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How to support learning and development for looked after 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

Children placed in Staffordshire

Looked After Children are entitled to a free pass to access children’s centre services.

Children placed outside Staffordshire

Check the local children’s centre offer and local family information service.


Children aged 2 years   Back to top

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

Where children are in long term placements early years provision is key to support good development. Please note that the full 15 hour entitlement doesn’t need to be taken. For example, the child could attend a setting for two mornings a week.

Who can be used?

You can use:

  • private nurseries
  • pre-schools
  • schools and
  • child minders

See our types of childcare page for more information.

Child minders are Ofsted registered and inspected. Smaller, domestic based care could work well for some children. Our Staffordshire Connects directory can help you choose a setting to suit the child. Priority should be given to outstanding and good settings.

Always plan the child’s attendance at settings with an early years personal education plan (PEP). It is good practice to invite the child’s health visitor.

Contact us

For children in short term placements, with upcoming moves or about whom you have concerns, contact the Virtual School for support.


Children aged 3 and 4 years   Back to top

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

Looked after children are entitled to £300 Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) per year when in attendance at pre-school, nursery class or day care provision. The early years PEP is the tool used to identify how the entitlement is used.

The PEP ensures active involvement of different professionals and ensures that we are all working together to seek the best outcomes for looked after children. The emphasis is on practical outcomes and taking responsibility for actions.

Early years PEPs

An early years PEP supports:

  • carers
  • parents
  • prospective adoptive parents
  • the children themselves

It gives a helpful overview of the child’s life. This is an important as the life of a looked after child can be full of changes and moving homes is common.

Completed PEP documentation should be forwarded to the Virtual School  where upon receipt funding will be disbursed.

 Email:  VirtualSchoolEYPupilPremiumInbox@staffordshire.gov.uk


Transition to reception   Back to top

Transition to reception should be planned through the Early Years PEP. Good information sharing is vital.

Contact the admissions team for the process and dates for reception admission. Looked after children are a priority. Outstanding and good setting should be prioritised.

It is possible to consider delaying entry for children born after 1 April. If you think this may be appropriate for a child you’re working with contact the Virtual School for a discussion. A part-time timetable or phased transition could be considered.

Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) is £1900 per children for reception age. £500 is devolved termly to schools. The use of PPP is planned through the child’s personal education plan


Pupil Premium Plus in the early years   Back to top

The child’s PEP should be used to identify key areas for development and then consider how the PPP could be used to promote or support either in the setting or outside the sessions, for example:

  • activities in the home or community
  • support for emotional development.

Please note: the home learning environment is the biggest factor. This should be considered in the PEP.

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.


Concerns about development   Back to top

If you have any concerns about a child’s development seek advice from appropriate services who can support you with interventions and strategies over time.

Children placed in Staffordshire

  • For children in an early years setting, ask for support from early years  area SENCO who could refer to an early years forum
  • For children in a school nursery, ask for support from the school SENCO

  • For children not in an early years setting, request a direct referral to the early years forum via the child’s health visitor

Children placed outside Staffordshire

  • For children in an early years setting, speak to the early years SENCO in the setting
  • For children not in an early years setting, speak to the child’s health visitor

If you still have concerns, contact the Virtual School.

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