Exchanging ideas and best practice is crucial to the success of A Better Start around the country. Earlier this month, we welcomed the A Better Start team from Lambeth to show them what we’re doing in Southend.

At a Better Start Southend, we’re always looking for ways to learn from what’s working elsewhere – and share our own good ideas. This has involved meeting with teams from the other A Better Start locations to share knowledge and expertise, with the aim of improving outcomes for the youngest children.

Earlier this month A Better Start’s Isobel Wratislaw invited Jacqui McDermid, an early years educational improvement consultant from the Lambeth Early Action Partnership (the Better Start project in Lambeth), to spend a day getting the lay of the land in Southend. They visited home-grown projects improving children’s communication skills like the speech and language sessions ‘Talking Tiddlers’ and ‘Let’s Talk with Your Baby’ and discussed some of the similarities and differences between the two sites, as well as the opportunities and challenges they share.

A Better Start Southend’s Isobel Wratislaw, says:

“Jacqui came to see some of the great work being done in Southend and it was interesting to consider the different approaches that are working. For example, Lambeth Speech and Language Therapy service has a Universal offer which, amongst other things, enables them to run drop-in sessions for parents who may be concerned about their children’s language development.

“In Southend, we use Children’s Centres to run a language screening programme (for children aged 24 months) and various groups for babies and young children, which are part of the A Better Start programme. We also run training in Communication and Language Development for parents and practitioners, and we both offer advice on issues like the use of dummies, screen time, and children’s development.

“Exchanging ideas and understanding how people are doing things differently are absolutely crucial to the success of A Better Start around the country and I’m really looking forward to working with Jacqui over the coming months and visiting Lambeth to see their work in action.”

Jacqui McDermid adds:

“It was a real pleasure to come to Southend and share our Better Start experiences. Comparing ideas and what we have learnt so far is really useful for future planning. I was really impressed by the people running the speech and language groups; having highly qualified staff leading the sessions really makes a difference. We are looking forward to having Isobel to visit us in Lambeth, which will be another great opportunity for joined up thinking.”

For more information about the Lambeth Early Action Partnership click here.

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