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Pen Green Centre

Pen Green Teaching School

2011 - 2013 Early Years Teaching Centres (DfE)



Funded by the Department for Education (DfE), this project and was part of wider, national reforms to the 'core purpose' of children’s centres. The overall aim was to focus on the most disadvantaged families and to narrow the outcome gap between poor children and their peers.


To achieve these aims, this project would establish a national network of Early Years Teaching Centres (EYTCs), all led by outstanding children’s centres and nursery schools. The project was based on a body of evidence indicating that early intervention only works when the quality is high, and that better outcomes for the most vulnerable children demand sharp, speedy improvement in the quality of services.  These EYTCs would work with local settings to demonstrate effective practice and train local practitioners to raise the quality of their provision.


Why Early Years Teaching Centres?


Early Years Teaching Centres aimed to promote and implement an alternative model of training and professional development; a model that deployed skilled practitioners in outstanding children’s centres/nursery schools to work with staff in local settings to raise quality. Most training offered by local authorities and private providers is only classroom based; Early Years Teaching Centres were intended to demonstrate by example how they drive improvements in the development of all children, and particularly how they ensured they had an impact on those most in need.


Until recently much of the training and professional development available to nurseries, children’s centres and childminders was provided by local authorities, but reductions to local authority funding had made this support less available.


The project aimed to:


  • identify centres and secure their commitment to become teaching centres
  • design and deliver training programmes on becoming effective teaching organisations
  • prioritise training programmes that focus on ensuring services reach disadvantaged families and narrow the gap between the least advantaged and all children
  • design teaching centres as sources of advisory support for staff in all local settings
  • create alternative and improved models of support that are more responsive, local and effective
  • train experienced staff with immediate and active practice experience to train others
  • promote successful models of parent involvement in home learning and governance
  • develop appealing and accessible training materials
  • design practical and replicable ways for the best centres to support the worst




  • Rowland Hill Nursery School and CC, Haringey
  • Mary Paterson Nursery School, Westminster
  • Eastwood Nursery School Centre, Wandsworth
  • Maytree Nursery School and CC, Lambeth
  • Martinscroft Nursery School and CC, Manchester
  • Fairfield Children's Centre, Lancashire
  • Hungerford Nursery School, West Berkshire
  • The ACE CC and Nursery School, Oxford
  • Bognor Regis Nursery School and CC, West Sussex
  • Bluecoat Children's Centre and Nursery School, Devon
  • Redcliffe Children's Centre, Bristol City
  • Allens Croft Children's Centre, Birmingham
  • Warwickshire consortium of nursery schools and CCs, Warwickshire
  • St Edmund's Nursery School and CC, Bradford
  • Clifton Children's Centre, McMillan Nursery School and Lambert Children's Centre, Kingston upon Hull (consortium)
  • Pen Green Children's Centre, (additional centre, Northamptonshire)


Key Outcomes


  • An established network of Early Years Teaching Centres operated by Children’s Centres and Nursery schools
  • Early Years Teaching Centres becoming better children’s centres of national repute
  • Staff practice improved in both teaching centres and the settings they supported
  • Successful promotion of effective models of parent involvement in home learning and governance

The University of the Integrated Early Years Workforce. Supporting professionals to develop high quality practice and best outcomes for all children.