COVID-19 / Coronavirus
We have created a page to provide service updates and useful resources relating to Family Information.
Although visitors to this website can access any information they are interested in, this section has been created with professionals in mind.
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In Westminster Early Help is a collection of services which aim to provide effective support to families as soon as difficulties start, to prevent them from getting worse. These services cover a range of areas, from information and guidance, parenting support to health to education to specialist support for young people.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnardo’s, in partnership with The Department for Education (DfE), will be delivering a new and innovative programme across England that co-ordinates a dynamic sector response (DfE press release) .
The ‘See, Hear, Respond’ programme aims to intervene and find the most vulnerable children and young people who are hidden from view; who are not currently receiving support and those who are at risk and/or experiencing adverse impact to their health and wellbeing.
It’s a fast moving project starting in June and delivering till the end of October and is a crises response to children and families. Barnardo’s aims to deliver 30% of the interventions with the remaining 70% being delivered by partners.
The service delivery model is below:
Our referral portal is currently active and we are able to receive referrals:
Q1. What is the 30-hour free childcare entitlement?
All three and four year olds are entitled 15 hours of free childcare and early education a week for up to 38 weeks in a year. Children can access this entitlement in approved childcare providers such as, school, nursery classes, private day nurseries, pre-schools and with childminders.
The Government has increased the entitlement from 15 to 30 hours a week for working parents who meet the eligibility criteria, this is called 30 hours (also referred to as extended entitlement).
Q2. Who will be eligible for the additional 15 hours?
This is available to 3-4 year olds in families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) and each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), and less than £100,000 per year.
If a parent is self-employed or on a zero hours-contract they are still eligible as long as they meet the earnings threshold. You can also apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
Q3. What if one parent is not working?
If one parent is not in paid employment the family will not usually be eligible however, there are exceptions for those who are on parental, maternity, paternity, adoption or sick leave.
If one parent is working and the other is in receipt of Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance the family may still qualify.
Summary of main Eligibility Criteria:
- A child will be aged 3 or 4 Parent/carer will work more than 16 hours per week
- Parent/carer will have an annual income of less than £100,000
- The family will live in England
- The childcare provider is registered with Ofsted
Q4. When can I apply?
The application must be made the term before you wish to start receiving the funding and you can apply up to 16 weeks before your child turns three.
A child will become eligible for the funding at the start of the school term after their third birthday
Child born between
1st September to 31st December
January – Spring term
1st January to 31st March
April – Summer term
1st April to 31st August
September Autumn term
Q5. How do I apply?
Application are assessed by HMRC online, you will need to apply on the Childcare Choices website, see link below:
Childcare choices helpline: 0300 123 4097
Eligible families will receive an 11-digit code which they take to their childcare provider along with the parent’s national insurance number and child's date of birth. Parents will be asked by HMRC to confirm their details are up to date every 3 months or their code will expire.
There will be a short grace period with every code in case a parent loses their job, so they do not automatically lose their childcare entitlement.
Q6. What costs isn't covered?
The 30 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions. If families choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between them and the childcare provider. However, families cannot not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hours place, and must be offered alternative options.
Q7. Can the free 30 hours be delivered outside of term time?
Eligible parents will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week over 38 weeks or the equivalent number of hours across more weeks per year. The Government has said that it wants to ensure parents are given the choice of a ‘stretched offer’ so that the free hours are available outside of term time.
- Standard Term Time offer: Entitlement claimed over 38 weeks
- Stretched Flexible offer: 45 weeks @ 25 hours per week or
51 weeks @ 22 hours per week
Q8. Have the ratio requirements change under the 30 hours?
The ratios remain the same under the existing adult: child ratios set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Staff qualifications requirements and indoor space requirements will also remain the same for all 30 hours’ provision.
Q9. Are children with special needs or disabilities (SEND) be entitled to additional support?
Yes, there will be additional funding available to support SEN children to have full access to the EYFS. The new Disability Access Fund is equivalent to £615 per child per year to support access to free entitlements. 3 and 4year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:
- The child is in receipt of child disability living allowance and
- The child receives free early education
Early years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children for DAF.
Q10. What other support will be available to families to help with childcare costs?
Working parents who are eligible for the 30 hours free childcare can additionally receive support with childcare costs of up to £2000 per child through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.
