Birkenhead Project local AGM & BESSI Workshop Thu 12 Nov 2015


11 November 2015

Foundation Years Trust Annual General Meeting
Thursday 12 November, 1-4pm, the Hughes Suite, Lauries Centre, 142 Claughton Road, Birkenhead

1.00-1.30pm Welcome and refreshments

1.30-2.00pm Guest speaker, Professor Claire Hughes,Cambridge University

‘The Brief Early Skills & Support Index’ a tool for assessing Life Chances (see below information about workshop available earlier in the day)

 2.00-3.30pm Frank Field M.P. Chairman of the Foundation Years Trust, Annual Report

Local project updates
- Bump-Start programme review: the first 54 families
- Next Steps for the Foundation Years Trust

Introduction to the Brief Early Skills & Support Index (BESSI)

An opportunity to hear Professor Claire Hughes, Cambridge University Centre for Family Research, speak about this resource to monitor school readiness, developed in collaboration with schools & Early Years practitioners across Wirral and with support from Wirral Council.

10.30-12.30     BESSI workshop, the Hughes Suite, Lauries Centre
Development of BESSI, the evidence and where we are today
Practical application – using BESSI in your nursery, school or in the community
Opportunities for wider application – 2 year old assessments, Early Years programmes
Discussion, questions and answers

More about BESSI

This tool adopts a broad definition of school readiness and complements the approach of existing formal child assessments with a less time consuming survey-based method.  In doing this it avoids stressful child testing and the burden on teachers or others of completing lengthy assessments.  BESSI is also distinctive in that it includes assessments of family support – the home learning environment - in additional to the traditional assessments of cognitive and behavioural development.  It is a one page 30 item questionnaire consisting of four scales: family support, behavioural adjustment, daily living skills and language and cognition skills.   The Indicators (initially the ‘Starting School Survey’) were developed with collaboration from schools across the Wirral and via a validity study in a Cambridge school. Standardization and testing was undertaken with 1,714 children in total.

BESSI was developed initially as a tool to use with reception age children, but was tested during 2013-14 with
nursery children, in addition to further testing for the reliability of the questionnaire over different time scales and by staff with differing qualifications – teachers and Early Years practitioners.  In 2015 testing continues with more ethnically diverse children than those in the earlier samples.  At this stage the researchers report that
‘BESSI is a promising brief teacher/nursery staff report/screening tool that appears suitable for children aged 2.5 to 5.5 and provides a broader perspective upon school readiness than previous measures.’



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