Giving children in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough the best start in life

A new strategy that aims to ensure that all children in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are healthy, happy, safe from harm and ready for learning –will be discussed by the Children and Young People Committee on 10 September. The experiences of babies and children from pre-birth to five lay the foundations for their future, and shape their development, educational attainment and life chances.

The Best Start in Life programme brings together a wide range of organisations and professionals representing the wider early years system, including, early year’s education, early help, maternity, heathy child programme and voluntary sector.

 Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “We want all children in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be healthy, happy and confident, safe from harm, with an aptitude for learning. Evidence is clear that the early years are a crucial period of change.

 “The Best Start in Life strategy identifies specific areas where we can work together to have the greatest impact on early years outcomes for children from pre-birth to five. It focuses on areas including; healthy pregnancy, parents and children; identifying and supporting vulnerable parents early; preparing for parenthood; supporting positive attachment, bonding and child development.”

 The Strategy is, in part, a response to an Early Years Social Mobility Pilot Peer Review of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, undertaken by the Local Government Association (LGA) in 2018. And in June this year we had a follow up visit from the LGA team to check on our progress.

 The follow-up report acknowledged that progress had been made in the last year, noting that, “There is a strong commitment from senior leaders and elected members to the Best Start in Life (BSiL) transformation programme underpinning the Strategy.

 “There has been rapid progress towards the development of a multi-agency strategy with a commitment to release capacity to progress the work through the implementation and stakeholder groups. Relationships and networking across agencies have been strengthened through the strategy and stakeholder groups and staff value this.”

 The report noted improvements over the last year including ‘increased clarity around early help for families and ‘considerable progress around the provision of speech and language therapy. 

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