CHANGE Weekly Bulletin 19th December 2017
Our final bulletin of the year sees us conclude our look back at the progress and activities of CHANGE in 2017.
This year in CHANGE: Childcare and Nurture Glasgow East – Part 2
As year one of CHANGE progressed we were able to expand our network to incorporate a range of local and national organisations who have contributed to the work of the project team. The Scottish Out of School Care Network has provided information and insight on how CHANGE could impact on school-aged childcare providers. We would like to thank Andrew Shoolbread and Irene Audain for taking the time to make this contribution. We would also like to thank Colin Agnew and the members of the childcare and out of school care forums covering Glasgow East for allowing us to attend meetings and discuss the objectives of CHANGE.
We have been especially grateful to the Everyone’s Children project from the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector for providing us with the opportunity to meet with a range of third sector organisations working with children and families. Thank you to Suzie Scott, Laura Drover and Lisa Wright for their support.
Over the course of the year, we have met with several organisations providing services in Glasgow East outside of formal childcare provision. We have learned so much about the importance of relationships with children and families from our meetings with PEEK, Playbusters, Parkhead Youth Project, Baltic Street Adventure Playground, Fuse Youth Café and Church House. Much of this work has been facilitated by the Thriving Places team and we look forward to working with each organisation as the project progresses in 2018.
The Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) is responsible for leading the evaluation of CHANGE while also providing strategic support as members of the project board. Here, Val McNeice, Senior Public Health Research Specialist at GCPH, explains what they have learned in year one:
As the first year of the CHANGE project ends, the evaluation team has baseline findings to report. The evaluation of year one was based on three strands of activity: profiling the CHANGE area; primary research with parents and carers; and primary research with professionals.
Firstly, the profile highlights how the CHANGE area has altered over time. The population of the CHANGE neighbourhoods has dropped substantially during the 1970s and, over the last 40 years, the make-up of family households has changed dramatically – lone parent households now make up at least half of all households with children. The CHANGE area has high levels of child poverty and deprivation and, despite increases in life expectancy in the project neighbourhoods, the figure for men and women remains significantly below the national and Glasgow average.
For children in the area, child obesity and children’s dental health tend to be worse than the Glasgow average, and children in the CHANGE area also have higher levels of vulnerability and exposure to violence and crime. The area has, however, seen a steady upward trend in the proportion of women with higher level qualifications and also in the proportion of women who are economically active.
In terms of early learning and childcare, there are 6 local authority nurseries, 4 private nurseries and 4 voluntary sector nurseries in the CHANGE area, as well as 4 registered childminders. For older children, there are 8 primary schools, 1 Additional Support for Learning secondary school and 2 mainstream secondary schools. There are also 5 out-of-school care (OSC) providers, and 7 youth, play and multipurpose services.
Using a face-to-face survey as well as focus groups with parents and carers, the evaluation explored use of childcare, perceived benefits, and barriers to access. In summary, parents/carers were found to use a mixture of formal and informal care and felt that early learning and childcare was beneficial, particularly for younger children, in terms of children’s social and emotional development. Practicality and good reputation were the strongest reasons for choosing a childcare establishment and barriers included inflexibility of provision, financial cost, availability of a place, limited provision for children with additional support needs, and lack of knowledge about where, when and how to apply for a childcare place.
Primary research with professionals consisted of a series of telephone interviews to investigate perceptions of current early learning and childcare provision, beliefs about what matters to families and the likely implications of more locally appropriate provision both for children and families and for the wider community. The views of the professionals supported those of the parents/carers, with strong themes being accessibility, quality and sustainability of early learning and childcare provision. The professionals also felt that putting families at the centre of decision-making is crucial to developing a new model of early learning and childcare, and that translating government policy on childcare into positive change on the ground will only come about when families are engaged with and listened to.
Our thanks go to Val, for providing this piece, and to the rest of the evaluation group for supporting the project team in 2017.
The CHANGE project team would like to wish all of our supporters and contributors a very happy Christmas and we look forward to developing new and existing partnerships in 2018.