Early Years and Childcare (Local Offer)

Girl with paint on her hands.  Finger painting.

Early Years and Childcare

Early years education helps children build on the knowledge they bring from home. It helps children become more independent and make friends.

Children can choose from a wide range of activities suitable for their age and ability. They have stories to listen to, books to look at and songs to sing. Play and other creative activities help develop their imagination. Indoor and outdoor play help to develop their physical skills.

Children learn in an environment where they feel happy, secure and valued.


Here are a few videos you may find useful:

Early Help, Early Years and Early Support

What is Early Help, Early Years and Early Support?

You may have come across the three terms Early Help, Early Years and Early Support.  So what do they mean?  What is the difference?.  Below we have tried to describe each term.

Early Help

The term Early Help is used to describe the process of taking action early and as soon as possible to tackle problems and issues emerging for children, young people and their families. Effective help may be needed for at any point in a child or young person’s life.

Early Years

Early years refers to children from birth to the age of five. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

Early Support

Early Support in Peterborough is a pathway for children in their pre-school years with complex health, education, or care needs.  These children will require considerable ongoing support from across education, health and care. This includes:

  • children who have great difficulty with communication
  • children who have sensory or physical difficulties
  • children who have complex health needs
Early Years

About Early Years

Early years providers are required to assess children’s needs and work with parents.  All registered providers have an identified Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (Senco).

We provide advice, support and training to Sencos to ensure they are adequately trained to understand and meet the needs of children who may have additional requirements.

Early Years Providers have to ensure all staff are appropriately qualified and have  any additional training as required. This should be available on request.

Ongoing assessment is part of the learning and development process. Practitioners in settings will regularly observe children to understand their interests and learning styles and then plan for each individual child’s needs.

When a child is aged between two and three a setting must review their progress and provide parents with a written summary of their child’s development. This must identify the child’s strengths and any areas where progress is less than expected.

Beyond this age it is for the provider to decide what any written summary should include, but the summary must highlight areas in which a child is progressing well and where some additional support might be needed.  Where there is a concern the written summary must describe the activities and strategies the provider intends to adopt to address any issues or concerns. Practitioners must also discuss with parents how the summary of development can be used to support learning at home.

If further support is required, early years providers can undertake an Early Help Assessment and refer for support from the Early Support Pathway.

We provide a comprehensive training programme for registered early years and childcare providers to assist them in meeting the needs of children in their care. We also work closely with health colleagues to support the needs of those children who have very complex needs and potentially life limiting conditions.

Family Hubs

Welcome to our Family Hubs offer

Family Hubs is a national programme to help ensure that babies, children and families have the support they need, when it is needed. We have received extra funding from the government to develop Family Hubs. We will build on current services, identify gaps and expand delivery in some services. 

What are Family Hubs?

The Family Hubs offer will provide high-quality support for families with children aged 0-19. (Or up to age 25 for young people with special educational needs).

View more details on our Family Hubs web page

Early Years SEN Specialist and Portage Service

What do they provide?

The Early Years SEN Specialist and Portage Service provides:

  • Portage home visiting
  • Training for parents, settings and other services supporting children with complex needs in their Early Years.
  • SEN specialist work to support those children 0-5 years, with complex needs that are not attending a pre-school settings.  Also, support around transition into pre-school settings for children with complex needs and their families.

The Early Years SEN Specialist and Portage Service Home Visitors are employed by Peterborough City Council to support children and families within their local community

The key purpose of the Early Years SEN Specialist and Portage Service is to provide a framework of support to families with pre-school children with additional needs/disabilities.  The Early Years SEN Specialist and Portage Service includes:

  • regular home visiting
  • supporting the development of play, communication, relationships, and learning for young children within the family, modelled by the home visitors and targets set
  • supporting the child and family’s participation and inclusion in the community in their own right
  • working together with parents within the family, with them taking the leading role in the partnership that is established
  • helping parents to identify what is important to them and their child and plan goals for learning and participation
  • keeping a shared record of the child’s progress and other issues raised by the family
  • responding flexibly to the needs of the child and family when providing support

Request for involvement

Education Settings (nurseries, schools and academies) can request the support of the Specialist Teaching Services including:

  • Advisory teachers for ADHD and Autism
  • Specialist teachers for children and young people with vision, hearing or multi sensory impairment
  • Specialist teachers for children and young people with physical disabilities
  • Portage Service (for Early Years children)

Through the Request for Involvement form. Please note that this is a word document and doesn't open in a new window like a pdf document. Instead it downloads to your computer. Check your downloads folder to open the document.

