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.
Somerset County Council has worked with partners and produced a strategy for achieving excellence for all – 2016-2019 within which there is a strategy for Early Years which sets out objectives and includes a trajectory for improvement.
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 Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2017 looks at the supply and demand of childcare in Somerset.
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 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
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.
Children's centres in Somerset:
- Provide information and advice to parents
- Co-ordinate support for families within and outside children's centres
- Provide flexible, quality childcare (may not be on site)
- Support people into work and training
- Promote and support healthy lifestyles
Somerset currently has 39 children’s centres, 24 of which are designated and 15 de-designated. Centres are located across the district/borough council areas as follows:-
- Mendip: 8 centres (6 designated and 2 de-designated)
- Sedgemoor: 8 centres (4 designated and 4 de-designated)
- South Somerset: 10 centres (6 designated and 4 de-designated)
- Taunton Deane/West Somerset: 13 centres (9 designated and 4 de-designated)
Note: A 'de-designated' Centre is not registered as a Children’s Centre, but acts as a satellite for a different Children’s Centre. These “satellite” centres can have reduced opening hours and aren’t subject to their own Ofsted inspection.
Children's Centre map (click to enlarge)
© Crown Copyright. All right reserved. 100038382. Somerset County Council (2016)
A list of all Children's Centres in Somerset is available here.