Early learning is a class apart

Red Nose Day at Battle Pre-School Playgroup. 18/3/11'Beverley Smith pictured with some of the children. ENGSNL00120110318124907
Red Nose Day at Battle Pre-School Playgroup. 18/3/11'Beverley Smith pictured with some of the children. ENGSNL00120110318124907

Projects aimed at improving the development of pre-school children in East Sussex are paying off, according to the latest figures.

A total of 66 percent of children across the county are achieving a good level of development at the end of their reception year compared to 44 per cent in 2013.

The latest Early Years Foundation Stage figures also show that East Sussex is performing above the national average by six per cent.

The success has been attributed to a number of projects supported by East Sussex County Council, including assisting training for early years practitioners to achieve higher level qualifications, improving links with primary schools and promoting best practice across early years settings and schools.

“A child’s early education underpins their later learning as they progress through primary and secondary school,” said Councillor Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for learning and school effectiveness.

“It is essential that all children get a good start and have access to high quality early years provision and we will be continuing to do everything we can do to support that.”

The Village Project aims to improve children’s transition from early years settings to primary school, helping them with school readiness and ensuring a consistency of approach throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage.

It aims to prolong the benefits of good nursery or pre-school experience by creating an environment where nursery and reception age children are integrated, either through sharing the same physical space, or through a cohesive approach to curriculum.

To achieve this, primary schools work with nurseries, pre-schools and other early years settings – either those already existing within the school site or out in the local community.

There are currently 30 primary schools, nurseries, pre-schools involved in the Village Project and plan is to extend this to all primary schools by September 2016.

Early Years Excellence Hubs are currently being rolled out across the county and promote best practice by encouraging early years’ practitioners to discuss policies and practices.

East Sussex County Council is keen to ensure as many youngsters as possible receive the free early learning place they are eligible for.

All three to four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early learning a week and in East Sussex 8,485 families currently take up this offer.

Since September 2013, many families became eligible to receive free early learning for their two-year-olds and the council wants to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage.