Working in Partnership
Working in partnership, Ensuring Opportunities for All
Diversity: A Challenge and an Opportunity
Kirklees has a varied geography, a range of communities and a wide variety of different languages. It is made up of many communities from rural and industrial areas where there is a wide range of ethnicity and spoken languages. Kirklees is proud of its diverse population - but it comes with challenges.
Like others across the public sector, we have had to do more with less and we saw 50 Things as a cost effective, inclusive option that had the potential to support parental engagement across the district.
50 Things Ambassadors Across the Community
We introduced the project using Childcare Practitioners as our main ambassadors. Our ambassadors not only promote the 50 Things project within the community but provide valuable feedback from families regarding the project.
We have also recruited a number of ambassadors from partner services such as Health Visiting teams.
Ambassadors receive a special lapel badge on completing their CPD. We are currently developing an area on our website for our ambassadors to share good practice and ideas.
Beyond our core ambassadors, we have found there is great power in harnessing existing community networks such as social media, health and library networks, and mums’ networks.
An Agile Approach
While resources are limited, we have been able to use our council services to create promotional resources. Groups can self-serve and take event packs when needed. Records are kept so that we can follow these up.
We have ensured that 50 Things has had wide promotion across council services and community partners – but there is always more to do! We have recently secured additional capacity for social marketing as we believe this to be key to higher levels of engagement. We have seen a very healthy growth in participation over the eight months since launching. However, we particularly want to develop the ambassador role and increase promotion on other parent-facing platforms in order to see even more families engaging. We have made a strategic decision to concentrate on promoting activities linked to festivals and celebrations, and annual holidays.
Engaging with the Whole Community
50 Things was funded from our Schools budget, with the approval of our Education Improvement Committee. We joined 50 Things as a regional partner at an early stage of development, but the committee recognised the potential of the project to support parental engagement and early speech and language. Our multi-agency Best Start Partnership provides the steer and we have a stakeholder group with representation from a wide range of partners.
Using a proportional universalism principle, there will be now be a more focused approach in areas of the district so that school readiness supported. We are also promoting 50 Things in areas where two-year-old entitlement is lower.
We are currently working in depth with partners supporting two discreet groups: Children Looked After and families engaging with the Home Start programme.
For Children Looked After we are working with social services to produce a 50 things memory journal that will follow each child should they move carers. Carers are also offered training and a bag of 50 things resources to use with children. This is a hugely exciting development for the direction that 50 Things is being taken in, and we believe this application of the project will open up a new avenue of potential for 50 Things. We are also commissioned by the Virtual Schools team to provide training and support so that 50 Things becomes part of each child’s Personal Education Plan.
We are working with Home Start young parent groups to introduce them to 50 things. Home Start volunteers now have a 50 things discussion as part of their regular supervisions and all volunteers now receive 50 things training.
We are also finding that our organisers of Stay and Play sessions, toddler groups and childcare providers are using 50 Things as part of their curriculum. In this regard, 50 things offers a rich opportunity for developing children’s cultural capital.
Early Years Consultant
If you would like to discuss this case study please contact Andrea Layzell using the following contact details:
Bradford BD8 9QW