Innovation project overview

1. Context

Bettws Early Learning Community in Newport, South Wales brings together local organisations to make sure that children in Bettws are getting the support they need to thrive, learn and grow up in a place they can be proud of.

Our partnership includes everyone involved in bringing up children today. This includes families, communities, the local council, Flying Start, housing associations, schools and teachers, health visitors and GPs, and local voluntary and community groups.

Our aim is to help everyone work together so services and activities are the best they can be for children’s needs and to ensure that every child can achieve their potential. This is a collaborative project to shape and design this approach and an exciting new way of working. This is why, alongside the projects and activities that are happening, we are also evaluating what we do. We want to learn what works and what could be improved. We want to understand what impact it’s having on children now and what difference it will make for them in their futures.

The Bettws ELC’s current strategy commits us to supporting early years children growing up in poverty in Bettws (with a specific focus on those aged 0-7), and their families, by maintaining an overarching focus on play underpinned by secure parental attachment and, within this, prioritising the following intermediate outcomes through a range of workstreams addressing the following areas of need:

Improve transitions between educational settings

Increase children’s opportunities to play

Refine and roll out Embrace project

The Bettws ELC has secured funding to take us to December2024, which will cover the cost of piloting several innovation projects co-designed with the community.

An ‘innovation’ in this context refers to a product or service (or an adaptation of an existing product or service) that can be measured in some way to understand its impact. The aim of these innovation projects is to test and learn from a new approach to addressing a gap in existing local services, as well as to trial a new approach to service design and delivery that is community-led and supports long-term shifts in the local early years system.

1. Project outline

a) What gap in existing local services is this project seeking to address and help the community better understand?

b) What evidence do we have that this gap exists?

c) How does this project align with the current Bettws ELC strategy and wider Theory of Change?

d) What are the intended outcomes of this project?

e) What guidelines/considerations for the project’s design and delivery (set out by local families and practitioners) should be incorporated into project proposals?

2. Commissioning process

We will be inviting local organisations and services to submit proposals for project delivery, to ensure that the innovation projects are locally owned.

Project proposals are required to be submitted by 1st Nov 2022. Following submission, proposals will be reviewed by the Bettws ELC Project Board, which will select the preferred delivery partners. Successful partners will be notified no later than 17th Nov 2022.

This request for proposals does not constitute an offer and no partners of the Bettws ELC bind themselves to accept any proposal. The Bettws ELC reserves the right to accept a proposal in part, rather than in full.


3. Timeline

This project must be delivered between Jan 2022 (or earlier) and August 2024.

The budget for this project is up to £40,000 Jan-Aug 23 then £30,000 Sept 23 to Aug 24. We welcome proposals that would use either part or all of this budget, as it will be divided up among several smaller projects if these are proposed and this is deemed a more valuable approach. We welcome proposals that are for the whole period or for part of the period.

Proposals must include budgets that include a spend breakdown (a template is provided in the proposal form).

4. Roles and responsibilities

The delivery partner will be responsible for the following:

  • Overall project delivery (including staffing, implementing activities, engaging families etc.)
  • Liaising regularly with the Bettws ELC project team, (comprised of local families and practitioners), Project Board and other relevant local stakeholders to share progress and learning
  • Conducting monitoring and evaluation activities
  • Management of funding provided within the agreed timeframe
  • Delivering the project in a way that reflects the Bettws ELC and Save the Children’s commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

The Bettws ELC will provide:

  • Project funding via Save the Children UK (NOTE: final project budgets are to be agreed by the Project Board)
  • A grant agreement contract (on Save the Children UK’s terms) and any legal advice on this as required
  • Access to findings from relevant research with local families, children and practitioners
  • Support with evaluation design and implementation

5. Monitoring and evaluation

Proposals should clearly set out how the project’s outcomes might be monitored and evaluated, including any suggested evaluation tools e.g. surveys, case studies.

As noted above, delivery partners will be supported by the Bettws ELC project team to design and implement a robust and ethically approved plan for project monitoring and evaluation, including clear timelines and templates for reporting.

6. Local systems change approach

The Bettws ELC is a systems change initiative and part of Save the Children’s UK-wide Early Learning Communities programme. As such, it aims to take a ‘whole system’ approach to improving the early learning outcomes of children growing up in poverty; seeking to stimulate systems change across the breadth of service providers in Bettws; thereby resulting in improved outcomes for all members of the local early years community.

Wherever possible, innovation projects should be set up in a way that further embeds this approach by encouraging collaboration between a range of local early years services and organisations. They should also be informed and continuously shaped by insights from local families, with child and family voice being put at the heart of project design wherever possible.

7. Equality, diversity, and inclusion

Save the Children UK sees diversity as a strength that we need to embrace. We have a duty to listen to and involve children and families in our work to ensure that our approaches to change are relevant and driven by lived experience and local need. No one should be left behind.

We are keen to partner with those who share this commitment and would like to see proposals that are accessible to, and inclusive of, children and families from all backgrounds, and that advance equalities for marginalised and minority groups. You can read more about Save the Children’s approach to diversity and inclusion here.

8. Sustainability and legacy

Innovation projects should be set up in a way that ensures sustainability, with a clear vision for how the project will inform and contribute to the future plans of the delivery partner and the wider early years community.  Learnings from the project should be gathered and shared in a way that supports the community to respond to existing gaps in services and, where possible, influences local decision-making.

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