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Agenda item

HeadStart Sustainability

[Kush Patel, Childrens Innovation Lead, to present report]



Kush Patel, Children’s Innovation Lead, introduced the report and gave brief update on the HeadStart sustainability plan and progress to date. The Children’s Innovation Lead outlined the reach figures for the programme and the success of work done to engage parents and the wider community. The programme has exceeded its original forecast for number of young people it has engaged. The Children’s Innovation Lead advised the panel that the programme is moving from learning to the embedding stage. The development of sustainability plans is being supported by the National Children’s Board (NCB).


The Children’s Innovation Lead detailed changes to the governance structure of the programme and gave a presentation on the four priority themes. The panel were updated on progress against each of the theme areas. The panel were invited to comment on the report. The panel queried plans to both recruit and retain existing parenting champions detailed in the report. Andrew Wolverson, Head of Service People, advised the panel that there is a dedicated parent champion co-ordinator to support this work, which also supported by the Adult Education Service. The co-ordinator manages 40 volunteers and there is commitment from the Council to maintain and grow the number of volunteers because of the benefits of encouraging parents to talk.


The panel queried decision making process about future plans for projects funded by HeadStart and in particular the risk of job losses when the funding ends in 2021. The Head of Service People responded that the specific project had achieved the target set at the point. The project ended earlier than planned in order to meet the timeline for inclusion in the national evaluation programme, this meant activities had to be brought forward to meet the deadline. The evaluation of the programme is done by Manchester University. The staff involved in the projects were not employed by the HeadStart programme and the aim was to be a test and learn programme and some projects would be ended early if they were not having the expected impact.


The panel discussed the help offered to young people to get them work ready and the involvement of schools. The Children’s Innovation Lead advised the panel that the programme has been successful in getting schools involved.

The panel were advised the panel that the programme board will be using the expertise of the NCB to review the constitution and to develop plan for sustainability of successful projects. The NCB are looking at arranging a showcase event to promote the impact and lessons learnt from the programme.


The panel queried the efforts to improve the skills of the workforce and whether to extend co-production to give young people a more active role in the development of the future work and direction of the programme.


Head of Service People commented on work done to map what support services are available to young people.


The panel queried the reasons for originally selecting the areas chosen to be included in the programme. The Head of Service People explained the criteria that was used and explained further work is ongoing to identify gaps in provision. The work is part of the action plan which CYP Emotional Mental Health and Wellbeing Partnership Board which is aimed at getting a better understanding of the needs of young people.



1.    The panel agreed to note the progress of the HeadStart sustainability plan.

2.    The panel comments on the future plans as the programme moves from ‘test and learn’ to ‘learn and embed’ to be considered by the HeadStart Partnership.



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