The form must be signed by the Headteacher / Lead practitioner in the setting and submitted to inclusion-referrals@peterborough.gov.uk

The request will be reviewed by the SEN and Inclusion Services Management Team in order to ensure the most appropriate service responds in a timely manner.

If the matter is urgent, please contact SEN and Inclusion Services directly (the contact details available on Peterborough Local Offer).

For further information please contact SEN.inclusion@peterborough.gov.uk or 01733 863702


Specialist Support

Early Identification Officer

We offer advice, support and guidance to parents via an Early Identification Officer  who works directly with children and parents in the family home.   

The Early Identification Officer provides advice and support to families who have a young child with complex needs. She offers support to parents in a variety of  ways including working with other partners, developmental support, assistance with form filling and support to access an appropriate early years setting of their choice.

She will help identity at least three settings and visit with the child and family. She will support the parent and the setting to access and organise any specialist training that may be required to assist them in meeting the child’s needs. If parents choose not to send their child to an early years setting the Early Identification Officer will support them in the process of accessing a school place when required, supporting parents with EHCP requests where relevant.   

Early Support

Early Support in Peterborough is a pathway for children in their pre-school years with complex health, education, or care needs, who require ongoing support from across education, health and care. This includes children who have difficulty communicating, have sensory or physical difficulties and/or complex health needs; all of whom will require additional support with many aspects of daily life, and it is probable, that there will be a long term impact on their development and/or learning. For example;

  • Young babies leaving hospital with medical and other support needs, where parents and carers need practical help to care for their child at home
  • Children where the need for longer term additional help to address their learning and development needs becomes clear only in the second or third year of life
  • Children who have obvious multiple and significant factors affecting development and learning and those with less obvious difficulties but nevertheless will require significant additional help to address their learning and development needs on an ongoing basis.
  • Working in partnership with parents or carers, the service ensures that parents or carers are at the heart of the discussion and decision making about their children, particularly when they are in contact with many different people and agencies and need help to integrate service planning and delivery.

Early Support Coordinator

The Early Support Coordinator is the single access point for all referrals where a child in their pre-school years is identified as having additional needs. They support the family and ensure a coordinated approach to all support services/interventions. They also provide information and resources together with gathering and coordinating feedback regarding services, to provide a central point of contact for the parent/carer and professionals.To contact the early support coordinator please email:

Susan Ishmael.  Susan.ishmael@peterborough.gov.uk

A leaflet is available explaining the Early Support Pathway and you can also view a copy of 'All About Me' which is a document to help everyone work together to support you and your child.

Early Support for pre-school children

Pre-school age service

Early Support is a national program established to improve the way that services for children with disabilities work with families and together.

The service is a pre-school age service for families with a child who has a disability. Children will have significant and profound learning, sensory impairment, physical impairment, social or communication difficulties, autism, and other disabilities and conditions that will impact on their life long development and learning.

The Two Year Integrated Review in Peterborough

The Healthy Child Programme

The Healthy Child Programme provides a national universal public health programme for all children and families in the UK, which requires health visitors to carry out a health review for children between age 2 and 2.5 years.

Similarly, the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework requires that early years settings review a child's learning and development through a progress check at two years old.

In Peterborough, we integrate the assessments.  There are two ways in which this happens. Either:

  • by sharing information from each assessment between parents, health visitors and the early years setting


  • for those children where more support is needed, a joint meeting will take place to share the information and decide the next steps for appropriate support. 

In this instance, the Integrated Review is completed jointly based on information provided by the child’s parents, the health visitor and the educational setting. 

The joint meeting or Integrated Review, provides an opportunity to discuss the child’s development and family life, how they communicate, eat, sleep, grow, play, as well as their personal social and emotional behaviour. The review meeting is usually arranged by the early years setting at a time to suit the parents and when the child can be present too.

The Integrated Review gives a full picture of the child's development and needs, and what should be done to support the child’s development and learning at the earliest opportunity. 

Right from the start 'toolkit' written by Ambitious about Autism

Practical and straightforward information

The Right from the Start toolkit – is a resource designed to help parents and carers of young children with autism to navigate their journey in the early years.

These days there is a staggering amount of information about autism available online, in books or through word of mouth. Much is reliable, some less so – but the sheer volume of information can feel overwhelming, difficult to sift through and hard to verify.

This is why Ambitious about Autism has created this toolkit – to provide practical and straightforward information in one place that will guide families with young children through their autism journey.

The guide is designed to support parents through the earliest years of their children’s lives up to the age they start school at four or five.Theye have condensed lengthy documents, created practical tips and checklists, and have provided signposts to sources of support or additional information.

These signposts will direct you to our ‘Right from the Start resources library’, where you can visit recommended websites or download suggested resources.

This toolkit will take you on a step-by-step journey through autism in the early years.

Although every effort has been made to describe this journey accurately, they know that, at times, your own ‘journey’ may be very different. This toolkit should therefore be considered a ‘guide book’ rather than a timetable – one that has been designed to be helpful and relevant for your travels, whatever stage you are at.

They use the word ‘parent’ throughout the toolkit but we understand that the range of people caring for a young child is much broader than that. By ‘parent’ they mean any primary carer of a young child, including adoptive or foster parents.

You can download the toolkit by going to this web page 

Tax-free childcare

Parents of children under the age of 11 years old can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2000 a year) for each child to help with childcare costs. This goes up to £1000 every 3 months if a child has a disability (up to £4000 a year). 

For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will pay in £2 to use to pay your provider. 

For more information, visit  Tax-Free Childcare.

Free childcare for two, three and four year olds


We aim to ensure that there is adequate childcare for all parents who require it. To receive support with childcare costs you may be able to access your child's two year old funding or three and four year old funding.

Extended entitlement to 30 hours funding

Could you qualify for 30 hours free funding?

From September 2017, three and four-year-olds of working parents in England will be entitled to an additional 15 hours free childcare, equalling 30 hours free per week over 38 weeks of the year (term-time) or approximately 22 hours per week each week of the year. 

To find out more information and whether you qualify visit the the 30 hours free childcare for working families page.

Disability Access Fund and the Inclusion Fund

Supporting children with disibilities or SEN

Two new measures were introduced in 2017/18 to support children with
disabilities or SEN in receipt of three and four year old early years education funding.

The disability access fund aids access to early years places by, for example, supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and/or helping with building capacity (be that for the child in question or for the benefit of children as a whole attending the setting);

The SEN inclusion fund is to help providers’ better address the needs of individual children in their setting.

Providers can find out more information about the Disability Access Fund and the SEN Inclusion Fund on the Gov.uk website by clicking this link 

Making sure your child is ready for school

How to get your child ready

START is an easy guide to help your child to be ready for school, ready to learn and ready to succeed. By helping your child to be prepared for school, it will build their confidence so that they start school confident, curious and ready to learn. Using positive encouragement can enable your child to feel good about themselves.  You can find out more information on the School Readiness page.

New grant for under 3s with Bulky medical equipment who can’t access DLA mobility

A New grant for under 3s with Bulky medical equipment who can't access DLA mobility is now available

Motability have launched a scheme to provide specialist vehicles to children in the UK under the age of three who must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment and/or need to be near a motor vehicle in case they require treatment for their condition.

All families of children who meet these criteria are eligible; the route for them to apply is through the Family Fund grant scheme (https://www.familyfund.org.uk/FAQs/how-do-we-apply). 

Peterborough - Early Years Equipment Pathway

The Peterborough - Early Years Equipment Pathway document is not a funding statement or commitment, but is a flow chart that allows Early Years Settings to visually see and share  information on the process.

Accessible format

The pathway is produced in accessible format below.

  1. OT undertakes paediatric assessment.
  2. OT identifies C&YP equipment need.
  3. Is the required equipment (Recycled special) available in the Integrated Community Equipment Store?
    • If equipment is available in the store, it is allocated to child to access the Early Years setting.
  4. If equipment is not available in the store, OT brings it to the attention of Local Authority or Health Commissioners to discuss on a case by case basis


Work basket
Social Routines
objects of reference
Hundred words

Providers, Organisations and Services

  1. Childcare funding
  2. Day Nurseries
  3. Childminders
  4. Pre-schools
  5. Breakfast & After School clubs (out of School clubs)
  6. Holiday Clubs
  7. Nanny & Au Pair agencies
  8. School nurseries
  9. Nursery schools
  10. Home childcare

Related Pages

  1. Targeted Support (Local Offer)
  2. Compliments and Complaints (Local Offer)

External Links

  1. National portage Association
  2. Disability access fund
  3. Help paying for childcare (GOV.UK)
  4. Ambitious about Autism - 'Right from the Start' a guide to autism in the early years


  1. 30 hours free childcare leaflet
  2. Emotional and Social Development Pathways - A guide for Parents/Carers
  3. Early Support Pathway - A Guide for Parents and Carers
  4. Early Years SEND Specialist and Portage Service Leaflet
  5. Peterborough - Early Years Equipment Pathway

Related Services

  1. Early Years SEN Specialist and Portage Service
  2. Peterborough Child Development Unit
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