The Welsh Government has already ploughed millions into the Flying Start programme and is expecting to expand provision over the next two years.
However, the latest evaluation of the programme has highlighted a number of difficulties in assessing how effective the scheme has been to date, particularly because no proper baseline was established before the project was rolled out to the whole of Wales.
It is now very difficult to see whether the programme is achieving the expected outcomes and I will expect the Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty to tell me that he is now working closely with the Education Minister so that information from the National Pupil Database is being used to properly track how Flying Start is affecting children and families in disadvantaged areas of Wales.
I am also expecting the Deputy Minister to reassure me that enough Flying Start health visitors are in place to meet the caseload limits and tell me how many of those health visitors are able to use Welsh with families whose first language is Welsh.
At the moment, Flying Start and Welsh medium education sit in two separate portfolios within the Welsh Government which doesn’t help in creating a joined up approach.
If Welsh medium education is to become an integral part of education not just a ‘bolt-on’ then there needs to be a more clear and transparent relationship between Flying Start and the now statutory Welsh in Education Strategic Plans so that Flying Start supports the aims of the Welsh Medium Education Strategy.