Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Praise. following review of early years programme

Friday, 17 September 2021

We've been praised by not-for-profit organisation Parents As First Teachers, after a review of our training programme which supports families from pregnancy until their children are three years old.

We're an affiliate of the Parents As First Teachers (PaFT) programme, which is designed to help families build positive parenting behaviours, give parents the confidence to support their child’s learning and development, and enhance family wellbeing. Our early years practitioners deliver the programme, and work on a one-to-one basis with families.

The news follows a review of our work to implement the programme and train our early years practitioners to deliver it. Our performance was bench-marked against the UNICEF Standards for Early Childhood Development Parenting Programmes.

The review said:

Despite the huge challenges of retaining family engagement, especially with young parents, during the pandemic, Central Bedfordshire PaFT practitioners delivered 172 personal visits. This included visits to parents under the age of 21, creatively using a combination of face to face, video and audio approaches.

One of the standards we met was the recommendation that parenting programmes should start as early as possible. 35% of the families supported in 2020 by our PaFT practitioners were first-time parents, and 39% of the children were unborn or less than one year old.

67% of the families who worked with our PaFT practitioners were classed as vulnerable, experiencing four or more stress factors including parental mental health issues, low income, domestic abuse, child abuse, unstable housing, parent or child disability or long-term health issues.

Benchmarking against Standard 8, the report praised our ongoing support to staff who deliver the programme, saying:

Central Bedfordshire Council’s commitment to and investment in a strong, fully-trained supervisory structure for Parents As First Teachers admirably exemplifies this standard.

Councillor Sue Clark, our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

We want every child to have the best possible start in life, and the early years is an incredibly important stage in a child's development.

The PaFT programme is designed to help children develop with the help and support of their parents.

I’m really pleased that PaFT have reviewed our work so positively. Their comments are a testament to the hard work of all of our early years practitioners, and the parents involved in this programme, who want to help children achieve their full potential.

Janice Saunders, Director and National Trainer from Parents As First Teachers said:

PaFT Educators in Central Bedfordshire have shown huge commitment, resilience and flexibility in continuing to serve families and children throughout the pandemic. Parents As First Teachers UK values the strong support given by Central Bedfordshire Council to underpin this work.