Early Years Provision
Research has shown that good quality early years education can have a positive effect on the educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes of children, both in the short and long term. The Department for Education has carried out a Study of Early Education and Development (SEED – July 2015). You can view the report here.
Childcare is also needed to enable parents to work. Employment is recognised as the most sustainable way to lift parents out of persistent poverty.
The extent to which children start school ready and able to learn can have a long-term impact on their likelihood of success in education and employment. There are significant gaps by social background in the level of school readiness. Key drivers include:-
- Family factors, e.g. parental education, maternal age, material deprivation, maternal/child health;
- Parental engagement and early home learning environment;
- Quality of early years settings.
The strategic priorities for early years provision in Somerset are captured within Somerset’s Education Vision ‘Achieving Excellence for All’ 2015-2020.
The Somerset Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2017 looks at the supply and demand of childcare in Somerset. It includes an overview of the demographic and economic situation of Somerset, legislation pertinent to the provision of childcare and a snapshot of the sufficiency of childcare places across the county. It also includes information on the Extended Entitlement (30 hours) available to working families with three and four year olds from September 2017. The data on the demand and supply of places included in the report is intended as the basis for deciding where in the county additional early years places may need to be commissioned.
Somerset’s early years and childcare provision is delivered by a wide range of providers; of which 99% are independent of the local authority and lie in the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector. As at July 2017 there were:
- 326 Childminders
- 6 Childcare on domestic premises (where two or more childminders work together at the same premises)
- 316 Pre-schools / Nurseries
The breakdown of pre-schools/nurseries by type was as follows:
- 224 private or voluntary run
- 51 maintained school run
- 28 academy run
- 13 independent school run
Quality of childcare
In Somerset, as at July 2017, 494 of the 523 providers that had an Ofsted grade (94.5%) were rated Outstanding (G1) or Good (G2). This was up from 85.4% of providers in April 2016.