Parents on low incomes can get up to 85% of their childcare costs reimbursed through the childcare element of Universal Credit, which is gradually being rolled out across the country over the next few years.
Q11. What is the funding rate for providers?
City of Westminster provider rate is: £6.54 per hour.
Q12. Does one provider have to provide all of the 30 hours for each child?
If you have the capacity to do so then you can. However, if it meets the needs of the family they can seek childcare from up to two providers in a single day.
There are many ways the offer can be delivered for example:
(i) A single provider could deliver all of the hours
(ii) A single site with two providers could deliver the hours between them
(iii) Partners within walking distance could deliver the hours between them
(iv) Models responding to parental need such as early morning/twilight/weekend provision
Q13. What hours does the childcare need to be available for?
Places should be available to parents between the hours of 7am and 7pm.
The Government would like to see partners working together to provide flexible, high-quality provision that is responsive to children’s needs, including those with disabilities or special educational needs. This could include offering early morning/twilight or weekend provision in response to parental requirements.
Q14. Where can I get additional information?
Childcare choices helpline:
0300 123 4097
Bi-Borough Childcare & Early Education Service
Family Information Service
The following documents are available for you to download or view online.
General Information for Early Years Professionals:
Click to download 'Childcare Choices' information:
- Top things providers need to know about Tax-Free Childcare;
- Visual map of the customer journey through their childcare account;
- Parent tips for using the 30 hours provision
- Pre-Ofsted visit online tutorial
EYFS 2019 Handbook (Download)
GDPR - what is it and how it will affect your nursery - Q&A (Download)
All reports from Childcare Works events around Supply and Demand, Sufficiency and Working with Schools are now ready to access on the Childcare Works KHUB site at the following link: Childcare Works In-Depth Events
At the Schools In-Depths, several local authority colleagues kindly agreed to share materials they have developed to support schools. The link to the resources here: LA materials for supporting schools
Find out about the Childminder Recruitment Campaigns
Safeguarding related information for Early Years Professionals:
Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children - Click here
Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment - Click here
Click here for a link to e-learning for Prevent Duty Training for safeguarding vulnerable people from radicalisation.
- Safeguarding Pack
SEND related information for Early Years Professionals:
Local Offer SEND stratagies and plans (including Self-Evaluation Framework)
Supporting Children with SEND (Download)
SEN Inclusion Fund (SENIF). What you need to know about SENIF is explained here (External link)
Early Years Funding - For Children With Special Educational Needs And Disabilities
Find useful inspection handbooks and frameworks via this link:
There are two sections of this website:
- Information for Families provides information to all parents and carers of children and young people aged 0-19 years, or 0-25 years if their child has a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND).
- The SEND Local Offer focuses on providing accessible information about the local services to children and young people (aged 0-25 years old) with SEND and their families.
Many different services are published, including education, health, social care, childcare, activities/events, family support and more.
Service providers may publish their relevant local services on this website free of charge and are welcome to contribute information about:
- services suitable for children and families
- services suitable for families with a disabled child/young person or a child who has a special educational need
- services and activities to support young people's wellbeing
To do this you need to Register to create an account.
Once you have done this, see and amend your records by following the steps below:
- Click the 'My Account' drop-down in the top right-hand corner of every page.
- Select 'Dashboard' from the options that appear
- Click 'Manage your directory listings' to see your list of records.
- To make ammendments, click on the 'Actions' drop-down and choose 'Update Record' and/or "Update Local Offer' as necessary.
If you need permission rights to access and edit a record, please contact us.
The Healthy Early Years programme and award scheme is funded by the Public Health team for Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster. The programme has been based on the success of the Healthy Schools programme across the three boroughs and started as a pilot programme in 2014. The programme is open to all early years settings including Children’s Centres and nurseries, and its main aim is to support and encourage settings to develop and deepen their focus on health and wellbeing for the children and families they work with.
How the Healthy Early Years awards work
Awards are given to settings to recognise their achievements in supporting the health and wellbeing of the children and families they work with. There are three levels of award:
- Bronze: Settings will need to complete the Healthy Early Years Bronze Review Tool to demonstrate that they take a whole setting approach to health and wellbeing including physical activity, nutrition, oral health, emotional wellbeing, safety and immunisations.
