II. Implementation of the National Childcare Strategy
- Development Officers:
- A large number of EYDCPs employ development officers to assist in generating and sustaining childcare. The development officers may serve to continuously coordinate a range of local organizations with interest in childcare, consolidate the growth of childcare, promote quality improvement, stimulate increase in childcare places and support the sustainability of childcare places. The development officers assist community development, analyse existing resourses and needs, provide seminars for partners to increase awareness and knowledge, provide information on
funding sources, work with educational institutions to ensure training, improve local childcare information etc.
- Developing Places
- Free early education place for all four-year olds. On March 27, 1998, the DfEE announced that every four year old would be offered a part-time free education place ( 5 sessions a week for 2.5 hours per session for at least 33 weeks for the 3 terms before compulsory school age) from September 1998.
Free part-time places to three-year olds with 66% of the three-year olds receiving provision by 2002. The expansion of nursery places was announced on July 14, 1999. Over 80% of the 47,800 places announced were to be in the private and voluntary sectors.
Out-of-school Childcare projects receive major funding and support. One million pounds was given to pilot out-of-school hours projects including homework clubs, family learning schemes, mentoring, literary luncheon club. These are funded by DfEE and business groups such as BT, NatWest and National Power. The goal of the out-of-school initiatives is to set up out-of-hours learning clubs in 8000 schools by 2001 (DfEE Press Release, February 4, 1998. On April 14, 2000, DfEE announced a 15million pound initiative, Playing for Success Centres. These centres were initially football club classrooms but are now extended to other sports such as rugby, basketball, ice hockey and any other sport that can bring sport and education together. Football themed reading and numeracy exercises were developed for the Playing for Success Centres. Playing for Success was mentioned in the Excellence in Schools White Paper. The football clubs are established in Premier League and Nationwide Division One football clubs with a focus on raising literacy, numeracy, standards, on using the environment and nature of football as a motivational and curricular tool. As well, there has been a major growth in breakfast clubs. The Statistical First Release of October 1, 1999 indicates that there was an increase of 4,000 out of school clubs and holiday schemes between 1998-1999.
Other major functions include the development and monitoring of quality provision, Children's Information Services, Equal Opportunities, and Training for the early years community which includes liaison with the education and training, fundraising and allocation of resources, annual preparation of an audit and plan, and overall coordination of early years care and services.
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