Early education and childcare

All you need to know about choosing the right childcare for your family, funded childcare places and information about registered childcare providers available in Rutland

As a parent or carer, you know what's best for your child.

The things you and your child do together at home are the most important step in giving them the best start in life.

Care from friends, grandparents and other relatives plays a vital role too.

Early education and childcare can also help your child to get the best start in life, so choosing the right kind of setting for your child is a big decision to make.

Not only is early education and childcare good for your child, it’s good for families and carers too.

Time is precious, so access to early education or childcare increases your freedom to manage your work and family life in the best way possible, whatever your circumstances.

There are lots of options and you’ll need to work out the best arrangement for your child, your lifestyle and your pocket, but early learning is good for families.

This part of the Local Offer is designed to help you make this choice - you can find information about what's on offer locally, help with childcare costs and other support services out there.

You can read Rutland's Early Years Strategic Approach which explains our approach in bringing together all local services working with families with young children.

What to Expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage: a guide for parents

For further advice or support please contact The Rutland Family Hub on familyhub@rutland.gov.uk or 01572 758383.

RIS - Local Offer - Early education and childcare information

The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage framework sets out the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five, when they attend an early years provider. The Early Years Foundation Stage continues until the end of the Reception Year in school.

Children do best when the professionals and parents work together towards positive outcomes.

There are four guiding themes which underpin work with young children:

  1. a unique child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
  2. positive relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person
  3. enabling environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning
  4. learning and development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected

What should my child be learning?

The Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework (EYFS) sets out seven key areas of learning and development, and the educational programmes. There are seven areas of learning and development that will shape educational programmes in Early Years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. These specific areas are:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity.

How can I find out how my child is doing and what do I do if I am worried about their development?

Speak to your childcare provider. All children must have a key person, who will help ensure that your child's care is tailored to meet their individual needs. The key person will build a relationship with you and provide you with information about how your child is learning and developing. 

The following are really useful documents containing lots of information about stages of child development:

What should I do if I have a concern about my child’s development?

Each child is unique and will develop at their own rate and will have their own individual strengths. However, if you are worried that you child is not meeting key developmental milestones or that they are not progressing at a typical rate, it’s important to seek help.

You may want to have a look through this useful parent guide to understand what developmental milestones might look like: https://foundationyears.org.uk/files/2021/09/What-to-expect-in-the-EYFS-complete-FINAL-16.09-compressed.pdf

You can also seek support and advice materials from NHS health professionals via the Health for Under 5’s website: https://healthforunder5s.co.uk/leicestershire/

Who can I talk to if I am concerned about my child’s development?

If you feel you child has a medical issue, please make an appointment with your GP or call NHS 111.

If you are worried about your child’s general development, you can seek support and advice from your child’s Health Visitor. The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Healthy Together team have a telephone number for parents and professionals to call. The calls are answered by a Health Visitor who can talk to you about your worries and give advice and support. They can also make an appointment with the Health Visiting team.

The telephone number is 0300 300 3001

Both the health visitor and the GP will be able to make referrals on to specialists, e.g. speech and language services, if they think it’s appropriate.

If your child is attending an educational setting, such as a nursery, childminder, or school, we would also advise speaking to your child’s key person/ class teacher or the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) to share your worries.

Support from the Rutland Family Hub

You can also ask for support around your child’s development from the Family Hub. It doesn’t matter if you have never been to the Family Hub before, The Family Hub has a range of professionals that will be able to advise you. If you do attend a group, the experienced Family Support Educators would be happy to advise and support you. familyhub@rutland.gov.uk or by calling 01572 758 383.

Our Early Years Inclusion service also work closely with the Family Hub. The Early Years Inclusion service is made up of a team of experienced specialist advisors who provide advice to Early Years providers and families for children with possible Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). If you need more information and support after speaking to your child’s setting, please contact us. If your child is not in an educational setting, don’t worry, we can still help just contact us at the Family Hub on familyhub@rutland.gov.uk or by calling 01572 758 383, to seek support and advice from a member of the Early Years Inclusion team.

Two year old integrated checks

Age two is an important time for your child.

Any problems with language development and behaviour can start to be identified at this age.

If any problems are found, interventions can be more effective than they would be for an older child, making a real difference to a child’s future.

At two to two-and-a-half years your child will have a health and development review.

This is usually done by a nursery nurse or the health visitor, and could take place at home, in a baby clinic, at the Rutland Family Hub, or at your child's early years provision if they're attending one.

They'll encourage you to talk about your child's progress and will help you with any concerns.

You may be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about your child's development.

It's best if both you and your partner are there. If your child attends an early years setting, such as a nursery or child-minder, the review may be linked to your child's early years progress check at age two.

The review will cover:

  • general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, and hearing and vision
  • growth, healthy eating, and keeping active
  • managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits
  • tooth brushing and going to the dentist
  • keeping your child safe

Early education funding

Visit our Early Education and Childcare Funding page for more information.

Early Years Pupil Premium

What is the Early Years Pupil Premium?

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional funding to support disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds.

Visit our Early Year Pupil Premium page for more information.

Disability Access Fund

What is the Disability Access Fund?

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is funding for children who are claiming disability living allowance (DLA).

Visit our Disability Access Fund page for more information.


Help with costs

Disability Living Allowance can help you with the day-to-day costs of looking after a child with a disability.

You can find out about funding towards 2, 3 and 4 year old childcare, and benefits on Childcare Choices.

The Disabled Access Fund is available from Rutland County Council. This can help childcare providers address the needs of individual children with SEND.


Starting school

Starting school is an exciting time for young children and their families, it can also be a daunting time especially if it is your first child to start school.  Schools and settings work closely to ensure children have a smooth and positive transition into school, this includes visits and meetings.  

Continuity and sharing of information between parents, practitioners and between providers is key to supporting children through transitions. 

When parents and carers pass on information to the setting or settings share information with parents it helps everyone to understand and be clear about what is important in the child’s life.

Children’s lives are made easier when everyone who is involved knows what has happened and what may be happening in the future.

Each local authority is responsible for co-ordinating the primary school admissions process for children resident within their local authority area. This means that as a resident of Rutland you must submit an application to Rutland County Council even if you wish to apply for a place at a school in another local authority area.