Flying Start is the Welsh Government’s flagship early years programme for families with children under four years of age living in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Wales.
The ADR Wales’ Flying Start project builds on previous evaluative work carried out by our team. Our early work found that linked data could provide Welsh Government with a unique insight into the impact that Flying Start involvement was having on the health and educational outcomes of the children involved.
By looking at and linking individual level Flying Start intervention data from Local Authorities across Wales – together with hospital admissions, accident and emergency (A&E) attendances, and education absence data; the project aims to provide a picture of the outcomes of families whose children are eligible for the Flying Start programme compared to those who live outside of Flying Start eligible areas. The next stage of the analysis will look at education attainment and levels of engagement with the Flying Start programme. As a result of the range of policy areas involved in this project, this work sits across several of ADR Wales’ identified Strategic Impact Programmes (SIP).
Led by our researchers working within academia and Welsh Government, this project has demonstrated the richness that can be drawn when linking data from policy areas and organisations that would otherwise have remained separate. The project has built an engaged stakeholder group, with representatives from the six Local Authorities involved in the pilot. The group has played a key role in guiding the direction of the project including the analysis based on their experiences of delivering the programme. heavily involved in the direction of the project.
We are due to publish emerging findings in August, with further results expected in October. It is anticipated that the findings of this project will help policymakers to evaluate the impact of the Flying Start Programme which may, in turn, shape future policy and direction. The findings will also be relevant to other research to evaluate area-based initiatives and early intervention to tackle poverty.