Early years

Our aim: children in West Somerset will begin school with a strong start, with the proportion achieving a good level of development rising to above the current national average.

Why is this an issue?

  • Just over half the children in West Somerset, compared to almost 70% nationally, achieved a good level of development at the end of reception in 2015/16
  • too many children do not achieve the Early Learning Goals in speaking, reading, writing and numbers. This means that when they start school these children need to make a lot more progress to catch up with other pupils. Their learning may continue to be delayed later on in their school life
  • some children lack access to services such as play facilities that provide engagement with other children and support development more generally

We will:

  • support the early years workforce to deliver high quality education starting with providing a consistent approach to speech, language and communication development
  • work with parents to improve child cognitive outcomes by using programmes such as Peers Early Educational Partnership (PEEP), which helps parents develop skills to support their children’s early learning and social and emotional development
  • improve the assessment of children’s development in the early years, by education and health professionals. This will enable professionals to put into place swift and effective support when needed
  • improve access to children’s services for parents of children from birth through to when they start school. For example, we work with Bump Start, a programme which works with disadvantaged young parents and families living in rural areas, and Full of Beans, which promotes physical activity for pre-school children and their families

Our targets

  • Increase the proportion of children achieving a good level of development at the end of the early years foundation stage to at least 70%, so it is above the current national average. That’s around 40 more children in West Somerset achieving a good level of development
  • Increase take up of early years education, so that at least 80% of disadvantaged 2 year olds attend – well above the current national rate
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