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.

CLICK HERE - 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.

Family Support

Family Support in Warrington is delivered by a dedicated team known as Family Support Workers.

We will work with your family from an early stage to support you to manage those difficult and challenging times in your family life.  This can include debt, disability, housing issues, domestic abuse, poor mental or emotional health, substance misuse, anti-social behavior and neglect.  We do this by offering an initial home visit to look at what is needed for your family and by completing an Early Help Assessment.  We also use the Graded Care Profile (GCP2) to ensure that our support is tailored to your family’s needs.

Our aim is to:

  •        Support families with children aged 0-19 years old with complex/ multiple needs and disability.
  •        Assess needs, helping families to identify what works well for them and where there may be a support need.
  •        Act as the lead professional for families, being a point of contact for other professionals.
  •         Offer parenting advice and working within the family to improve the confidence and self-esteem of children, young people and parents/carers
  •        Be a positive role model and advocate for children and young people in Warrington
  •        Listen to the views of families and their children voices to provide the right support for the whole family.

Who to contact:

Ann Peacey – Family Support Team Manager (East, covering Birchwood, Culcheth, Croft,Glazebury, Winwick, Padgate, Woolston)

Phone: 01925 443444 (option 1)   email: apeacey@warrington.gov.uk

Louise Gough – Family Support Team Manager (South, covering Stockton Heath, Grappenhall, Latchford, Appleton, Central, Lymm, Orford)

Phone: 01925 443920 email: lgough@warrington.gov.uk

Lesley Thorpe – Family Support Team Manager (West, covering Penketh, Great Sankey, Dallam, Winwick park, Orford,Central)

Phone: 01925 446244 email: Lesley.Thorpe@warrington.gov.uk

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, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • are looked after by a local authority
  • have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) 
  • get Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

Contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds
  • support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan

  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)

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

30 hours Extended Entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds

The majority of working parents of three and four year olds could be eligible for an additional 15 hours of childcare per week. You may have seen or heard it referred to as 30 hours funded 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.

Having a 30 hour code does not mean your child is eligible to start their 30 hour place. The table below explains the cut-offs dates by which you must have a valid code to start your place in the next term.

If your child's third birthday falls between:

  • 1 September – 31 December
    *Think about applying around mid- October
    Application deadline is 31 December
  • 1 January – 31 March
    *Think about applying around mid-January
    Application needed is 31 March
  • 1 April – 31 August
    *Think about applying around mid-June
    Application deadline is 31 August

The date your child becomes eligable for a funded place:

  • Spring Term
    In the January after their third birthday with a valid 30 hour code issued by 31 December
  • Summer Term
    In the April after their third birthday with a valid 30 hour code issued by 31 March
  • Autumn Term
    In the September after their third birthday
    with a valid 30 hour code issued by 31 August

You can find further information and advice on the Childcare Choices website here https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/. Childcare Choices brings together all the government childcare offers in one place. Use the Childcare Calculator at www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator to see what offers are available to support you and your family.

To check your eligibility and complete an application to receive your 30 hour code confirming your eligibility, go to the Childcare Choices website today at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

If you experience problems finding out your eligibility or have questions, 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


Children's Centres

Children’s Centres have continued to operate essential health and maternity services during COVID-19, as well as supporting families through digital media, and essential home visits to the most vulnerable.


From Monday 12th April:

Children’s Centres are open for parent and child groups, including Baby Sing Along, Talking Chefs, Bookstart, and many more.

Social distancing means that capacity is limited, therefore advance booking is essential. 

Contact your nearest Children’s Centre for more details of what’s on offer and to book a place.


From Monday 21st June:

Further relaxation of social distancing means increased capacity in our Children’s Centres.

Drop-in groups, including All Kinds of Play, will be reintroduced, as well as a wider range of parent and child activities.

Details of each children’s centre and the latest timetables are listed below. Timetables are subject to change so we strongly advise contacting your nearest centre before attending.

The Orchard Children's Centre             WA2 0JP

Sandy Lane Children's Centre              WA2 9HY

Great Sankey Children's Centre           WA5 1SB

Little Stars Children's Centre               WA5 0JG

Westy Children's Centre                       WA4 1RE

Sunshine Children's Centre                  WA2 7RQ

Children's Centre Strategy Document

This Warrington Children's Centre Strategy sets out our plans over the next three years for how the Service and its partner organisations will work with families and children within this Early Help context.

Early Years Strategy

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.