National Early Years Network

NHS Health Scotland is the national health improvement agency for the NHS and they have established an early years network which co-ordinates learning events and the following are links to event coming up in 2010. You will also find details of how to join this network and recieve their email bulletins direct below.


Early Years National Conference 4 February, Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot Watt

The re run of the national Early Years conference will be held on the 4 February, registration is now open.  There will be video conferencing for the presentations.  If you would like to use the video conferencing I would be grateful if you could reply to by the 15 January.  


Children and Young People Evidence Alert

Please follow the link for the December evidence alert


The Best Possible Start: A Maternity Services Conference, Tuesday 4 May 2010

See flyer attached. 

The full agenda for the conference will be available by early 2010.  to receive the programme and application form email


Early Child Development: A Powerful Equaliser  21 January 2010 6pm Surgeons’ Hall, The Symposium Hall, Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9DW

See flyer attached

Dr Clyde Hertzman is Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), College for Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC; Tier I Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Human Development; and Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Under Dr Hertzman’s leadership, HELP (est 2001) has developed into an internationally recognised and unique research network that integrates the behavioural and social sciences with biomedical sciences to study life course development, with a particular focus on early child development.


If you know of any colleagues who would be interested in joining the network please ask them to email their details to


Maternity Services conference


Public Health Report

Chief medical officer launches annual public health report at First Step community project in Musselburgh

The chief medical Officer came to First step community project in East Lothian to launch his annual public health report. This years report has a focus on the importance of early years to good health and Dr Burns was keen to launch the report in an early years facility in the the east Lothian equally well test site area.

Dr Burns read a story to children attending the facility and talked with parents and grandparents about the contents of the report and his views about how health inequality can be addressed.

Here is the Chief Medical Officer – Dr Harry Burns’  Annual Public Health Report

And the slides of his presntation can be viewed here


Adam Ingram Childrens Service’s Minister

Group photo
Group photo

On the 19th November Adam Ingram visited East Lothian to see for himself the work of Support from the Start. This vist was part of a series of ministerial visits to Equaly Well test sites that are part of the reconvening of the Ministerial taskforce on health inequalities which published the Equally Well strategy.

The programme was tight for the hours visit and began with the minister being welcomed by the senior champions for the test site including Dr Sue Ross, Director of Community Services on her penultimate day with East Lothan Council before leaving for new opportunities.

The first stop involved the minister meeting staff and children from Whitecraig primary who had been involved in a forest school programme. The fast tracking of Forest school in the test site area is one of the redesign initiatives sponsored by the test site. He then met staff involved in initiating the redesign of early years play services in the community of Whitecraig in response to the output from a civic conversation in the community that demonstrated a community demand for more play opportunities.

The minister then had short conversations with some of the twenty eight service champions who provide leadership for learning about how services can tackle health inequality within the test site.

Carol Golightly – Oral Health Promoter described the redesign of oral health services in Wallyford and Whitecraig initiated by a review of the service pathway which supported the outcome of reducing dental caries by P1

Helen Duncan, Cultural Coordinator – spoke of the use of art and culture to engage people in health issues within the test site

Pauline Homer, Early Years Development officer – spoke to the minister about wraparound care and the redevelopment of breakfast provision

Fiona Herriot  Children 1st described the work she has beien doing with Homestart a community champion for Support from the start in ‘Making connections’ between services involved in the early years

Ann Hume Early Years manager spoke to the minister about the links between the test site and the early years framework in East Lothian

Anne Rooney & Rebecca Haack both from Midlothian council spoke of the plans to extend the test site into Midlothian communities

Finally there was an opportunity for ten minutes of questions and group discussion before the Minister left. Hopefully, he didnt find the programme too gruelling and got a flavour of what we are trying to achieve and how we are going about it.


Healthy Living Service – Active bodies

Active bodies
Active bodies

A workshop on Active Bodies was one of the fifteen worskhop choices at the in service session on the 26th October held at Preston Lodge. It was given by Emma Biggart and Kirsty Preston. Emma looked at the role of the Active schools team and Kirsty at the role of the wider Healthy Living Service which the Active school team is part of.  The link between physical activity and emotional well being has been well established through research. Regular physical activity is probably one of the best ways you can protect and enhance your emotinal well being at every stage of life. 

