Early Help & Childcare

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Early Help

The purpose of Early Help is to prevent any issues from getting worse by offering support at the right time. Any professional working with your family, such as those based in schools, health services, and in voluntary sector organisations, can offer Early Help services as soon as they can see that advice, support and/or intervention may be needed.

Early Help works best when it is offered to the whole family and when services are delivered jointly by professionals. Early Help is everyone’s business.


Types of childcare

Regulated by Ofsted:

Not regulated by Ofsted:

  • Nannies
  • Au pairs
  • Babysitters

Things to consider when choosing childcare

To help you choose childcare, visit with your child while the other children are there.  Think about what's important to you and your child, this list may help you:

  • Are you made welcome?
  • Are the children happy, settled and busy, and do they appear to be enjoying the activities?
  • Are staff talking and listening to children and answering them carefully and sensitively?
  • Are staff friendly and proud of their work?
  • Do staff make sure that the children are playing safely?
  • Are staff joining in with what the children are doing?
  • Are there plenty of clean toys, books and equipment for the children to use?
  • Are the play activities child-led?
  • Do the activities take into account the children’s ages, cultural background and any special needs?
  • Are the premises, toys and equipment clean, well kept, secure and safe for children?
  • Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play?
  • Are the children’s achievements celebrated through sensitive displays of their work?
  • Are all children valued and respected?
  • Do children have access to outdoor play?
  • Where relevant, is information available about the Early Years Foundation Stage?
  • Are you provided with any information about services and policies, e.g. fire drills, medical emergencies? Find out how many staff are qualified in first aid, and how they would contact you in an emergency.
  • If it's a childminder, do they have public liability insurance?  Discuss any particular concerns such as pets and allergies.  Ask how they ensure all the children in their care are treated equally. 
  • If your child is young and needs a rest during the day, ask where the sleeping area is and at what times the children sleep.
  • Ask if they provide snacks and drinks and are meals healthy and balanced.
  • Ask for contact details of other parents whose children are, or have been, at the setting so that you can follow up any references.
  • Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children? Are you encouraged to share your knowledge of your child with the staff?
  • What are the procedures for a mutual sharing of information about your child?

Imagine how it would feel if you were your child.  Go more than once if you’re not sure.  You should feel comfortable about your decision.  Remember, you know your child best.

And make sure they are registered - Ask to see their Ofsted registration and inspection certificate.

If you are looking for childcare for your child who has additional needs or disabilities, download the inclusion checklist.  You can save this to your phone or print it off and take it with you to any childcare settings you visit.

Becoming a Childminder

Childminding allows you to work from your own home to provide care and learning opportunities for other people's children.

More and more parents are looking for good quality childcare. They're also looking for childcare that's flexible enough to meet the needs of their busy lifestyles and cater for differing work and shift patterns. Lots of parents need childcare outside the usual Monday to Friday, nine until five routine.

Is childminding for you?

As a childminder, you'll be self-employed and running your own business. You have to be registered with Ofsted and you must work to the same regulations as other childcare settings.

We run free Childminder pre-registration briefing sessions that provide information to help you decide whether childminding is the right career for you and here are the details of forthcoming sessions:

Wednesday 10th July 2019, 6.30pm to 9.00pm

Thursday 5 September 2019, 6.30 to 9.00pm

Contact us if you want to attend one of the sessions. Once you've attended you can book onto our childminder induction course before you register as a childminder.

What you'll need to become a childminder

To become a childminder you need to:  

  • be over 18 years old
  • attend the free childminder pre-registration briefing session
  • attend a childminder induction course (12.5 hours over a 5 week period, £55)
  • complete a Paediatric first aid course (£60)
  • meet the Ofsted registration requirements
  • be DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked and have annual update checks. Anyone over 16 living or working at your address will also need to be checked (£65 per person, payable to Capita)
  • have a health check with your GP (cost variable, payable to your GP)
  • be registered by Ofsted (£35 payable to Ofsted)
  • be registered to care for up to six children, including your own under eight year olds, depending on the size of your home
  • be insured for public liability (variable costs and packages)

Once you become a childminder

You'll be able to choose when and what time you'll offer your sessions. You'll need to offer flexible hours that parents using your service will be looking for, and come to an agreement that suits their needs.

Some childminders offer weekend and even overnight care. If you decide to offer this, you'll need to state this on your Ofsted registration certificate.

Charging for your service

You can set your own charges and fees for your service and receive payment directly from parents. We can give you an idea of the average prices that childminders may charge for the area. You can also be registered with Warrington Borough Council to deliver funding childcare to 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Contact us online or call 01925 443131

How we support you

We offer childminders:

  • childminder pre-registration session and induction course
  • on-going advice and support from our information and early years teams
  • support to help you prepare for your Ofsted registration visit (and subsequent inspection visits)
  • early years training programme
  • free early years network meetings
  • childminder drop in sessions at local children’s centres
  • free advertising through the Family Service Directory

Information for childcare providers

If you're a childcare provider, take a look at the information for providers section.

