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Early years

Early years

Our children are likely to have experienced trauma, separation and significant disruption in their lives which can impact on their progress in the early years. It is vital that professionals work together to understand our children’s needs and the impact of trauma and loss on their emotional well-being and development.

Early years self-assessment framework

Early years self-assessment framework (2.32MB)

This framework is intended to support early years settings in evaluating their own provision and practice. Its focus is how early years settings can support the particular needs of our children. 

Early years PEPs 

All our children attending an early years educational setting require a PEP. These should take place once a term. 

On notification of our children’s attendance, a Staffordshire e-PEP account is set up which is used to complete the termly PEP documents. Both the child's social worker and designated teacher are added. It is their joint responsibility to complete the PEPs along with support from parents, carers and the Virtual School where necessary. 

Early years PEPs should focus on identifying learning and development gaps and setting SMART targets to support our children in reaching age-related expectations. When eligible, early years pupil premium should be used to support with this process. 

Early years pupil premium

All our children are eligible for early years pupil premium the term after their third birthday. This money is sent directly to settings and equates to £100 per term or £300 per year. The spending of this money, and how it will best support key areas of development, is discussed in PEP meetings.  

How to supporting learning and development for our children in the early years

Children aged under 2 years

Activities which provide opportunities for the child and carer to engage together promote and support development. Such activities include: 

  • baby bounce and rhyme at your local library

  • parent and toddler groups 

Our children who are placed in Staffordshire are entitled to a free pass to access children's centre services.Please check the local children’s centre offer and local family information service for our children who are placed outside of Staffordshire.

Children aged 2 years

Please note: all our children are entitled to 15 hours free funded early education the term after their 2nd birthday. 

For all our children, early years provision is key to supporting good development. Please note that the full 15 hours entitlement does not need to be taken. For example, the child could attend a setting for two mornings a week. 

Where can our children attend? 

  • private nurseries 

  • pre-schools 

  • schools  

  • child minders

See our types of childcare page for more information. 

Our Staffordshire Connects directory can help you choose a setting to suit the child. Priority should be given to Ofsted rated Good and Outstanding settings. 

How to apply for free childcare places for 2 year olds (Think 2) 

Children aged 3 and 4 years

Please note: all our children are entitled to 15 hours free funded early education the term after their 3rd birthday. 

Some of our children may be entitled to 30 hours provision, providing criteria are met by parents or carers, and it is deemed in our children’s best interests by professionals. Please see the 30 hours eligibility criteria

If you would like to apply, and meet the eligibility criteria, please contact the Virtual School.  

Transition to reception 

Transition to reception should be planned through a PEP, including our children’s receiving school. Good information sharing is vital. 

As with early years settings, Ofsted rated Good and Outstanding schools should be prioritised. It is advisable to submit applications as early as possible to secure a place.  

It is possible to consider delaying entry for our children born between 1st April and 31st August. If you think this may be appropriate for one of our children then please contact the Virtual School. A part-time timetable or phased transition could be considered. 

Conerns and further support

If you have any concerns about a child’s development, upcoming placement moves or concerns about a setting, then please seek advice from the Virtual School team.

All settings have access to a SENCO, whether they are an area SENCO or are school based. It may be appropriate for a referral to the Early Years Forum, who can potentially offer further support and funding for our children through their setting.  

For more information about Staffordshire’s Early Years Forum and our local offer please see the links below: 

Early Years Forum 

Staffordshire Local Offer

Useful links

What to expect, when? is a guide to child development over six different age bands and how to support their learning and development during these stages.

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