Newham

Early start set to revolutionise childcare market

25 October 2016 in Education and Young people
A new childcare provider is set to enter the market after gaining the backing of Newham Council’s Cabinet (Thursday 20 October).
The new company, Early Start Education Limited, will provide residents with high quality early years education, including free childcare for those who are eligible.

With a skilled and committed workforce, it will work to achieve positive outcomes for both children and families. Initially operating from two locations in E12 and E7 the business will be jointly owned by the council and an employee trust.

The former council employees launching this business have a proven track record of operating children’s centres in the borough that were rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the regulator Ofsted. They will build on their experience and reputation to achieve the same standards for this new venture.

The company will use key elements of the early years curriculum and an evidence based approach called Five to Thrive to help support parents to meet the specific physical, emotional, social, health and intellectual needs of their children.

Using technology as part of its education offer, Early Start will closely monitor the progress of babies and pre-school children to ensure they are reaching the appropriate milestones for their ability such as communication and language, hand-eye co-ordination, sharing and turn taking, numeracy and literacy.

Early Start will also provide jobs for local residents with roles placed with Workplace, the council’s job and training brokerage scheme.

The need for the business was identified through the council’s Childcare Sufficiency Assessment, which highlighted that demand for childcare and early education places in Newham exceeds current capacity.

Local authorities under the Childcare Act (2006/2016) have a duty to ensure sufficient childcare places for two to four year olds living in their area. They must ensure that there is an offer of 570 hours childcare a year, over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year, for every child in their area aged three and four years, and for  two year olds eligible for the 15-hours of free entitlement. From September 2017, this will increase to 30 hours for eligible children and families.

With the number of 0-four year olds set to rise by six per cent over the coming years, the council took this opportunity to improve the quality and network of local provision for children and families.

In September 2015, Newham Council moved from early years provision based on council run, registered children’s centres. It now has a  ‘Best Start in Life’ offer, which meets the needs of children and families and is delivered through a neighbourhood model.

In support of this change, a number of activities which could be delivered by small businesses were also identified, and this included early education and childcare.

Newham Council’s Small Business Programme then developed a business case to establish Early Start Education Limited as a small company, responsive to the needs of residents and the local area.

The Small Business Programme is the radical and unique way in which the council is changing services to provide a better, fairer deal for residents and to strengthen links between services and the residents they serve.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “There is a clear gap in the market for high quality childcare especially with our growing young population. Establishing this Early Start Education Limited will enable us to continue to support our residents now and in the future.

“Early Start Education Limited is just one of a number of businesses that are being developed by the council’s small business programme that will be able to trade independently and provide revenue back to the council.”

Justin Elder, managing director of Early Start Nurseries, said: “Having worked in children and family services for 20 years and delivered outstanding outcomes for the borough’s children, this new venture will allow me to bring all my experience to the fore. It is a great opportunity to further drive up standards of childcare in Newham and as a joint owned employee trust we will really be able to value and reward our staff.”

If you are interested in registering your child for a place at the Early Start Nurseries or in any employment opportunities they have, please email earlystartnurseries@newham.gov.uk or call 020 3373 6050. Newham residents interested in working for Early Start Education, should register their interest through Workplace, please call 0203 373 1101.