Childcare Providers and Wrap-around Care in Schools

In  Children and Young People Now , 07.12.15 – a new announcements on childcare and schools.

Image 5‘Childcare providers could be given the right to apply to deliver wraparound care using school facilities…’, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to offer out-of-school-hours childcare using school facilities. (Picture: Peter Crane)
Under proposals unveiled today, childcare providers will be given the “right to request” that a school allows it to use its facilities to provide care for the children of parents at either end of the school day and during school holidays.

It has proposed that schools manage the “right to request” process and governing bodies take the final decision about what action to take.

A consultation has been launched by the Department for Education that runs until the end of February 2016 to assess how schools and childcare providers can work better together. It will also find out how schools respond to wraparound childcare requests from parents and childcare providers.

At an event to launch the proposals, Cameron said: “This will open up good quality, affordable childcare for parents at either end of the school day and school holidays – taking pressure of budgets and helping them plan for the future.”

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced plans to give parents the right to request wraparound childcare provision from schools in October’.

SmithMartin Partnership working with providers and schools…

Carmel Littleton appointed as Head of Children’s Services in London Borough of Islington

Image 1Carmel Littleton has been appointed as the new director of children’s services in London Borough Islington, following on from Eleanor Schooling who has moved to Ofsted.

Carmel Littleton (Image: courtesy of LBI), has been director of children’s services in Thurrock since 2013.

On 18th November 2015, Children and Young People Now, (article: Neil Puffett) reported that:

‘The local authority said that Carmel Littleton, who has been Director of Children’s Services in Thurrock since 2013, will take up the post in the new year.

Her background includes teaching, working as an educational psychologist and as a children’s services adviser.

Littleton said: “I am delighted to be joining Islington and look forward to both the challenge and exciting opportunities that this brings.

“I can’t wait to build on the excellent work that is already under way and ensure every child and young person has the best possible chances in life.”

Islington Council leader Richard Watts said: “The job will have its challenges because Islington is a borough of such great contrasts. Islington is one of the most deprived areas in the country with the fourth highest child poverty rate and complex underlying social problems that need to be tackled”.

SmithMartin Partnership are pleased to have worked with Early Years in Children’s Services in Islington, building on and developing the good work in children’s services.

Sue Martin

Child Rights Partners

Image 2‘Children and young people are to be involved in designing and delivering services aimed at them through a partnership between Unicef UK and six local authorities.’

Children and Young People Now, reported this initiative between Unicef and six councils across England. A ray of light for young people and a way to enable their voice to be heard.

The Child Rights Partners project aims to put child rights at the heart of public services and will prioritise improving services for the most vulnerable children, including those living in care, living in poverty and young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse.

Over three years, the six councils spread across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will work with young people to tackle different problems.

These include:

  • Tower Hamlets will involve young people in designing substance misuse services
  • Derry will focus on arts, sports and positive play
  • Glasgow will focus on two service areas: developing a rights-based approach to services for care-leavers and early years
  • Leeds will improve service provision for looked-after children, ensuring that their entire journey through the social care system is rights-based.
  • Neath and Port Talbot will focus on vulnerable families where the parents have drugs and alcohol, domestic violence and mental health issues.
  • Newcastle will adopt a rights-based approach to tackling child poverty.

David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, said: “Public services have sometimes failed children and young people by not listening to their opinions and needs, so we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with these pioneering local authorities.’

Article taken from Children and Young People Now 20.11.13

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership LLP – bringing communities together.

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Funding childcare – Westminster’s new way

slideNothing new in the fact that childcare is hard to afford and the cost remains one of the biggest barriers to accessing high quality early years education.

The good news is the extension of free places to 40% of the most disadvantaged 2 year olds and the 15 hours a week for 3 -5 year olds. But there remains the problem of the impact that the freeze on aspects of the child tax credit and working tax credit creates.

But there is good news in the London authority of Westminster. A brilliant pilot says Children and Young People Now, “Should go some way to show parents making the first steps into work that childcare is affordable and necessary to boost aspiration and social mobility.”

To secure a place at a nursery parents can be asked for approx £1000 to pay for the first 4 – 6 weeks. Quite daunting and often impossible.

Westminster’s affordability pilot, which will run until 2013, will underwrite the risk and postpone the fees for about 90 families. Parents will then pay at the end of the 6 week period, allowing for a delay in tax credit receipts.

Anna Devine, Childcare Marketing Facilitation Manager for Westminster, is confident that the programme will enable families to take the first steps and it is only if the parent does default that Westminster will have to pay the setting.

A positive move from a local authority when times are difficult and one step towards making life easier and a better chance for young children.

Sue Martin

Sure Start Children’s Centres
– still at the heart of communities




Some startling figures emerging about Children’s Centre closures…



In November the government confirmed that 124 Sure Start centres had closed, (Children and Young People Now). In addition, there is much evidence that formation of clusters and alternative ways of meeting the community needs are being applied in local authorities.

When the council budgets are being squeezed there have to be cuts on the ground. The impact on centres and communities is felt by some of the people most in need.

Mergers, clusters, closures may be unavoidable when finance is the main driver.

The benefit of a good neighbourhood Sure Start Children’s Centre for all the community is incalculable. One that is serving the needs and being there for young children and their families creates enormous social wealth and prevents much hardship.

We welcome the opportunities that an All Party Parliamentary Sure Start group will bring to the continued existence and governmental backing for Sure Start Children’s Centres.

Big Society

helpThe wonderful vision of a Big Society where people help each other, not for reward but just because they can.

In some places where this is happening through volunteering and support groups you can see that confidence is built and self esteem is lifted. People reluctant to step forward for fear of being unable to join in can find they step out on a ladder which gives them a feeling of self worth, helps them to have fun with their families and can even lead to a start of something new in their lives.

A great example of how a school ‘Home to School’ support really helps directly with people is shown in Children and Young People Now, wk 22 – 28 June 2010.

At the Marion Richardson School in Whitechapel, 30% of parents are now involved in some form of volunteering. Previously they were reluctant to leave their homes.

There is a credit union, after school clubs, maths and reading clubs. A group has started for teaching Arabic to Bengali and Somali parents, which is led by a Moroccan parent .

Alison Jones, who is employed by the charity School Home Support, is often found in The Parents’ Hut – the mobile in the playground. She supports parents as a listening ear on family sickness, bereavement, unemployment and housing and domestic violence.

The Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programmes and courses are also a way in and Alison says,‘It helps them to get to know other parents, but also learn about violence in our community, how to stop kids getting into gangs, what is domestic violence and child abuse.’

At SmithMartin Partnership we are involved in many schools around the extended day and activities that are happening in after school clubs and holiday schemes

We like this approach, being there in a place where parents are comfortable, even if nothing else the time to listen can be a real life line.

And as Alison says, ‘For most parents its about having the confidence to move out of depression and into the community.’ What a difference that must make.