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Paper 17 - 25 September 1998 Meeting 

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

25 September 1998

EARLY YEARS DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

Report-back by Councillor Mrs Rosalind Verschoren, Winchester City Council

1. This year there have been many developments in the area of Early Years education. The Early Years Development partnership has evolved from the Under Eights Advisory Group and has gone from strength to strength.

2. Since 1990 Hampshire County Council has worked closely with the people involved in Early Years education through the termly Under Eights Advisory Group meetings. Issues from these meetings were taken forward by elected representatives to the Families and Children Joint Sub-Committee so that local views and needs were incorporated into policy. This structure for consultation and sharing information was effective as a foundation for early years services. In order to progress this, a working group of the Advisory Group was established as the Early Years Education (EYE) Forum.

3. The EYE Forum was responsible for drafting the Hampshire Early Years Development Plan based on discussion with the Under Eights Advisory Group. At this point the name changed to the Hampshire Early Years Partnership.

4.Although the name has changed to the Partnership, the commitment remains the same:

"That the needs and interests of children and their families across Hampshire can be met through accessible and affordable high quality care and education." (HCC - Learning together from the beginning).

5. Throughout the year the new government has re-emphasised the vital importance of the early years of a child's life. It has also stressed the need for active collaboration between pre-school providers in the voluntary, private and maintained sectors.

6. Our meetings have reflected this period of activity. Discussions have included:-

Reports from individual fora

The interim EY Development Plan

Funding issues ( now that Nursery Vouchers have come and gone)

Training

Special Education Needs

Equal Opportunities

Providers

Information fact sheets

Baseline Assessment

Approval of the Early Years Development Plan

7. Recently the National Childcare Strategy (0-14 yrs) has come into place which means that each Local Authority is looking at how to adapt their existing structures. For us this may involve creating an umbrella organisation with two sub-groups, one to cover 0-8 years, and one to cover 8-14 years. At our next meeting we will be considering the way forward.

COUNCILLOR MRS ROSALIND VERSCHOREN
Winchester City Council

Last update: 21/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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