Support from the Local Authority

The Early Learning and Childcare Service support new and existing childcare providers to improve outcomes for children.

Early years

The local authority would like to ensure that children continue to receive the very best provision and are working towards the vision and targets in our Early childhood strategy 2020-2023, improving outcomes for pre-school children in Leicestershire.

All providers are able to access advice, support, guidance and training through:

Support for providers currently judged Good and Outstanding by Ofsted

For pre-schools and day nurseries an Improvement Advisor (IA) or Childcare Sufficiency and Safeguarding Officer (CSSO) may contact you to offer your provision a visit prior to your inspection. During this visit, leaders and managers will be able to discuss any issues they would like advice on as well as have an opportunity to be reflective on provision observed by the IA or CSSO. The advisors will have a range of audits to focus the observations and professional discussions which will be tailored to suit your needs.

For childminders an IA may contact you to offer advice and a possible visit prior to your inspection.

At these visits there will be no rating or grade given as Ofsted remain the sole arbiter of quality.

Support for providers judged as less than Good by Ofsted

Providers who have been judged by Ofsted as 'Inadequate', 'Requires Improvement' or 'Not Met' in their most recent inspection report can expect to receive the additional following support. Our approach for support uses the Positive Practice Tool.

Positive Practice Tool - what's new?

The Early Learning and Childcare service have devised a new approach to support Early years settings, childminders and out of school providers. This new approach is called the Positive Practice Tool and is based on the Signs of Safety approach that Social care currently use to support children and families in child protection cases.

What is the Signs of Safety approach?

The approach was developed in Australia and is now used world-wide. 
It is a strengths-based and safety-focused approach within child protection work that is grounded in partnership and collaboration.

As a service we have adapted the Signs of Safety model but have changed the name to 'Positive Practice Tool'. 
However the principles remain the same.

The basic model takes into account three areas

  • What is working well?
  • What are we worried about?
  • What needs to happen?

What does this mean for me in my setting?

The Positive Practice Tool model will be used by the Improvement Advisors and Childcare, Sufficiency and Safeguarding Officers to support providers who have received an Ofsted grade of Inadequate, Requires Improvement or Not Met. However those settings that are Ofsted Good or Outstanding may also use the basic model within their setting to identify areas of strength and areas to continually improve practice.

The approach will help to identify what you as a setting do well, what are the issues that you are worried or concerned about and what you need to do or implement to address those concerns. The approach will build on the settings strengths.

The purpose of working in this way helps to develop collaboration and partnership working within the setting in order to tackle issues and work towards a solution based approach to ensure the best outcomes for children.

If your setting is receiving support from an Improvement Advisor or a Childcare, Sufficiency and Safeguarding Officer then they will explain the Positive Practice Tool in more detail to you when they visit. Our notes of visit reflect the approach.


Once the Ofsted report has been received, contact will be made with the provider by an IA or CSSO.

The provider will be advised to put together an Action Plan detailing how they will address the concerns and build in sustainability of reflective practice.

A tailored package of support will be brokered using the Positive Practice Tool. Any actions covered by previous support will not be included. Support offered could include advisory visits, peer to peer support, in house training, signposting to external training and partnership opportunities, email and telephone support, and self-serve support through the internet and Leicestershire webpages.

If the setting does not engage with the Early Learning and Childcare Service or support is declined, Ofsted are informed.

If Good or better is given at the next inspection an exit visit will be arranged in order to support the provider with maintaining their most recent inspection grade.

Support for prospective providers

Becoming a childcare provider

Becoming a childminder

Support for sustainability

If concerns are raised with the Sufficiency Team, a tailored package of support may be put together to support newly identified issues. This could be with existing providers or potential new providers in the area.

The support could include one to one support visits, email/telephone support, web signposting and peer to peer mentoring support. When looking at sustainability, you need to also be looking at the quality of your provision.

There is specific support that the LA will give to settings who have a less than good Ofsted inspection. You need to be working on the quality of your setting to support your sustainability.

The Early Learning and Childcare Service webpage support for sustainability consists of:

FEEE information for providers

New registered providers, those who have an administration change and providers who are having difficulty in implementing the correct administrative processes can access support from the Early Learning and Childcare Service. This may include one to one support visits, email/telephone support and signposting to the website.

Auditing of the FEEE funding may be undertaken to ensure that the funding is being used appropriately and in line with the funding guidance and the provider agreement.

Auditing may take the form of:

  • Pre-arranged monitoring visits
  • Adhoc and unannounced monitoring visits
  • Completion of a self-evaluation and providing evidence electronically
  • Information, for example birth certificates, may be requested to cross reference against the Parental Statement Of Understanding (PSOU) to ensure that claims are correct.

The Local Authority has a statutory duty to support providers. For more information read the Statutory guidance on Early education and childcare.