Telford and Wrekin LA case study: CHAP and partnership working

Background

The Childcare Hub around the Park (CHAP) was set up by Grange Park Primary school, who were very keen to build relationships with all local early years settings, and wanted to address three main aims:

  1. Improve the quality of provision for children across all partners
  2. Support the provision of new childcare places, focussing on two-year olds
  3. Support parents with their working patterns by offering blended childcare and early education

The concept really worked, and so interest grew. CHAP has since become a one stop hub for childcare provision around Telford Town Park. Participants now include four local schools, two day care settings, a pre-school, and eight childminders. School Reception staff also attend meetings, as does a school SENCO, and a member of the Telford & Wrekin Early Years team.

CHAP is very much a partnership, made up of early years professionals who work closely together to provide the best outcomes for parents and children. It offers a single source of information for all the childcare and Early Years provision available in the area, which allows parents to customise their childcare provision around their own individual needs.

The key to a successful Hub is a good lead, who acts as a co-ordinator to organise meetings, send out agendas, and update offers of places on the Hub website. This ensures all childcare providers are fairly and equally showcased, ensuring a true partnership model.

CHAP works closely with the Early Years team, who have since used our model to build a network of Hubs across Telford and Wrekin. All Hubs are supported by Early Years consultants, who attend meetings and provide all participants with LA updates and information. Four Childcare Champions from the DfE Early Years Professional Development funded project are linked to these eight hubs and are cascading learning from the project.

Increased provision for two-year-olds

To support the increased provision of childcare places for two-year-olds, we worked with the LA EY team to recruit and train more childminders. We have successfully recruited four parents to become childminders, who we continue to support with relevant CPD opportunities around delivering the two-year-old offer, and child development. We also worked with a local school nursery, who now take rising funded three-year-old’s, in order to free up childminder places for younger children.

Promoting parental choice

Parents will often come to CHAP for advice on the different types of childcare settings, and to discuss blended childcare options. Our website offers information, photographs and in some cases video footage, of settings so parents can have a look before actually visiting a setting.

We have children who take up the 30 hour offer and split this between two settings, such as a nursery and a childminder. CHAP actively encourage flexible arrangements based on the needs of the child and the family.

Supporting transitions

A key part of the work we do is to ensure transitions are seamless for children of all ages. To facilitate joint working throughout the process, we hold evening meetings to focus on children who are transitioning to a new setting. These sessions enable meaningful conversations to take place, where knowledge of the child can be passed on in a confidential environment. This allows staff to plan for children before they even start their new setting to ensure the transition is as positive and smooth as it can be. The positive impact of a quality transition process on a child’s learning, development and outcomes should not be underestimated - whatever the age of the child.

Improving quality

One of the CHAP aims is to improve the quality of childcare provision, and to support this, Telford & Wrekin allocates each Hub an annual budget. We have established a rolling programme of CPD, based on the needs of the members in the group.  We have provided content around a huge range of topics, including; SEND, Speech and Language, Makaton, EAL, loose parts play, and Health and well-being.  As part of this programme we also hold meetings in other settings, which means practitioners get to see other quality early years environments.

Developments for 2021

Local Authority personnel, including school improvement advisors, SEND officers, and locality managers for strengthening families, have requested to join CHAP meetings. Including these additional, local experts to our group will enhance our partnership working even further.

We are looking to form inter-Hub partnerships, to help share the cost of some services, and enable us all to work more cost-effectively.

Childminder briefings will take place at CHAP, helping to promote childminding as a profession and further increasing our capacity to deliver high quality, funded childcare.


Telford and Wrekin: Partnership working
Childcare Hub around the Park, November 2020
Nicky Brown, Hub Lead