The Bristol Early Years Vision

To improve outcomes for children and families, particularly the most vulnerable, reduce disadvantage and raise aspiration by strengthening:


  • the quality of early education provision across the early years sector, including seamless transitions to school
  • opportunities for the development of speech, language and communication and Personal, Social and Emotional Development as the foundations for life-long learning
  • genuine partnerships with parents and carers as their child’s first educators to empower and enable a collaborative working with other professionals, including health, social care and the voluntary sector
  • a culture of reflective practice and setting based action research to inform continuous quality improvement.

Strategic Priorities

System Leadership – to embed a co-constructed model to secure sufficient capacity for continuous quality improvements.

Inclusion – to secure improved outcomes for learners in the EYFS facing the greatest challenge, including: children with disabilities and complex needs, children from some ethnic minority groups, looked-after children, children in need and those living in poverty.

Quality improvement – to improve the quality of early education and childcare provision, strengthening transitions through the EYFS and into Year One.

Integrated services – secure strategic alignment with key partners (Health, Families in Focus, Housing, Social Care and the voluntary sector) to give children the best start in life.

Professional learning and development – to embed a culture of reflective practice and professional development to inform continuous improvement.

Sufficient high quality provision – to secure sufficient high quality early years places across the city.

Our approach to Learning and Development

As creative, capable and curious learners, children are supported to explore their environments through enquiry, meaningful play and interaction. Spontaneous learning and children’s agency are highly valued, enabling freedom of expression and a personalised approach. The provision of strong nurturing, secure environments that promote health, well-being and happiness provide a strong foundation for self-regulation, cooperation and life-long learning. Imaginatively structured learning experiences provide cognitive challenge, inspiring a joy of learning.

A natural environment provides a calming effect, engendering a sense of well-being and purpose that is freeing children’s voices and imagination. Bristol Early Years strongly advocates outdoor learning, recognising its benefits in terms of healthy living and its potential to enhance all aspects of children’s development.

The guiding principles underpinning the UNICEF Convention of the Rights of the Child are regarded as a touchstone for every aspect of our work with children, families and communities.

The overarching principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) guide our everyday interactions.

Bristol Learning City

Vision:  Bristol will be a Learning City where every citizen has access to a good education and is able to acquire the skills they need to join Bristol’s world class workforce.

The aim of Bristol as a Learning City is to:

  • Promote and demonstrate learning as an accessible way to transform lives
  • Encourage a culture, in Bristol, where citizens are proud to continually learn at school, work and in communities across the city
  • Support the development of an enterprising, diverse and sustainable world class city
  • Develop a highly skilled workforce, joining skills taught in schools and colleges with business needs for the future.

Key priorities are to:

  • Support the development of systems leadership across the education and skills sector
  • Ensure sufficient, high quality education and training provision to secure improved outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and adult learners, including looked after children
  • Promote the profile of education and skills and celebrate success across the city.