As a nation Scotland has been putting on weight over the last several decades, yet the average daily difference in calorie intake from the 1950’s to now is reputedly around 10 calories. That is the equivalent of one digestive biscuit a day.  In terms of physical activity however we are far less likely to be active on a regular basis than we were in the 1950’s. Small but sustained increase in calories coupled with less physical activity is what has caused the pounds to go onto the nations waist (including children). At the same time as the nation has been getting heavier we have also seen a rapid increase in mental health problems like stress and depression at all life stages.

Its not rocket science – but an environment that has more calories and less physical activity produces people that are heavier and more likely to find it difficult to cope with stress and life changes. The tricky part is changing the environment so that we can be more active and take in less calorie rich food.

You can see from Kirsty’s presentation that lots of good work is going on to give children and families the opportunities to be physically active. Do we need to do more and if so what are the priorities?

Kirsty presentation can be viewed here the-healthy-living-service

Restorative practise

Maureen Mcglinchy gave a presentation on Restorative Practise at the 26th October in-service session.

Maureen has recently retired from her role as Head teacher at St. Columbas High in Clydebank Her workshop on restorative practise  took the participants through the journey taken by St. Columbas High and West Dunbarton Council to embed RP in the school and role it out into the authority. Restorative practise is a relationship management strategy that focuses on understanding the the emotion created by behaviours

Maureen’s presentation can be viewed here restorative-practices-oct-09

Using art to develop emotional literacy in the primary classroom

 Jo Hume is an art education consultant and she gave a workshop at Preston Lodge High School and at Dunbar primary on the 26th October

The core of Jo’s work centres on the nature and importance of creativity in learning, the role of expression through art and a particular interest in the way art can be used to develop emotional intelligence. Following a long career in teaching art across all age groups and research in art education she has been working for the last ten years with LEA’s running CPD courses, writing materials, and providing classroom support and project management in primary art education. In her session she talked of how the language of art works in reflecting feelings and tapping into unconscious expression. She also demonstrated a series of short practical activities addressing different aspects of emotional intelligence which can be used in the classroom with different age groups. Much of this type of learning happens through talking to children about their work.

Jo’s presentation can be viewed here  presentation-for-steven-wray-first-part-of-art-and-emotional-intelligence-a 

The importance of Nurturing Relationships

Sarah Williams is an educational psychologist working in East Lothian she presented a workshop on the importance of nurturing relationship at the Learning, Emotion and well being event. Sarah  explored what constitutes a nurturing relationship and how the school community can support the development of relationships that support and nurture.

Her presentation is available here the-importance-of-nurturing-relationships

Kings Fund Top Managers Programme

Support from the Start recently hosted a visit from NHS senior managers known as the Kings Fund Top Managers programme. 

Hopefully the managers found it beneficial – I think lots of positive ideas and feedback came from the discussion held over the course of the day that the managers were with us. The contents of the feedback will be discussed at the Joint Health Improvement Planning Board which provides strategic leadership for Support from the Start and the operational steering group.

Here is the report from the Kings Fund Top Managers’ briefing held in the Townhouse, Haddington on Wednesday 7th October 2009



The National Programme for Equally Well has set up a social networking web page to improve links and sharing of learning between the eight Equally Well test sites of which Support from the Start is one. The web pages will also be used to report on progress against the objectives of the test site.

The purpose of the site is described as follows

This is the site of Equally Well Test Sites’ Learning Network. This contains the thoughts, opinions, lessons learned and best practice which has been generated by the test sites. The sites have adopted a continuous learning approach and will be using this site to share their learning between each other and the wider stakeholder community.

You can register to be a member of the network and develop your own page on the site in the same way as other social networking sites.

The address of the site is

For those of you accessing from council or NHS computers – you may have to to click ‘continue to view for work purpsoes’, and the quality of the site is lessened by pictures being blocked and the layout is somewhat lost becasue of the firewalls that are in place for security purposes. Hopefully this will improve – but you should be able to access the blogs as well as the short movies from Harry Burns, Shona Robison and the test site leads on thier hopes for the test sites.