Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
Our Programme for Government commits us to continue our support for our flagship Flying Start programme. And, in line with the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we have extended this commitment to deliver a phased expansion of early years provision to include all two-year-olds, with a particular emphasis on strengthening Welsh-medium provision.
Our excellent and highly regarded Flying Start programme is the best means of starting to deliver on this commitment. Already, around 36,000 children under the age of four, living in some of the most deprived areas in Wales, benefit from the Flying Start programme with around 9,000 two-year-olds receiving funded, high-quality, childcare.
The first phase of the expansion of Flying Start, starting in September 2022, will include all four elements of the current programme – enhanced health visiting, support for speech, language and communication, parenting support as well as childcare and our intention is to reach a further 2,500 children under the age of four in the first phase of the expansion.
We will shortly publish detailed guidance for our partners and the sector, which will enable planning to take place at a local level so we can make rapid progress towards achieving our goal of providing the best possible early years’ experience for all children in Wales.
This is an ambitious initiative, which will require close working with local authorities, health boards and our third sector partners.
Developments are moving at pace and I will keep Members of the Senedd informed as plans for the next phase and beyond are agreed.