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An evaluation exploring: successes and challenges in the phased delivery of Flying Start expansion, impacts on stakeholders and examples of good practice.

Flying start expansion consists of two phases which expand the programme to new areas across all Welsh local authorities. Areas eligible for Phase 1 of the expansion received all four components of Flying Start (childcare; enhanced health visitor support; access to parenting support; and support for speech, language, and communication development). Phase 2 consisted of the expansion of the childcare component of Flying Start only.

The delivery of Phase 1 expansion of Flying Start was described as a smooth process. Although the delivery of Phase 2 was seen as successful, a number of challenges were faced. In particular, local authorities reported that a longer lead-in time for Phase 2 would have allowed them to involve more childcare settings, to be able to inform parents earlier and adjust internal capacity.

Local authorities reported some positive impacts of the Flying Start expansion on childcare settings, concerning the quality of childcare delivery and training for childcare settings. A number of additional childcare settings were found to have joined as deliverers for Flying Start, often encouraged through simplified procurement processes and support from local authorities.

The evaluation identified challenges around the recruitment and retention of qualified childcare staff, particularly the Welsh speaking workforce, as well as health visitors. This was seen as limiting Flying Start capacity in deprived areas which could slow down the expansion.


Process evaluation of the phased expansion of Flying Start: main report , file type: PDF, file size: 766 KB

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Hannah Davies

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