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Children and young people, Community and living

Children’s Centres reach out to disadvantaged families

Lambeth Council has been selected for a ‘payment by results’ Government pilot in which all children’s centres will be rewarded for making a difference to the lives of the borough’s most disadvantaged children and families.

The children’s centres will pilot rewards for reaching the most vulnerable families, improving family health and wellbeing, and raising the attainment of children by the time they reach the age of five, the Department for Education announced yesterday. (Monday, September 19)

As part of wider reforms to the core purpose of children’s centres, the Government wants to see a clear focus on reaching the most disadvantaged families and more work to help narrow the attainment gap between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds. Lambeth is one of 18 boroughs chosen from across the country to take part in the project.

A further initiative announced as part of the same Government pilot will see five outstanding nursery schools, judged by latest Ofsted inspections to be ‘Outstanding’, brought together to become one of only ten ‘Early Years Teaching Centres’ nationally. Under the scheme Lambeth’s nursery schools will share their expertise as centres of excellence in early years with other boroughs across the country. Maytree Nursery School and Children’s Centre will lead this initiative on behalf of the selected nursery schools in Lambeth.

Cllr Pete Robbins, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Service, said: “Second best is never good enough for our children and young people which is why we are already one of the leading boroughs in the country for narrowing the achievement gap between pupils from different backgrounds.

“Many of our children’s centres, nursery and primary schools have been recognised by Ofsted as the very best in the country for working with children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds and we welcome initiatives which seek to further the work we do within this area.”

Rachel Hedley, Maytree Primary School Headteacher, said: “We are delighted to have been selected for the Early Years Teaching Centres project. Our highly skilled practitioners engage families from a variety of backgrounds, some facing significant challenges in their lives. Children and parents play, learn together and have fun in our consistently high quality provision. Parents are then in the best position to enable their children to be confident, enthusiastic learners, ready to enjoy and succeed in their future lives.

She added: “This project will help us share our practice and passion for educating young children; welcome other practitioners into our settings to train, share expertise and develop the quality of educational provision in local settings and beyond. We will also develop the business strand of our work to ensure sustainability for the future of maintained Nursery Schools and Children’s Centres. It is a very exciting time for us, our children and their families.

Mum Nichola Young, added: “Maytree nursery is a wonderful place for both parents and children, my son loves every minute of his time there and I am very involved in all courses and services on offer to parents, we both get so much out of it and feel very grateful to have the chance to go there.”

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