Assurances needed over Flying Start delivery - Aled Roberts

January 18, 2012 5:06 PM

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children and Young People in the National Assembly, has called on the Welsh Government to make sure that adequate resources are available to meet the demands of planned expansion of the Flying Start scheme.

Flying Start is a Welsh Government scheme aimed at providing additional support to families with children under the age of four who live in deprived areas of Wales.

Speaking at Wednesday's Assembly debate on additional early years provision, Aled Roberts said:

"It is a sad fact that only 21% of pupils entitled to free school meals achieve five good GCSEs at grades A* to C. Flying Start has the potential to improve that figure, and the future prospects of Wales' young people, but concerns remain that resources are already stretched and there is doubt over whether the expansion of the scheme can be adequately manned.

"At our Children and Young People Committee in September we were extremely concerned to find that Health Visitors - who are key to the implementation of Flying Start - are already overloaded with family caseloads.

"It is clear from the Interim Evaluation, December's Government-commissioned Evaluation and the joint report from Children in Wales and the Wales Flying Start Co-ordinator's Network that more time is needed before we can fully understand the identified successes or shortcomings in the Flying Start programme.

"It is also evident that results vary across the local authorities and that more needs to be done to share best practice. We need to ensure positive outcomes across the whole of Wales.

"I would urge the Welsh Government to make sure that any planned expansion can be fully and effectively resourced by those involved in its delivery."

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