An introduction to The Early Years Quality Improvement Project
The Early Years Quality Improvement Project is the largest Early Years Project in the country, funded by the DFE and National College. The main aim is to raise attainment in PVI’s and school Early Years settings in three geographical areas – Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Staffordshire Moorlands.
The target is to ensure that children at the end of Reception leave with a GLD that is in line with or above national average.
How’s it going so far?
The project started at the beginning of the Autumn Term and we caught up with Amy Bell (Project Lead) and Linda Jones (Project Manager) to find out more and see how it is going so far.
Amy described how the project is reaching out across a wide region: “We are working in partnership with local teaching schools; Britannia, Blackfriars, Hempstalls, C2C, and Painsley teaching school alliances, plus Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Local Authorities.”
Linda told us that within this reach collaboration is key: “We are bringing strong settings together to support settings which are at risk. These network meetings offer the opportunity to buddy up and share good practice. This is key to the whole project.” Amy said “We currently have 50 settings involved and 10 Specialist Leaders of Education supporting Early Years settings that require support to improve their practice. This works out at 12 half days or 6 full days.”
A suite of Early Years training
Linda explained that there is also a suite of training packages that have been developed, which in most cases are available free of charge or at a low cost to the settings being supported.
Amy described this menu of Continuous Professional Development: “We have written core training programmes which have primarily a focus on raising attainment in Communication and Language, Literacy and Mathematics.”
Linda adds: “Within that wider umbrella specific sessions have covered Phonics, Characteristics of Learning, Early Language and training for TA’s who are new to supporting children in an Early Years setting. So far these have been really successful with 100% positive feedback.”
With all this great work being done it is important to capture the impact.
Amy said clear monitoring and evaluation is in place. “Chester University are conducting the research for the project and holding focus groups throughout the academic year. The aim is to produce case studies demonstrating how the project is making a difference. Looking forward, the next phase of the project is to visit strong 2 year old provision and devise a good practice guide for any settings thinking about taking on this age group. With the school led system strengthening by the day this project is a shining example of how coming together can make us all stronger and more effective.”