Agenda item

Improvement Plan - School Readiness

(To receive a report from Jo Kavanagh, Assistant Director, Early Help, which invites the Committee to review the improvement plan – school readiness which sets out the actions to be taken to address the issues identified)


Councillor S R Roe re-joined the meeting.


The Committee gave consideration to a report from Jo Kavanagh, Assistant Director, Early Help, which invited the Committee to review the improvement plan – school readiness.


The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Jo Kavanagh, Assistant Director, Early Help, Michelle Andrews, Head of Early Years and Viki Thomas, Principal Adviser for Early Education & Child Care.


The Committee was advised that the statutory framework for early years foundation stage set the standards for learning development and care for children from 3-5 years.  The Committee was advised further that Lincolnshire had compared well to national figures, however, in the last two years Lincolnshire had in recent years seen a data fall below the national average.


The Committee was advised that there were seven headings within the plan. 


These were:-


·         Raising a good level of development;

·         Ensuring sufficiency of good quality provision;

·         Focusing of effective transitions;

·         Accessing children centres services;

·         More effective early identification of need;

·         Raising the aspirations of providers; and

·         Ambition 1 – Social Mobility.


Appendix A to the report provided a copy of the Improvement Plan.  It was noted that the improvement plan included working in partnership with Early Years Providers, and schools both directly and through the work commissioned to Lincolnshire Teaching School's Together (LTT).  In addition, it included working with other service areas including Special Education Needs and Disabilities Team (SEND), Ethnic Minority and Traveller Education Team (EMTET), Children's Health Teams, and external agencies commissioned nationally to work with Local Authorities.


The Committee noted that there were almost 700 providers registered to deliver early years entitlement places to children across Lincolnshire.


The report also made reference to Children's Centres, Health Visiting and Community based maternity hubs, details of which were shown on page 87 and 88 of the report.


The Committee was advised that there had been many changes across the early years and Children's Centre sector in the last three years in Lincolnshire, all of which would have a positive impact on families and children's outcomes both from a health and wellbeing perspective.  The Committee was advised further that Lincolnshire's overarching approach would be set out in a strategy along with the Local Authority's (LA's) ambitions later in the year.  It was noted that the strategy would ensure the foundations were in place to enable Lincolnshire children to succeed.


In conclusion, the Committee was advised that the improvement plan allowed the LA to focus on areas of learning that needed to be improved; and enabled resources to be geographically targeted.  It was noted that the improvement plan had been developed to set out how working collaboratively would improve the early educational experiences and outcomes.


During discussion, the Committee raised the following points:-


·         Home Learning Environment – The Committee was advised that there was a realisation that more could be done to encourage and support parents; and that lots of work was being done to support school readiness;

·         Good Level of Development (GLD) – Details for the 2018 academic year were shown on pages 82 to 84 of the report; and Table B provided further analysis at a district level, some concern was expressed that some district councils were below the national average.  It was highlighted that from the data provided there was early signs that progress was being made to improve children's outcomes. It was highlighted further that 'writing' was the Early Learning Goal in which Lincolnshire children did less well.  Table C on page 85 provided details of the 17 Early Learning Goals and the percentage of children expected or exceeding judgements and the areas of learning achieved;

·         Page 83 – Children where English was an additional language.  The Committee noted that the gap had widened in Lincolnshire in 2018 by 1%.  The Committee noted that in Lincolnshire there had been a lot of newly arrived non-English speaking residents; and that work was on-going to respond to the increase.  One member enquired whether more detailed information could be obtained to identify specific areas to target resources.  Officers advised that the Local Authority could obtain information at postcode level; which then enabled the school and areas of need to be identified; to enable resources to be targeted.  The Committee noted there was not an easy solution to the problem; and that the 2019 data would not be available until later in the year.  One member felt that Councillors would benefit from seeing the wider data;

·         The complexity of deprivation and the need for more work with families;

·         Gender gap between boys and girls – The Committee was advised that this was part of Children's Services core business; and not a theme for the current year; and

·         Children's Centres – Some members expressed their support to the range of services provided by Children's Centres.  Members of the Committee were encouraged to visit their local Children's Centre.




That the Improvement Plan – School Readiness be received and the comments raised above be noted by officers.

Supporting documents:



Original Text: