Support from the Local Authority

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

The local authority would like to ensure that children continue to receive the very best provision, improving outcomes for pre-school children in Leicestershire.

Accessing support from Early Years Inclusion and Childcare Service

Our teams

Childcare sufficiency and organisational development

The role of this team is to ensure sufficient childcare throughout the county.

The Childcare Improvement Sufficiency Officers (CISOs), support proposed childcare providers through the Ofsted registration process. They also work with existing childcare providers caring for children over 5 years old.

The Business Development Advisor (BDA) supports new and existing childcare providers to look at their financial sustainability.

The Play Leisure and Inclusion Officer (PLIO) supports parents who have children with SEND to access local provision and play opportunities. They work alongside the CISO supporting children to integrate into mainstream provision.

The Workforce Improvement Advisor and Officers support the sector with training and development opportunities, working together with local schools and colleges to inform young people about the options in childcare as a profession.

The Free Early Education Entitlement Co-ordinator and CISOs support providers and parents with FEEE processes. They monitor the uptake of FEEE throughout Leicestershire and identify where there is low uptake, supporting the local authority’s sufficiency duty.

Early Years Improvement

The Early Years Improvement team is made up of Senior Improvement Advisors and Early Years Improvement Advisors. They provide support and guidance, focused on quality of practice and provision, to all Ofsted registered providers. Advisors also deliver training for Early Years providers and EYFS practitioners in schools. The Early Years Improvement Advisor is also your allocated Area SENCo. Area SENCO makes contact throughout the year. This is for settings to help support children with low and emerging needs.

Early Years SEND Inclusion

The Early Years Send Inclusion Team supports children with low, emerging, developing and high needs across the county, both at homes and within Early Years provisions.

Portage practitioners work with 0-2.5year-old children with additional needs.

EYSEND and Communication and Interaction advisors and practitioners work with children in settings and homes
Inclusion Practitioners work with children at risk of exclusion from their setting or Reception class.

Early Years SEND Entitlement Assistant helps families to access the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) so that when they attend a setting. They can access the Disability Access Fund (DAF) when they are three and four.

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 Early Years Improvement Advisor (IA) or Childcare Improvement Sufficient Officer (CISO) 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 CISO. 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

The Early Years Inclusion 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 Early Years Improvement Advisor and Childcare Improvement Sufficiency 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 Early Years Improvement Advisor and Childcare Improvement Sufficiency Officers, 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 CISO.

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, email and telephone support, and self-serve support through the internet and Leicestershire webpages.

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

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

Support for children with additional needs

Providers can find information and strategies on how to include all children within their provision by using both the guidance and booklet  below:

Providers can access further support from the duty desk, website and Area SENCO.

Following discussion with our providers, we have now moved the SEND drop-ins to online every 3 weeks. To get the most out of the virtual appointment we ask that you complete the paperwork beforehand. Dates of drop-ins and booking are available on Eventbrite.

Children who require further support need to be referred to the Early Years panel. Please complete the online referral form. If the child meets criteria for support, an Advisor from the Early Years SEND and Inclusion Team will be in contact to offer further support and discuss next steps.

Children who are at risk of exclusion from their provision with Social Emotional and Mental Health needs or extreme behaviour, are supported by the Inclusion Practitioners. If you feel you would benefit from this support, please refer to the Early Years panel.

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 and web signposting. 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 Years Inclusion 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 Years Inclusion and Childcare Service. This may include 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
  • 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.