Is your school child ready?

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An inquiry by councillors into school readiness is being reported to the Scrutiny Programme Committee on the 10 April.

It found there to be a wealth of evidence that suggests investment in early year’s services including children’s school readiness is hugely beneficial not only to children and their families, but society as a whole.  There is evidence that this investment can help to break the cycle of disadvantage in our communities by changing children’s life chances.

Councillors from the Scrutiny Panel were interested to explore the many examples of good practice being shown that helps make children and parents school ready.  This included for example a visit to St Helen’s Primary School and Flying Start where they are aspiring to be a school that is at the heart of the community, and the parents we spoke to said that they had achieved this aim.  They also visited Stepping Stones and the Swansea Children Centre where they are working to develop children’s physical and emotional school readiness and preparing children and their parents for the transition to school.

St Helens Flying Start 1

However, a key finding from our inquiry was that it is not only children and parents that need to become more school ready but schools themselves need to be more ‘child ready’.  They felt that there could be more robust challenge for schools on this aspect.

The Panel found gaps in service provision for families in Swansea. In particular, the coverage of multi-agency support via Flying Start which is only available to approximately one quarter of children and their families in Swansea.  We recognised that this is based upon the areas identified as having most need but we know that there are children requiring this type of support across other parts of Swansea.  All children would benefit from this type of provision, so we would like to see the excellent practice and the ethos found in Flying Start replicated in other areas.

St Helens Flying Start2

The Panel met nine times over a four month period in order to complete this inquiry. the Convener Hazel Morris would like to thank the members of the Inquiry Panel who gave their time and commitment and all of those people who gave evidence and information to the Panel.

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