Resetting the relationship between local and national government. Read our Local Government White Paper

2 Matters: Evaluation of an award which promotes improved outcomes for North Tyneside’s vulnerable two year olds

The “2 Matters” award is an audit tool followed by face-to-face professional development over a period of several months. It offers support to all settings with provision for two-year-olds (schools, private and voluntary sector, and childminders). It includes a significant professional development programme to challenge practitioners as they pursue excellence in this critical phase of learning. Through this award the aim is to support all participating settings to offer learning and care of the highest quality so that all children, including the most disadvantaged, make the best possible progress from their starting points. This will prepare them well for the next steps in their education and enhance their life opportunities.

View allChildren and young people articles
View allHealth articles

The challenge:

The expansion of government-funded education and childcare for 2 year olds created opportunities for increased places for the most vulnerable children, within existing provision and new provision within the early years sector.

There is a well established understanding in the sector of the need to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children so they have the “best start in life”.

It is recognised that there is strong partnership working across the borough, which enables an effective starting point for this collaborative programme.

There is a strong desire from all professionals working in the early years to improve outcomes and support school readiness.

The sector works in close collaboration with other services ensuring growth of professional knowledge within schools and settings to best support the learning outcomes for the children

The solution:

North Tyneside has developed an audit tool to give settings and schools the mechanisms to evaluate the quality of their offer and develop effective action plans to strengthen practice and provision.

An audit tool ensures rigour in school and settings’ safeguarding practices and culture.

Professional dialogue is central to the programme, to deepen practitioner understanding and increase rigour in planning, preparation and assessment of progress.

Support in understanding curriculum design for two-year-olds to meet the requirements of the educational programmes within the EYFS statutory framework. This will ensure that practitioners secure and extend aspirational curriculum subject knowledge for two-year-olds (at age and stage of development.)

The programme provides a forum for deepening understanding of the significance of enabling learning environments in fostering the characteristics of effective teaching and learning and promoting wellbeing.

Practitioners’ knowledge is increased, providing effective strategies for parental engagement.

Practitioners will foster stronger professional partnerships and alliances to provide further expertise for the benefit of children.

Build practitioner confidence to articulate the curriculum design and pedagogical choices of each school or setting.

The impact (including cost savings and income generated if applicable):

  • Stronger knowledge and understanding of the latest research into effective teaching approaches and models of learning.
  • Greater confidence that practitioners’ practice best meets the needs of two-year-olds and their families, including the most vulnerable.
  • Access to a wider range of professional connections to maintain the momentum of improvement over time
  • Professionals delivering sessions have formed closer working relationships that have permeated wider aspects of their work.
  • Improved knowledge and understanding of high quality provision for 2-year-olds and their families. This includes managers and headteachers as well as practitioners and ultimately leads to better outcomes

How is the new approach being sustained?

“The environment remains a strong point and our team has really committed to the regular revision. Our headteacher showed someone around today and she commented on the environment and the interactions between staff and children. I mentioned that we'd used the advice from the course and she said that she could see it in practice!” (Practitioner who was part of the programme)

“What we have been doing is looking at the audit once a month, reviewing it and working on the areas which we had low numbers. We are trying at least once a month to improve our score. “ (Practitioner who was part of the programme)

Please see link here for feedback from all delegates

Lessons learned

A wide range of professionals from across North Tyneside services, deliver on “2 Matters”; Education North Tyneside, Children’s Public Health Service (0-19), Language and Communication team, Active North Tyneside, Early Help, North Tyneside Music Hub, EMTAS (Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achiever Service)

Content has been evaluated following on from session delivery and amendments made for the coming year’s programme.

The sharing of practice was important in the programme, both by delegates at the start of each session and by invited managers/leads/practitioners with an identified focus.

On review of the first year’s running of the 2 Matters award it was identified that some of the subjects required more depth of knowledge, for example, Pedagogy and Safeguarding and others required combining to ensure practitioners fully understood them in context, for example, curriculum design and talking the talk of the curriculum. Other sections required a little refining to ensure they met the outcomes of the award, this included some practical activities.

“I was honoured to be asked to give a presentation on well being at Little Blossoms as part of the 2 matters award as it meant that we were viewed as a setting who were doing this right.  I believe this was a well received power point which gave the professionals on the course a detailed understanding of how to embed mental health wellness and well-being throughout the workplace setting so that it is an authentic part of everyday life. (Manager of a nursery)

Contact person for the project:

Elaine Chaplin, Education North Tyneside