Giving children a Smart Start- strategy approved!

Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet have endorsed and approved the Smart Start Strategy which aims to look at how we provide the best start possible for 0 – 5 years olds in Warwickshire.

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Working with and listening to the views of parents, carers, organisations like the NHS, early years education and the third sector, officers have created a strategy which outlines how the County Council will ensure that children in Warwickshire have the best possible start in life and that their parents and carers are well supported from the moment of conception through to the time their children reach school.

In its first year the programme has already produced a needs assessment, carried out consultation with 1,127 parents and carers, engaged with numerous professionals, issued grants to 11 Warwickshire based projects and developed a Smart Start strategy.

The programme recently held its first annual conference which involved parents, providers of early years services, health professionals, community and voluntary organisations and local councillors, all of whom were able to look at the developments of the programme and put their views forward on how to bring organisations and services together to improve the way in which support to 0-5s and their families is provided across the county.

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Chair of the 0-5 Strategy Group said:

“I am really pleased that the Smart Start Strategy has been approved. It means that we can now move forward with the early integration plans which will look at how we work together to better target the provision of early year’s services across Warwickshire and improve school readiness of future generations of 4 and 5 year olds.”

Councillor Les Caborn, Portfolio Holder for Health explained

“Approving the strategy is just the start of the work we have to do to deliver the best possible services we can. It is only by working together that this will be achieved and I look forward to seeing how we develop our services to meet the needs of the strategy.”

Councillor Richard Chattaway, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said

“A lot of work has gone into getting to where we are today and I am encouraged that the strategy has buy-in from the Cabinet. We now need to ensure that the service WCC provides meets the needs of our 0-5 year olds, to give them and their families the opportunity to get the best possible start.”

For more information on Smart Start log onto http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/smartstart