Opening of Bumblebees Flying Start Group

17 February 2016

The Vale of Glamorgan’s newest Flying Start group has been launched at Colcot Primary School.  

Named Bumblebees Flying Start, it will provide support for families in the catchment area, from pre-birth up until 4 years of age.

Flying Start is a Welsh Government initiative to develop language, cognitive, social and emotional skills, physical development and identify families with higher needs.  Support is provided by way of health assistance, parenting groups, early language support and free part-time childcare and aims to improve a child’s development, health and wellbeing in readiness for their school years.

The new Flying Start scheme at Colcot School has been created with £350,000 of funding from the Welsh Government.  Every year, over a thousand children benefit from Flying Start in the Vale of Glamorgan, with more than £1.2 million of capital funding invested over the past 4 years.

Working in partnership with Communities First and Families First, Bumblebees Flying Start will also provide support for adults in areas including confidence building, basic skills and peer support. 

Cllr Chris Elmore, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, said: “Bumblebees is our fourth Flying Start scheme in the Vale of Glamorgan and allows us to build on the good work already being undertaken.  We understand that for all children to get the best from their education, we have to provide support for some at an early stage.

“Flying start provides a wrap-around service that benefits the whole family, from pre-birth, until the point that they are ready to start school.  Working closely with parents, we can provide them with essential parenting skills and the support they need to get the most out of being a parent, which will benefit their children’s development and wellbeing.”

Flying Start Opening
In addition to the launch of Bumblebees Flying Start, Colcot Primary School was chosen by Welsh Government, as the venue to unveil its new Flying Start resources for children and their parents, in the form of book bags.

Toddlers in the Vale of Glamorgan were the first of 10,000 two-year-olds across Wales to receive the bags, designed to support their speech and language development.

The new Flying Start Book Bag contains a Welsh language book, English language book, bilingual activity sheets, scribble pad and a set of crayons, and builds on the existing book bags distributed to all children at 9 months and 18 months via the national Bookstart initiative.

Developed as a result of £100,000 of Welsh Government funding, the Flying Start resources are designed to encourage families to share stories and rhymes with their toddlers, improving their speech and language development in the crucial early years.

In attendance to officially open Bumblebees and the resource launch was Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.  She said: “We know early language development has a huge impact on children’s literacy, social skills and behaviour as they grow up.  Research shows a three-year-old’s vocabulary is predictive of their income at 30 years of age.

“This is why support for toddlers’ speech, language and communication skills is such a key element of our flagship Flying Start programme.  The new Flying Start Book Bag will support families to have fun reading, rhyming and learning together. 

“I am delighted to officially open the Bumblebees Flying Start setting.  It is wonderful to see the real difference Flying Start is having on local families in the Vale of Glamorgan, providing quality childcare and services to families, as well as enabling parents to enter employment or learn new skills.”