The project, called ‘Starting School Together’, was launched by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) with the aim of improving the transition between pre-school and primary school for children.
During his visit, Mr Gyimah met with school staff, PACEY, parents and early years providers, talking to them about the positive outcomes of the project. Mr Gyimah said, "I was delighted to meet with the children and staff at Millfield Primary School today and talk to some of the people who have been central to making the Starting School Together project such a success.
"It was encouraging to see how settled the pupils are, thanks to the dedicated staff who have eased their transition, and to hear how the project has supported families making the move from early years to primary education.
"The project is a great opportunity to build on the good practice of nurseries, childminders and schools who already work together to ensure children coming into full time education have the best start possible, and it was helpful to hear their thoughts on the project as we look at how we can encourage more partnerships like these."
As part of its Voluntary and Community Sector procurement programme, the Department for Education awarded PACEY a £350,000 grant for the project.
The project’s final aim is to help children currently in early years settings improve their transition into full time education, with its main focus being on disadvantaged children and children from ethnic communities.
In the first stages of the project, childcare professionals, families and teachers will be working together across 4 pilot sites. Face-to-face meetings, toys and online support will all be used to help families prepare their children for their first days of full time education.
PACEY chief executive Liz Bayram said, “Thanks to the DfE’s support, Starting School Together is a fantastic opportunity to build on all the excellent practice in many early years settings and schools who already work together to ensure children’s transition into reception class gives them the best start at school.
"PACEY is looking forward to working with its partners in Cambridgeshire and North Yorkshire to develop a new toolkit that supports nurseries, childminders and schools to work collaboratively to support children and their families at this key stage in a child’s life.
"It will also support childcare professionals and teachers to work together, building mutual respect and understanding at a local level."
Visit our blog here to keep up to date with all the latest news in childcare.