Key findings from the
local evaluation 2004
Presenters: Jo Sabin, Centre
Manager & Mairi Ann Cullen,
CEDAR, University of Warwick
The key challenge
‘I am very pleased and very happy that
there is such a place as Sure Start now.
It’s nice to know that, because this is
up and running and it’s wellestablished now, in years to come …
my children will have somewhere to go
with their children, as well.’
(quote from a parent)
Focus of local evaluation, 2004
Three strands of work:
1. Collate and analyse existing internal
evaluation information
2. Conduct two service evaluations – a)
support for speech and language
development; b) adult tutor support
3. Conduct thematic evaluation - partnership
Purposes of the local evaluation
Each strand included for a purpose:
1. To draw together existing, internallygenerated information about members’
views into an accessible format
2. To begin focused thinking about
3. To unpick the “Chelmsley Wood model”
1. Parents’ views of 18 groups & events, 2000-03
 492 evaluation sheets; 5 reports based on parents’ views
2a. Support for speech and language development
 8 interviews (parents, professionals, Sure Start staff)
 145 Reynell assessments; 64 PIPA assessments
2b. Support for adult learners
 13 interviews (parents, professionals, Sure Start staff)
 College and LSC data on adult and community education
3. Working in partnership
 40 interviews (parents, professionals, Sure Start team)
Main findings
Headline findings, 2004
Existing information from members gave
evidence of overwhelmingly positive views
Support for speech and language
development is making a difference
Adult learners are thriving and increasing
 The partnerships work - for parents and
their children, for the staff team, for local
professionals and for the community
What has been achieved?
Improvements related to all four Sure
Start Objectives :
Social and emotional development
Children’s ability to learn
Family functioning and sense of
Objective 1 - Social and emotional
increased confidence of parents and children
mental health issues addressed
behavioural issues addressed
improved parenting skills
improved bonding between parents and children
improved parent-child interaction
success of Solihull Approach
success of Family Support Model
Objective 2 - Health
 ‘tentative’ findings that preventative work is reducing
health inequalities ( a long-term goal)
 quality of ante-natal and post-natal support
 benefits of Baby Massage
 progress in smoking cessation
 valued support for young mums
 valued support for mums with post-natal depression
 promotion of health eating
 promotion of dental health
 support for breastfeeding - Baby Café, trained parent
Objective 3 - Children’s ability to learn
 parents have higher aspirations for their children
 improved play experience (play at Sure Start Centre
planned around child development; ‘Birth to Three
Matters’ implemented)
 improved listening skills
 better preparation for Nursery
 adults notice the benefits to children from experience of
Sure Start crèche, Play and Stay, Play Link, Welcome to
Nursery, Rainbow Tots
Objective 3 – service evaluation
Support for speech and language
 sharing knowledge and skills with parents has led to positive
behavioural changes in how members interact with their babies and
young children
 sharing knowledge and skills with team has led to effective support
for speech and language development becoming embedded across
the programme
 outreach work in local nurseries has led to statistically significant
improvements in children’s phonological awareness, a prerequisite
of literacy
 members value access to qualified speech and language therapist
without waiting for a referral or clinical appointment and the friendly,
reassuring, holistic manner in which support and advice is given
 local professionals report a marked improvement in speech,
language and social interaction skills of children who attend
 local paediatric SLT service willing to learn from Sure Start
Chelmsley Wood
Objective 4 - Strengthening families and
the community
 friendships & social networks formed among parents and
children – makes transition to nursery and school easier
 parents and professionals report increased sense of
community spirit
 coherent, articulate, assertive parental voice, especially
evident through Parents Action Community Team
 parent-run parent and toddler groups
 parent-run adventure group for under-10s
 increased parental representation on local decisionmaking groups and on local working groups
Objective 4 – service evaluation
Supporting adult learning
 role of adult tutor valued by Sure Start members, colleagues and
Solihull College Community Education staff
 adult tutor provides support to enable access to first steps learning,
accredited learning, routes to employment
 adult tutor has raised local profile of family learning, esp. through
Family Learning Network
 huge increase in take-up of adult learning opportunities in
Chelmsley Wood ward
 progression routes from first steps learning now established and
used – e.g. improved uptake of Level 2
 improved employability, especially successful in childcare sector
How has it been achieved?
Thematic evaluation - partnership
All the successes achieved through the
processes of working in partnership:
• the partnership that put together the original bid
• the partnerships that sustain the local programme – the
Partnership Board and Community Reference Group
• the partnership working within the multi-agency, multiskilled, carefully chosen team
• the partnership working with parents
‘Working in partnership’ – what it means in
Sure Start Chelmsley Wood
Key elements of definitions given Partnership
Board and Community Reference Group:
 shared vision
 purposeful, open discussion
 agreed, shared action
How far did this match reality at Sure Start
Chelmsley Wood?
