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Pre-school Learning Alliance introduces development programme for nursery and baby and toddler group managers

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Tough government targets on childcare management have led the Pre-school Learning Alliance to roll out a leadership capability programme to its managers.

The organisation supports more than 800,000 children and their families through direct provision and its membership of over 14,000 nurseries, pre-schools and baby and toddler groups and is working with organisation development company Ithaka and Acua to provide a nationally-accredited programme to its high level employees.

It follows an announcement that all children's centres must be graduate-led by the end of 2010 and full-day care nurseries by 2015.

Pre-school Learning Alliance acting chief executive Neil Leitch admitted the targets were demanding but said the development programme would play a major part in helping the Alliance in reaching them, along with improving Ofsted reports.

He said: "These targets will improve the quality of provision in England but are certainly demanding in terms of timeframe and cost.

"By providing a cost-effective and flexible leadership and management programme, Ithaka and Acua are supporting managers who often hold academic qualifications to bridge the divide to graduate level.

"Ofsted reports and studies regularly identify the quality of leadership as a key element of good and outstanding settings. This not only relates to the skills, knowledge and experience of managers but also to the support they receive from staff throughout the organisation.

"By focusing on the skills of issue identification, action planning, objective setting and progress monitoring, the Ithaka programme has helped Pre-school Learning Alliance managers to improve their performance and this will undoubtedly lead to improved Ofsted inspection reports in the future." 

A team of Pre-school Learning Alliancedirectors have become the first to complete the management capability programme, which was led by Ithaka and accredited by Acua. Phases 2 and 3 will engage around 100 of the Alliances area, nursery and children's centre managers.