Secretary of State for Education Visit – November 2018

On Friday 16th November the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, visited Home-Start West Somerset to hear more about the roll out of two innovative projects the DfEd is funding.

Home-Start West Somerset scores the lowest in the UK for Social Mobility, the area is remote, made more challenging by public services being cut and families with young children feeling increasingly cut off and isolated.

Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds visiting Home-Start West Somerset
Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds visiting Home-Start West Somerset

The funding has paid for two new members of staff, an Early-Start and a Bump-Start Co-ordinator. Projects ‘Bump-Start’ and ‘Early-Start’ have captured the interest and hearts of local families and are proving very successful.

Bump-Start is being run by HS West Somerset together with a number of other Home-Starts in England supporting families’ right through pregnancy, the birth experience and the first year of their baby’s life. The programme aims to empower young families to give their child the best possible start in life.

Early-Start is for families with children from the ages of 0-2 years. The aim of the project is to better equip children with skills needed for them to start school and to encourage parents to interact, communicate and read with their young children from birth.

As part of the Early-Start project, ‘Story-Start’ sessions have been developed and introduced where parents and caregivers are encouraged to read with their children regularly in a variety of settings. Children are given a book bag and books to read together in the group and to take away, with new books loaned on a monthly basis. With West Somerset only having limited access to a mobile library, these sessions are becoming increasingly popular.