- Silver: Once a setting has achieved the Bronze award it can move on to the Silver and Gold Awards. To achieve a Silver award, settings will identify the main health priorities for the children and families they work with and devise new projects, practices and interventions to address these needs. Example health priorities might include healthy weight, emotional health and wellbeing, and oral health. This action plan will need to be submitted using the Healthy Early Years Silver Planning Tool.
- Gold: in addition to holding a Silver Award, the setting will then need to implement their Silver action plan. At the end of their action plan, using the Healthy Early Years Gold Reporting Tool, settings will need to demonstrate the impact of the activities they have implemented.
FREE support available to registered settings
- Health Education Partnership: Health Education Partnership has been commissioned to provide free support to settings working towards the Healthy Early Years awards. Within the team, Viktorija Zdanoviciute can provide free support to settings to complete award applications at Bronze, Silver and Gold level. In addition, Kim Lambden can provide free support on "Purposeful Physical Play" including staff training, development visits and parent workshops at Silver level.
- MyTime Active: MyTime Active has been commissioned to provide support to settings on the Healthy Eating and Physical Development aspects of the Healthy Early Years Awards. They offer opportunities for you to provide the best food possible and fun active play for the children in your setting through advice, signposting and training. They can assist with snack ideas, planning menus and training on nutritional guidelines for 1-4 year olds.
How to take part
The first step is to register with Healthy Early Years by completing the online form. Online Registration Form: Registration. Once registered, you will receive an email confirmation including details of the free support available and information on how to begin working towards the Bronze award.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Healthy Early Years Lead
Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster
Bi-Borough is committed to supporting Childminding businesses. Find our CPD offer and other training opportunities in the training opportunities and workshops for professionals link below.
There are also a number of organisations that can help support you to manage your business, ensure you are covered and do not find yourself caught out during common areas of dispute. Here are some links for you to find out more:
PACEY can help you manage the 30 Hours entitlement with updates to their registered childminding contracts. View their leaflet on the right.
Westminster City Council is working in partnership with Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to develop an online portal for assessment and referral into Children’s Services (Early Help referrals only in RBKC). This product is called the Multiagency Assessment and Referral Form (MARF), the method and electronic system we are using to do this is called Open Objects.
Open Objects is a secure web-based management information system enabling local authorities to receive referrals securely from a range of professionals. Information that is shared using this system will be handled strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and held securely and confidentially.
Where families require additional support either through social work involvement or early help intervention we will expect an assessment to be undertaken. This will form the basis of the referral. This assessment will be held securely on Open Objects.
With your permission we may securely share information with internal departments, for example, but not exclusively, the Intensive Family Support Team, the Disabled Children’s Team, Housing and Children’s Services and Early Help. We may also share this information with external agencies for the purposes of supporting the family. We will only share this information with external professionals named on the completed MARF and we will not share any information with any other external organisations without explicit consent. Examples of the sorts of agencies we might contact would be schools, health professionals or voluntary sector organisations.
We do have a duty to share your information without your consent in a small number of situations, for example, where there is a legal requirement to do so where a child or adult is at risk of harm. This may include information where there are safeguarding concerns or where there is a need to engage another agency to provide support for the family.
To help Westminster Childrens Services to identify where services should be focused in the future we may use information that will not identify yourself or your family this may include for statistical or research purposes.
Where consent is given without limitations the case will be processed in the usual way and information held in accordance with Westminster’s existing procedures. Where consent is not given, the case will be referred back to the professional completing the form unless there are safeguarding reasons to continue with the process without consent.
Where consent is given with limitations this will be recorded on the initial contact on Mosaic.
If you would like further details regarding how your information may be shared to provide your child’s care using this directory please contact AccesstoChildrensServices@westminster.gov.uk
Need help with the Provider portal, eligiblity checker?
Visit our YouTube Channel for guidance videos on how to use the provider portal, eligibility checker and more.
What is stammering?
Stammering is a neurological condition which makes it physically hard to speak. Someone who stammers will repeat, prolong or get stuck on sounds or words. There might also be signs of visible tension as the person struggles to get the word out.
Find out more here.
Please use the link below to access additional training information for Early Years Professionals.