2 year old Funded Early Education

Funded Childcare places for 2 years olds

Warrington Borough Council is able to fund a limited number of children to attend nursery for 15 hours per week, term time only.

What is it?

The two year old Early Education entitlement is a new initiative by the government.  It means that nursery places are available to a limited number of two year old children from the first day of the new term following their second birthday.

When is my child entitled to a funded place

If your childs 2nd birthday falls between: He/She will become entitled to a free place from:
1 January - 31 March 1st April
1 April - 31 August 1st September
1 September - 31 December 1st January

The child would receive up to 15 hours early years education per week at a private nursery, pre-school, maintained nursery school/class or accredited childminder in Warrington.

The provider must be registered with Warrington Borough Council - please see the link for the providers who are registered to deliver the funding.

Who can get a place?

Children may be eligible for 15 hours per week of early years education from the term after their second birthday.  Not every child is entitled to receive a funded place. You will need to meet one or more of the following criteria for your child to be eligible for a free place.

    • Income Support
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
    • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
    • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
    • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
    • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

    A child may also get early years education and childcare if any of the following apply:

    • they’re looked after by a local council
    • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
    • they get Disability Living Allowance
    • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
    left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

Children are also eligible if they or their family are receiving support or services from Children’s Targeted Service social work teams.

What the two year funding offer covers

Up to 15 hours per week early years education up to a maximum entitlement of 570 hours over a year, at a provision registered to deliver two year funding with Warrington Borough Council.

How to apply

To see if you’re eligible for two year old funding please follow the steps below:

  • You will need to visit https://admissions.warrington.gov.uk/CitizenPortal_LIVE Click on the ‘register’ button and enter all of the required information.
  • It will then notify you of the decision; a red cross indicates that you aren’t entitled to funding at this time and a green tick will indicate that you are entitled.
  • If you are entitled you should receive a code that starts with ‘TYFF877’.
  • It’s important that you keep a record of this code, as it is proof of your entitlement to funding and you will need to quote/show this code to your chosen setting.
  • Contact the childcare provider of your choice to arrange a visit.
  • You will need to take a copy of the e-mail from the Citizen Portal which contains your reference code starting with ‘TYFF877’ to the childcare provider as confirmation that a funded place has been offered to your child. In addition, a copy of your child’s birth certificate will also be required for identification as well as a letter as proof of address.

If you have been declined, please be aware that you are able to re-apply at any time via the Citizen Portal on the above link should your circumstances change in the future. Please contact us on 01925 443131 if you require any assistance or further information

3 & 4 year old Funded Early Education

3 & 4 year old Funded Early Education

Three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of early education over a minimum of 38 weeks to a maximum of 570 hours over a year. This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday).

This funding is payable to all 3 and 4 year old children regardless of parental income, from the term after the child’s third birthday.

When to apply

Child born between

Can receive the funded hours from

1 September 2014 to 31 December 2015

January 2019 (spring)

1 January 2015 to 31 March 2016

April 2019 (summer)

1 April 2015 to August 2016

September 2019 (autumn)

To access this funding your childcare provider must be registered to deliver the early year’s education.

The Funded places can be accessed at nursery classes/schools, private nurseries, playgroups, preschools or with an accredited childminder. The level of flexibility that is offered will depend on a provider's individual circumstances.

 The following conditions apply:-

  • 15 hour entitlement over a minimum of two days
  • A maximum of two providers at any one time
  • Cannot be accessed before 7 am or after 7 pm
  • Sessions accessed in no less than half hour blocks

 30 hours Extended Entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds

From September 2017 it is expected that the majority of working parents of three and four year olds will be eligible for an additional 15 hours of childcare per week. You may have seen or heard it referred to as 30 hours free childcare.

The eligibility criteria are as follows;

  •  Both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) and each parent earns a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national living wage, and less than £100,000 per year.

Working will include employed and self-employed people. Parents do not necessarily have to actually work 16 hours a week, but their earnings must reflect at least 16 hours of work at the national living wage. This includes parents on zero contract hours who meet the criteria

  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave
    • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay
    • One parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
    • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

You can find further information and advice on th new Childcare Choices website here https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/. Childcare Choices brings together all the government childcare offers in one place for the first time. The new Childcare Choices website makes it easy to find out what’s on offer. 

Use the Childcare Calculator at www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator to see what offers are available to support you and your family.

To find out more about the new and existing offers, and how they can help you, go to the Childcare Choices website today at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

If you are still having problems finding out your eligibility, you can contact Childcare Service Customer Interaction Service on 0300 123 4097.

Early Years Strategy 2017 - 2020

This Early Years Strategy 2017-2020 continues the work achieved in the previous strategy (2014-17). It is an overarching strategy that encompasses Warrington’s statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Childcare Act 2006. It champions the vision for improving outcomes for our youngest children.

For the full report please click here