Tough Government targets on childcare management have led the Pre-school Learning Alliance to roll out a pioneering leadership capability programme to its managers.
The organisation supports more than 800,000 children and their families through direct provision and its membership of over 14,000 nurseries, pre-schools and baby and toddler groups and is working with organisation development experts Ithaka Leadership and Acua Limited to provide a nationally accredited programme to its high level employees.
It follows an announcement that all children’s centres must be graduate led by the end of 2010 and full day care nurseries by 2015.
Pre-school Learning Alliance acting chief executive Neil Leitch admitted the targets were demanding but said the development programme would play a major part in helping the Alliance in reaching them, along with improving Ofsted reports.
“These targets will improve the quality of provision in England but are certainly demanding in terms of timeframe and cost,” he said.
“By providing a cost effective and flexible leadership and management programme, Ithaka and Acua are supporting managers who often hold academic qualifications to bridge the divide to graduate level.
“Ofsted reports and studies regularly identify the quality of leadership as a key element of good and outstanding settings. This not only relates to the skills, knowledge and experience of managers but also to the support they receive from staff throughout the organisation.
“By focusing on the skills of issue identification, action planning, objective setting and progress monitoring, the Ithaka programme has helped Pre- school Learning Alliance managers to improve their performance and this will undoubtedly lead to improved Ofsted inspection reports in the future.”
A team of Pre-school Learning Alliance directors have become the first to complete the management capability programme, which was led by Ithaka and accredited by Acua. Phases 2 and 3 will engage circa 100 of the Alliances area, nursery and children’s centre managers.
Larraine Boorman, managing director of Acua, which is a division of Coventry University, added: “Like many organisations The Pre-school Learning Alliance has a tall order to meet these government targets and the ability to effectively develop its staff is vital to be able to achieve them on time.
“The Pre-school Learning Alliance has recognised the positive impact Coventry University and Acua, in partnership with Ithaka, can play in supporting the growth of business by taking meaningful and worthwhile qualifications into industry and we are delighted to be playing a part in the continuous improvement of the services it provides to thousands of children across the UK.”