Why do we need an Early Years service?

The term ‘early years’ refers to a specific period of time between conception and age five. During this time young children consolidate, through play and exploration, the abilities, knowledge and skills that provide the foundation for their future progress through school and life.

Early Years is a statutory service under Childcare Act 2016. At Brighter Futures for Children, we call this our Under 5s service.

Our role is to support and advise settings working with children from birth to 5 years of age in the provision of quality childcare.

What we offer

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers (0–5yrs) must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. Ofsted registered childminders, pre-schools, nurseries and reception classes must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework sets the standards for providers of learning, development and care for children from 0–5. All schools and Ofsted registered early years providers must follow the EYFS.

Ofsted changed the way they inspect and report on schools from September 2019. For more information on how these changes will affect you please visit www.gov.uk/government/news/ofsted-is-changing-how-it-inspects-schools

It supports an integrated approach to early learning and care by giving all professionals a set of common principles and commitments to adhere to.

It contains detailed information about statutory duties and requirements such as the need for settings to have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Contact:
early.years@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

Transitions

Starting school is a key time for both children and parents or carers. Many children see this as a positive occurrence. However, some children and families will struggle with the move to a new environment. This first experience of school can have a profound influence on children’s school career.

A quality transition process should support both children and families to feel confident and secure in their new environment and future learning.

With this in mind Reading Early Years team, in collaboration with local schools and settings have agreed and developed a transition process. Part of this process includes the sharing of the child’s learning and development report as well as possible visits from schools to settings prior to starting.

Transitions Infant & Toddler Environment Rating Scale / Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ITERS/ECERS)

The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) are a set of tools for measuring and improving the quality of early year’s provision. Settings can purchase the use of this Ofsted recognised improvement tool through the Early Years Team, which includes:

  • 2 trained ITERS and ECERS Mentors
  • 2 observational visits on one room
  • Report from both visits, which can form part of your SEF
  • Quick fixes / Areas to improve

The ERS provide the trained mentors with a structure for recording, improving and evidencing different aspects of the learning environment provided for children. The ERS are used by researchers and practitioners all over the world to support reflection, self-evaluation, quality assessment and improvement. In the UK they are used by more than 50 local authorities and thousands of practitioners in all sectors, guided by the findings of the EPPSE research which identified a strong relationship between high quality early years provision and children’s later development.

The ERS are completed using an observation-based audit. They are designed to give a snapshot of provision on a particular day. A whole observation for one group/room takes half a day to complete. The scales can also be used for self-evaluation, one item at a time. Each item (e.g. ‘informal use of language’) includes a series of statements or quality indicators, arranged in a progression of quality from low to high. These indicators ‘stack up’ like building blocks to celebrate strengths and to highlight possible improvements. The scoring system allows each item to be given a score from 1 (inadequate) to 7 (excellent). While the scoring system is not the most important part of the process, it does provide a useful means of measuring quality – and improvement in quality – over time.

Training

Click here for more information about training dates.

Early Years update meeting

The Early Years Team aims to lead 3 Update meetings per year. This is an opportunity for all leaders and managers to network with each other and ensure they are kept up to date with local and national information.
Attendance at these meetings can be counted as part of your professional development and evidence towards the Leadership and Management aspect of Ofsted inspections.

Management committee network

The Early Years Team aims to lead 3 network meetings per year for directors and committee members of Reading Private, Voluntary and Independent settings. These meetings provide support, advice and the chance to network with others with the same standing.

Attendance at these meetings can be counted as evidence towards the Leadership and Management aspect of Ofsted inspections.

Business advice service

The Early Years and Childcare sector continues to operate under the spotlight, with providers facing increasing challenges to remain sustainable. Government funding and delivery models are changing, and the expectations of Ofsted and parents are continually rising, driving settings to push for improvements in quality and outcomes for their children.

In order to provide support in these changing times members of the Early Years Team have completed a Level 5 Award in Business Support as part of the Childcare Business Advisers Programme which is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the UK’s leading professional body for managers, consultants and business advisers. The Business Support Skills route ensures the ability to support settings with their business planning and advise them on sustainability issues.

Bespoke packages are available to purchase upon request, prices are based upon individual requirements.

Email: early.years@BrighterFuturesforChildren.org 

Sufficiency

Early Years’ Service has a duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents, for funded 2 year olds, and all 3–4 year olds, they are required to report annually to the elected council members on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare, and make this report available and accessible.

Sufficiency reports can be found here.

Becoming a childminder Starting a new setting Business support
Childminder briefing Ofsted registration process Business Advice Service
Introduction to Childminding course Vouchers
Ofsted registration process Taxfree childcare funding
Vouchers
Taxfree childcare funding

Vouchers

Childcare vouchers are a Government-approved, tax-efficient way for parents to use to pay for childcare. Providers can register with the relevant scheme to accept these payments; they are able to register for more than one scheme. Parents will need the provider’s Ofsted registration number and the reference number of the childcare voucher scheme.

Taxfree childcare

Tax-free childcare is a Government-approved, tax-efficient way for parents to use to pay for childcare. Registered providers are able to sign up to receive payments directly into their bank accounts and will receive an 11 digit code from HMRC to use when setting up their account.

Providers are able to accept funds from both schemes.

Funding

In order to accept the early years funding, providers must complete a Provider’s Agreement and abide by the terms. The Early Years team can support you with this on your annual compliance visit.

Business advice service

The Early Years and Childcare sector continues to operate under the spotlight, with providers facing increasing challenges to remain sustainable. Government funding and delivery models are changing, and the expectations of Ofsted and parents are continually rising, driving settings to push for improvements in quality and outcomes for their children.

In order to provide support in these changing times, members of the Early Years Team have completed a Level 5 Award in Business Support as part of the Childcare Business Advisers Programme which is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the UK’s leading professional body for managers, consultants and business advisers. The Business Support Skills route ensures the ability to support settings with their business planning and advise them on sustainability issues.

Bespoke packages are available to purchase upon request, prices are based upon individual requirements.

Email: early.years@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

The Early Years’ Service fulfils the duty under the Childcare Act 2016 to provide information, advice and training to childcare providers. Local authorities must ensure they meet their duties under the Equality Act 2010 and take account of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice 0-25 when securing free places, promoting equality and inclusion.

For more information please visit the Reading Education Services website or email us at early.years@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

If you need more information or need to speak with the Early Years team please call 0118 937 4730

If you want to report concerns about a child or young person, visit this page if you a member of the public or this page if you’re a professional.