New statistics reveal the Welsh Government is on track to meet its ambitious target of providing Flying Start services to 36,000 children for the second year running.
Figures show 33,252 children benefitted from Flying Start between April and December 2015. This is over 600 more children than benefited at the equivalent stage in 2014-15, a year in which the programme was delivered to more than 37,000 children – reaching and exceeding the Welsh Government’s target a year early.
Flying Start supports families living in some of the most disadvantaged communities across Wales. It offers 12 and a half hours of high quality childcare a week for 2-3 year olds; support for the development of children’s speech, language and communication; parenting support; and an enhanced health visitor service.
Giving children the best possible start in life is a key priority for the Welsh Government, which is why funding for the early years programme was fully protected in the recent Draft Budget and will be maintained at almost £77 million in 2016/17, in spite of significant cuts to the Welsh Government’s own budget.
The Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, welcomed the figures:
“I am delighted the latest figures show we are well on track to deliver on our commitment to provide Flying Start support to 36,000 children again this year.
“Giving children the best possible start in life has been one of this Government’s key priorities, which is why we have invested almost half a billion pounds in the scheme since 2006. Our communities are reaping the rewards of this investment, with thousands more families now able to access high quality childcare, support for children’s speech, language, and communication, as well as parenting support, and an enhanced health visitor service.
“Time and time again I have spoken to teachers who say they can clearly see the benefits Flying Start gives children, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities they face as they get older. The £77m we have allocated for the programme in 2016/17 will ensure children across Wales continue to get a Flying Start in life.”
The figures are available here:http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/flying-start/?lang=en