Local authorities who took part in the programme, run by the National Children’s Bureau in partnership with C4EO, credited it with supporting them to build an early years strategy and improving the quality and practice of the private and voluntary sector, and encouraging parental involvement in children’s learning.
The findings are from an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Peer to Peer support programme.
The project was funded by the Department for Education and ran from April 2011 to March 2013, providing a package of tailored support for the early years sector.
Through the programme early years experts worked with local authorities and other organisations, including private nurseries and social enterprises, through a series of workshops and training days.
The report is based on findings from an online survey and five case studies and examines how organisations used the support to improve services and the impact it had on improving outcomes for young children and their families.
One of the case studies explains how early years specialists worked with a local authority early years team to motivate childminders and PVI settings to improve their provision.
The assignment included two PEAL training days – the Parents, Early Years and Learning programme, which aims to increase the involvement of parents and families in their young children’s early learning and development, both at home and in settings.
Training run by NCB’s Early Childhood Unit also aimed to support providers with raising the quality of provision for disadvantaged two-year-olds accessing funded places.
The programme carried out 80 ‘assignments’ with local authorities and other organisation.
The online survey results were combined with data from 27 end-of-assignment feedback forms.
Lucy Williams, principal officer for Early Years at NCB, said, ‘The Peer to Peer Support Programme has shown how learning can be shared among local authorities to help them develop strategies for improving quality and supporting the workforce to effectively deliver the revised Early Years Foundation Stage.’
Following the success of the Peer to Peer programme, the NCB is continuing to support settings through DfE-funded training on the ‘Making it REAL Rollout’ project, which aims to improve the quality of early education and care of young children, as well as eight projects with local authorities.