HEA2 - Delivering the best outcomes for children, young people and families
The city is committed to help create the conditions where all children, young people and families in the city can thrive in a safe environment.
The city will work to create the conditions where children, young people and families can thrive, assisting them to build resilience through the early development of good physical and emotional health and by equipping young people and parents with the skills to improve their wellbeing. This will be achieved through:
- Ensuring the best possible start in life for all children by increasing the focus on the first 1001 critical days from conception, enabling and supporting parents and carers, and ensuring that the best maternity services, parenting programmes, childcare and early year's education are in place.
- Providing high quality, accessible childcare enabling parents to work, by ensuring child care and after-school/holiday provision is safe and flexible.
- Supporting child development in the early years and providing children and young people with the best and most appropriate learning and vocational educational opportunities and experiences that inspire them to learn and develop skills for future employment and life.
- Showing the value of STEM skills and activities that will ensure they are able to transition to our workforce of the future that is overwhelmingly focussed on STEM related occupations.
- Ensuring that there are sufficient, high quality schools which aspire to achieve not just better education provision but also support wider community capacity in the area.
- Ensuring that early intervention, help and prevention meets the needs of children, young people and their families who are ‘vulnerable’ to poor life outcomes and supports them to achieve their potential.
- Ensuring that parents most at risk of poverty are supported in gaining better qualifications, sustainable employment and have access to support for mental health and wellbeing which will improve learning outcomes for their children.
- Ensuring that integrated assessment and outcome-based care planning for children with special educational needs and disabilities and additional needs, including social, emotional, mental health and speech, language and communication problems, are built upon the voice of the child and family.
- Ensuring that all children, young people and their families have access and the opportunity to participate in physical activity and the cultural life of the city.
- Providing effective safeguarding and excellent services for children, young people and families.
- Ensuring that employers and service providers are sensitive to the needs of working parents by promoting and delivering family-friendly policies.
The foundations for good health and wellbeing, educational achievements and subsequent economic prosperity are laid in childhood. Our children are the parents of the future and supporting parents to provide the best start in life is crucial to reducing health inequalities and tackling child poverty.
Young people and their families who are 'vulnerable' to poor life outcomes' risk not realising their potential or suffering harm. This might be because of child development and learning issues, parenting capacity issues, family issues and environmental factors. We want all of our children to live, grow, achieve and exceed in their hopes for the future with a key ambition to secure Early Help and Targeted Support for children vulnerable to poor outcomes.
Working with childcare providers to improve the quantity, quality and range of childcare provision in the city, will ensure children are afforded the best start in life and gives parents the opportunity and confidence to seek or return to employment if they choose to. It's important that the city works together with employers to implement family friendly policies, such as breastfeeding in the workplace, flexible working arrangements, parental leave, maternity leave and carers leave which benefit employees whilst protecting business productivity.
Increasing the level of attainment, education and skills so that children and young people will be 'school ready' and 'work ready' are also key drivers for change in the plan. Implementing policies which address these issues, whilst also supporting parents and carers of children to engage with their child's learning, will result in a fitter, healthier more economically active population that is better able to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
If current government policy continues, then by 2031 all schools will have left local authority control and consequently the number of academies, Multi-Academy Trusts and free schools will rise. The current educational landscape of Plymouth demonstrates mixed potential for self-improvement. School-to-school support blended with a local authority and Regional Schools Commissioner offer is evolving as a sustainable part of a changing education system locally. The local authority role in assisting and influencing the shape of educational provision is emerging. Current and future legislation establishes the role of the local authority as commissioner for high need and this role will be divested through integration with other agencies and partners. The national model relies on local intelligence and place shaping supporting regional improvement and oversight. To mitigate the fragmentation that this model potentially creates, the Local Education Authority will continue to work hard to promote collective responsibility to achieve the best outcomes for every child.
In addition to their primary education role, schools are a key facility within their local community and can support wider cohesion in the area. They are unique in that they often are the only service provider that will know the whole family and understand the needs of individuals in the context of the whole family. Schools and other education establishments have a strong commitment to their area and an interest in supporting parents, and although parental choice means there is mobility across the city, the majority of school children will come from the locality.
The city needs to work together to create safe places and communities for children and young people and provide excellent early help and safeguarding services for children and young people at risk or in need of support. It should recognise the lifelong impacts of adverse experiences or traumas in this period and champion the importance of both prevention and building resilience to enable them to meet their full potential. Children should have a smooth and positive journey through services that are responsive to these traumas and that support them to recover.
The city recognises the growing needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. We will work across agencies to join up the way in which support services are provided to children and their families in order that the family experience is coordinated and timely. This will include the provision of good quality information through the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Local Offer.
For some children and young people, times of transition and change can be particularly difficult, so reducing these difficulties even by a little, can make a big difference to their lives. There are many types of transition, these may include starting nursery, primary or secondary school, moving home or school, parents separating, puberty, becoming a parent, entering further education, work or training, entering care or moving from one service providing support to another. Transitions can be stressful and can have far reaching effects on some children's emotional wellbeing and academic achievements. There are many strategies that can be adopted in order to support children and young people through times of transition, it is important that these strategies are identified early to minimise risk and promote positive outcomes and resilience. In addition, for all vulnerable children and young people, planning for these transitions is a priority to ensure good communication and planning across all agencies involved.