Ministerial Visit to Luton

Education Secretary and Children and Families Minister visits Rothesay Nursery School

Luton welcomed the opportunity to promote the importance of early years and the work we are doing to improve children’s early language skills when the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds and Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, visited Rothesay Nursery School. This provided an excellent opportunity to observe parents and children during a PEEP session which supports parents to encourage language development at home with fun interactive activities.

The Ministers also met with LBC officers, the Headteacher and nursery staff. Staff emphasised the good practice taking place in Luton within our children’s centres, nursery schools, and early years providers as part of our early years strategy, and Flying Start, which aims to give children the best possible start in life.

Officers also highlighted successful initiatives supporting parents and children to the Secretary and Minister. These included ‘Five to Thrive’ which supports babies brain development, attachment and early communication, and ‘Sign 4 Little Talkers’ helping to promote early language development through signing.

Ministers also saw a demonstration of the Easy Peasy App by Jon Washington, 2 Yr Family Worker from Flying Start West. The app supports learning through play at home, helping children develop the skills they need for school.

Cllr Mahmood Hussain, Portfolio Holder for children and families said: “Our early year’s strategy is helping to give children a real flying start in life and we are very proud of the work that has been achieved so far with our partners in supporting children and families.

“It was great to demonstrate to the Education Secretary and the Children and Families Minister how we are successfully delivering a number of initiatives through our children’s centres, nursery schools and early year’s providers, which is helping to improve the communication, language and literacy skills of Luton’s youngest children, which are essential skills they need for school.

“We also highlighted how the Luton Investment Framework, our 20-year plan to transform the town, is driving improvements to health and well-being and is helping to ensure that young children and families have access to the support they need.

“We recognise the importance of aspiration and social mobility, and early year’s provision is a key part of ensuring children in Luton do well throughout their education and beyond. We therefore welcome the Government’s announcement of an Early Years Social Mobility Peer Review Programme to improve the early literacy and language of disadvantaged children, and we have already submitted an expression of interest in participating in this programme.”

Flying Start and Luton’s Early Years Team have now submitted written evidence to the Education committee’s inquiry into the impact that the early years of a child’s life have on their life chances. Recommendations were also included as part of a comprehensive report underscoring the importance of appropriate and adequate speech and language development opportunities for a child in the earliest years.

The evidence submitted has highlighted the integrated approach to the delivery of services and interventions for children under five in Luton, using our shared approach of Five to Thrive key messages and Sign 4 Little Talkers and Big Feelings. Training for early years’ staff on Speech and Language Development forms part of the Flying Start Learning and Development Hub.

Details can be found on the Flying Start website www.flyingstartluton.com

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