Schools and childcare providers which have completed a professional development programme designed to help improve children’s early language, literacy and mathematics skills joined a celebration event at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Friday.

The 13 pre-reception settings have all successfully completed the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP), which was launched in 2019 to provide high quality, evidence based professional development support to Early Years practitioners.

Providers which have completed the programme include All Saints Day Nursery, Ashmore Park Play Hub, Berrybrook Primary School, Blakenhall Neighbourhood Nursery, Fallings Park Primary School, Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, Jumping Jos Day Nursery, Little Village Nursery, Low Hill Nursery School, Merry Go Round Nursery, Perry Hall Primary School, Play 'n Learn Day Nursery and TLC Day Nursery, and each has received nationally recognised Communication Friendly Status.

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, said: "The Early Years Professional Development Programme is specifically targeted at Early Years practitioners who work with the most disadvantaged children between the ages of 2 and 4, with an emphasis on improving their school readiness.

"Over the past 2½ years, and despite the challenges the Covid pandemic has brought, 13 of our Early Years settings have completed the programme and I am sure their children are already reaping the benefits of their hard work.

"I would like to thank them for making time to join this important initiative, and also thank the council's Early Years and Childcare Development Officer Claire Hardiman along with the 5 'champions', Jenni Ebblewhite, Kiran Kang, Jess Evans, Tracey Butler and Stacey Millington, who tutored and supported the settings through key stages of the programme – it would not have been such a success without their enthusiasm."