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Working together: Early years leaders and schools unite at unique event

Today, 22 March 2016, we launched the successful findings of our innovative Starting School Together project, at a central London event with Sam Gyimah, Childcare Minister, giving the keynote address.

Working together: early years providers and schools in partnership was a unique event, which  saw leaders from schools and early years settings, along with policymakers from central and local government, come together to discuss the benefits and challenges of partnership working.

Over 80 delegates included childminders, head teachers, nursery managers, local authority representatives and policy makers. Among them were PACEY Local facilitators Georgina Jones, Joana Smith, Aisha Geewan and Sanjay Morzaria who were able to emphasise the important contribution that childminders make to partnership working.

Liz Bayram, PACEY’S CEO hosted the event, which saw the launch of the successful results of the Starting School Together project. Following an independent evaluation, conducted by University College London’s (UCL) Institute of Education (IOE), the project was shown to improve children’s transition from childcare into full-time education.

The audience heard from early years experts who discussed the opportunities and challenges of partnership working and saw real-life examples of how a joined-up approach can be of great benefit to settings, schools and families. The esteemed panel was made up of Julian Grenier (Sheringham Nursery School), Sarah Lambert (Blackpool Local Authority), Ruth Pimentel (Toad Hall Nursery Group) and Judy Shaw (NAHT).

The lively discussion following the panel presentations demonstrated the eagerness for settings to work together and share experience of what works well in their local areas. A full write up including slide presentations and audio visual clips of the morning’s forum will be posted on this website shortly.

The forum was a great opportunity to highlight Starting School Together as an innovative model of partnership working. Starting School Together ran as a pilot in four schools in Skipton, North Yorkshire and Littleport, Cambridgeshire. 

Central to the project was encouraging early years settings, primary schools and families to work collaboratively. The initiative supports families with educational toys and resources, face-to-face meetings, and an online toolkit; in the run-up to starting school, while information about how well children are progressing is shared via a secure online site between providers, schools and parents.

PACEY is holding a series of FREE regional events around the country, throughout April, to look at the impact of the Starting School Together (SST) approach and explore how the learning from the pilot project could enhance transitions and support children’s emotional wellbeing on starting school.

Representatives from a school or a series of schools (e.g. a school Academy chain), childcare settings or from local authorities are invited to attend and participate in these events. All events are FREE and include lunch to enable an opportunity to network with colleagues.