 ALL agreed it was an exemplar of good practice
‘Partnership working in the team’ – what it
means in Sure Start Chelmsley Wood
 team is representative of needs of members - i.e. a coordinated &
cohesive team, working together in service of families
 respect for others’ roles, skills and knowledge
 blurring of edges of roles (not ‘precious’ about areas of expertise)
 benefits of co-working, of core planning and joint planning
 accessible, effective support for team and members
 underpinned by Solihull Approach - provides a common language
and consistency of approach to children and families
 mutual support provides scope to be innovative
 actively learning from each other
‘Partnership with parents’ – what it means in
Sure Start Chelmsley Wood
Key aspects of definitions given by parents:
treated as equals (even ‘first among equals’)
being valued and listened to
being taken seriously, esp. re decision-making
acting on parents’ views (‘delivering the goods’)
How far did this match reality at Sure Start
Chelmsley Wood?
 ALL stated this matched all these expectations
 awareness of what parents offer to Sure Start Chelmsley
Wood: ‘We’re what makes it work.’
‘Partnership with parents’ - valued
characteristics of Sure Start Chelmsley Wood
 children and parents at the centre - working with
and for local parents and children, not ‘doing
unto’ them
 environment - safe, friendly, welcoming
 respect – for staff, parents and children; staff
who listen and don’t judge
 high quality - of staff, of facilities, of group
sessions, of individual support; of childcare; of
equipment provided
The Sure Start Chelmsley Wood Model
THE SOLIHULL APPROACH – empowering families
The 3 elements of the Solihull Approach are used to empower both parents and children and
can be utilised at any stage in the family relationship in a therapeutic or preventative way.
(from psychoanalytic theory)
(from child development research)
(from learning theory)
For further information contact
The three elements
• Containment – responding to another in a way that
acknowledges their feelings & reflects them back as
tolerable and meaningful – restores ability to process
emotions and capacity to think – ‘feeling safe & valued’
• Reciprocity – mutual involvement in the starting,
continuation and ending of an interaction, i.e. each
person being able to affect and be affected by the other basis of relationship with baby; supports communication
& language development – ‘dancing together’
• Behaviour management – parents teaching children selfcontrol through setting reasonable boundaries, giving
attention & praise, modelling expected behaviour –
facilitates learning and development – ‘ready to learn
and develop together’
Sure Start Chelmsley Wood Model
Think of a series of triangles sitting inside each other,
with a heart in the middle:
Heart at the centre: values and attitudes of all staff
 valuing the children, families and each other as equals
Triangle 1: all working within the Solihull Approach
 containment; reciprocity; behaviour management
Triangle 2: the Sure Start Chelmsley Wood experience
 safe, welcoming environment – i.e. containment;
respectful relationships – i.e. reciprocity ; high quality
staff delivering high quality services in well-kept
premises - all learning and developing together – i.e.
behaviour management
Sure Start Chelmsley Wood Model affecting, and affected by, its context
The model of working affects, and is affected by:
Triangle 3: the wider context of Solihull
 partnership structures in place (containment); day to day
partnership working (reciprocity); willingness to learn
together and develop mainstream versions of the
positive experiences from Sure Start Chelmsley Wood
(behaviour management)
Triangle 4: the wider national context
 commitment to national Sure Start programme
(containment); mutual sharing of knowledge and
experiences, e.g. through NESS (reciprocity); facilitating
others to learn from Sure Start local programmes and
develop similar approaches within Children’s Services
(behaviour management)
Key recommendations
 To continue to work together as a Partnership to
achieve the long-term future of the facilities and
provision at Sure Start Chelmsley Wood
 To embrace widening access to the programme parents and professionals want this (interview data)
 To support the mainstreaming of approaches and
lessons from Sure Start Chelmsley Wood being
implemented locally
whilst ensuring that
 the emphasis on high quality provision, made in
partnership with parents, for children and parents is
 quick, easy access to specialist support within
universal services is maintained
What next? - the current position
Mainstreaming is already happening:
Education – local development of Neighbourhood
Nurseries, Extended Schools, Children’s Centres all
influenced by Chelmsley Wood model
Social services - Solihull Family Support Model
Health - Health Visitor review; Parental Evaluation
Developmental Screening pilot; influence within CAMHS;
SLT Dept parents’ groups; Solihull Approach spreading
Community action - Parents Action Community Team
Sustainable community provision - Cheeky Monkeys &
Little Squirrels for pre-school; Funky Monkeys for under10s
Opportunities for adults - local college agreed to train
crèche workers to improve quality of childcare to increase
uptake of courses; development of Excellence in the
Community learning pods
What next? - the framework for the future
exists (a)
The local programme slots in to the key developments
a) national agenda
Children’s National Service Framework
Every Child Matters: Change for Children - Sure
Start members want these five Outcomes for their
children too (interview data)
Choice for Parents (10 Year Childcare Strategy)
Together from the Start
Early Support Pilot Programme
What next? - the framework for the future
exists (b)
The local programme slots in to the key developments
b) local agendas
Solihull Sure Start Plan, 2004-06
Solihull Lifelong Learning Partnership (3 Year
Solihull Adult & Community Learning, SDP 200407
A Place for People - community strategy for
Solihull, 2003-13
The key challenge
‘I am very pleased and very happy that
there is such a place as Sure Start now.
It’s nice to know that, because this is
up and running and it’s wellestablished now, in years to come …
my children will have somewhere to go
with their children, as well.’
(quote from a parent)

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