Nursery World Awards 15: Initiatives - Inclusive Practice
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Winner - Achieving Early, Achievement for All, Newbury, Berkshire
Achieving Early is an intervention programme designed to improve the life chances of two- to five-year-olds who are most vulnerable to underachievement.
Developed by charity Achievement for All, the programme takes an holistic approach, enabling setting leaders to reflect on their practice and identify areas for development by focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable children in their care.
‘It differs from other support initiatives,’ explains the charity, ‘in that it focuses all improvement on how it impacts on the child.’
Under the scheme, a specialist coach works with the setting leader to develop inclusive practice, through targeted coaching, training and CPD. There is a particular focus on developing leadership skills, ensuring that the progress of each child is tracked and responded to, and ‘Taking Time for Talk’, which is designed to encourage strong parental engagement in their children’s learning.
Coaches work in partnership with settings for at least two years so that best practice becomes embedded and there is an ongoing drive to maintain the quality of practice.
To date, the charity has worked with more than 120 settings to support more than 1,000 children. Nineteen settings were inspected during the pilot phase of the programme. While none had an outstanding grade before embarking on Achieving Early, that number increased to six (32 per cent), and the number of settings judged good or above rose from 10 (53 per cent) to 16 (85 per cent).
Setting leaders are able to evidence that many of the improvements made were as a result of Achieving Early, says the charity, while its Year One data shows that the programme closed the gap ‘for a significant number of children across all three prime areas, using Development Matters as an assessment tool’.
Feedback from participants has been positive. One nursery manager says, ‘I really believe this training will enable our setting to bridge the gap in [these children’s] development by using the skills and techniques offered.’ Another concludes, ‘Achieving Early helps us to see how to be the best we can be.’
There is evidence too that participants remain motivated, with settings creating ‘self-improving networks’ during the programme and committed to continuing with it into year three.
Allens Croft Children’s Centre,
The dedication of the staff team at Allens Croft Children’s Centre to inclusive practice has earned the centre a great reputation among local families and professionals, as well as outstanding Ofsted grades across the board.
The centre incorporates a nursery school and daycare provision, catering for 170 children, along with a foundation unit offering fee subsidies to vulnerable families.
Its holistic, non-discriminatory and collaborative approach is achieved through working closely with other agencies, including three hospital trusts, and local families, who are encouraged to help plan and run centre provision. Every effort is made to integrate services and create a cohesive environment that fosters resilience and independence and so helps families to make positive choices about their lives.
Its child-centred ethos and educational philosophy, coupled with the breadth of specialist staff skills, help ensure that all children thrive, including those with complex needs who are regularly referred to the centre.
The centre is in the process of being commissioned as a SEN/D Resource Base.
Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries, Yeading, London
Prime Time Programme for Vulnerable Two-year-olds, Lincolnshire County Council’s Birth to Five Service
Open to services or projects that promote equality of opportunity and the best outcomes for children, regardless of ethnic origins, special needs, background or disadvantage