Cabinet asked to agree early years proposals

Following a public consultation, the Council’s Cabinet are set to consider a report that recommends a new approach for the Council’s early years services with a greater focus on children’s crucial first 1001 days of life - birth to two years old.

The recommended proposals, due to be considered at Cabinet on Thursday, 3 September 2020, aim to narrow the gap of achievement and wellbeing between disadvantaged children and others in the borough whilst addressing the high level of vacancies in Council-run nurseries and school nurseries.

In November 2019, Cabinet agreed a public consultation on a range of options for a changed approach to services for children aged under five and their families. The report includes the responses to this consultation and, following detailed analysis, sets out proposals for a new approach to early years investment in Camden.

Key proposals set out for Cabinet’s consideration include:

  • We will continue providing places at Hampden Nursey for two year olds and expand the provision at Edith Neville for three and four year olds.
  • Konstam Nursery to continue to provide nursery places for two, three and four year olds but under the leadership of Brookfield School. It is proposed that the school will integrate its nursery with the provision at Konstam freeing up space on the cramped Brookfield site.
  • Not reopening Kilburn Grange Children’s Centre as a nursery but to accommodate the new range of Sure Start services there, with a particular focus on parents to be, new parents and children aged up to two years old. Langtry Nursery which has accommodated all children from Kilburn Grange during building works will remain open.
  • Invest in a range of additional Sure Start services at Hampden, Konstam/ Brookfield Nursery, Kilburn Grange and Gospel Oak that focus on the crucial time between conception and the age of two and build on the opportunities provided by the recent integration of health visiting into Camden’s children’s centre and early years services.
Councillor Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families
Camden has a proud history of supporting families of children aged under five through our Camden Sure Start services - and we know how important it is for their future to give children the best start in life. Due to changes in Government funding arrangements and a drop in the birth-rate, we now have too many nursery places in Camden. This means we have to make some challenging choices about how we deliver early years services.

“While Camden children are achieving in line with others across the country by age five, there is still a significant gap between the achievement of disadvantaged children and others in the borough, a situation likely to have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. This gap needs to be narrowed if Camden is to deliver on its commitment to ensuring no one is left behind.

“Attending a high-quality nursery helps children achieve well but we also know that the time from pregnancy to the age of two is really important in ensuring that children get the best start. After a public consultation with local families, staff and residents, Cabinet will be asked to approve changes to early years services in the borough which we believe will help all children to achieve well. We have listened to the valuable feedback and comments provided during the public consultation and amended the original proposals significantly to take into account the needs of each particular site which was affected.
Councillor Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families

Cabinet are also being asked to agree to postpone any changes to Gospel Oak Nursery until July 2021 to enable time for further engagement with parents, families and partners to co-design any new model.

Read the full Cabinet paper on our website.