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Parent consultation on proposed changes to early childhood services

This consultation has ended

Start date 22 June 2016
End date 22 July 2016

Consultation feedback

We received more than 600 responses from parents and carers to the consultation on changes to early childhood services. You can read a summary of the responses we received, and what we're doing as a result, in the following document:

Why are we making changes?

Early experiences have profound and enduring effects on children’s health, wellbeing and learning. In Islington we have a strong commitment to early childhood services and families use a wide range of services to help children thrive and develop in the first five years.

Over the last few years we have seen big improvements in child health and development in the early years. We know our children’s centres are hugely valued by parents, with more than 90 per cent satisfaction reported in our latest parents’ survey.

But we know we can do more to support children to develop by the end of reception so that they are healthy, happy and ready for school. Furthermore, unprecedented funding pressures mean that we have to reshape our services in order to make savings.

Different services for families do not always work together as well as they could, making it harder to identify families’ needs at an early stage and make the most of the resources we have in the borough. There are gaps in services in some areas, and over-supply in others. This inconsistency is unfair to families and in future we want to provide a consistent offer of help and support across the borough.

We now have the opportunity to make our early childhood services even better, by improving consistency and quality and reducing duplication, while making the savings we need to make.

Islington remains committed to providing childcare, early intervention and children’s centre services despite huge cuts in government funding which has seen many children’s centres close around the country.

Islington is also committed to funding public health services including health visiting and the breastfeeding support service.

We will not be closing any children’s centres. All 16 centres will continue to deliver early childhood services, although there may be changes to timetables and venues. Services will be better co-ordinated and organised within three locality areas.

Our plans

Islington Council is working with its partners in health, schools and the voluntary sector to improve outcomes for local children, while making savings, by bringing services together to act as an integrated early childhood service.

Integrated early childhood services will bring together all of the borough’s services for families from pregnancy and with children aged under-five, which include:

  • childcare and education (nursery places)
  • child and family health services (such as midwifery, health visiting, and breastfeeding support) 
  • family support (such as parenting courses, stay and play, welfare and employment advice and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) groups)

We propose that we continue to provide universal services for all families in the borough, with extra services for families who need more support at some time.

This means that all services for families from pregnancy and with children aged under-five will work better together to provide the right help, at the right time and in the right places.

We would like parents and carers to help us shape the practical details of how services will work in future.

We will run formal consultations on any changes to individual children’s centres as required by legislation in the Autumn of this year. The new service will be implemented from April 2017.

What will be the benefits to families?

  • Professionals in different organisations will work better together to make sure what is offered meets the needs of families in each area. In many cases parents will continue to work with the same staff as they do now. 
  • Services will be better advertised meaning families find it easier to find out what is available in their area in different venues.
  • Some children’s centre services such as a stay and play may be relocated to other community venues. This will make services more accessible, and in many cases parents will have shorter walking distances to access services. 
  • In some children’s centres we will use the space that has been freed up to increase the number of early education and childcare places. This will help us meet increased demand for nursery places now and in the future and parents will benefit from increased access to childcare. 
  • Parents will continue to play an important role in designing and improving services.

Respond to the consultation

Contact information

Main contact: Early Years and Childcare Service 

Email: earlychildhoodtransformation@islington.gov.uk 

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