Sheffield’s Best Start Strategy

We have a city-wide strategy for early years in Sheffield which has been developed in partnership by the City Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, the voluntary sector and other partners.

It sets out the following priorities which you as childcare providers are critical partners in the delivery of.

The Best Start priorities are:

  • Babies and children have good health
  • Parents are resilient and any mental health issues are to be addressed at the earliest opportunity
  • Brain Development in Early Years is optimised by secure attachments and quality relationships
  • Children are ready for school and for life

Sheffield City Council is committed to the development of high quality, inclusive, accessible and sustainable childcare services for all children and families regardless of where they live. It is important to provide children with the best possible start in life by ensuring that appropriate services are available which meet the particular needs of the child and their family. As a city we have a good range of good quality childcare. In Spring 2017 93.5% of childcare provision in Sheffield which was inspected by Ofsted was rated Good or Outstanding.

Does this page need updating?
Let us know. Please contact 

Childcare Sufficiency

As a local authority, we have a legal responsibility to ensure that there is sufficient quality childcare provision across the City to meet parental need or demand. We can provide you with information about the number of childcare places in different parts of the City and specific information about the amount and type of existing provision within your chosen area.

Information is available on the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Page but you can contact the Childcare planning team for more information:

Tel: 0114 2054031

Early Years Best Start Teams

In Sheffield we have 3 Early Years Best Start teams. The Best Start teams are part of the Family Intervention Service.

You can download a copy of the Prevention and Early Intervention core offer here.

The Best Start teams consist of a number of workers offering support, guidance and advice to children, families and childcare providers in line with city’s Best Start Strategy.

The Best Start Teams are made up of:

  • Early Years Quality Improvement Managers
  • Early Quality Improvement Officers
  • Quality Access, and Moderation Manager
  • Quality, Access and Moderation Officers
  • Community Early Years Practitioners

The Early Years Quality Improvement Team

In Sheffield we have an early year’s quality improvement team. Within the team are a number of early years specialists offering support, guidance and advice to children and families and childcare providers supporting the implementation of the city’s Great Start in Life Strategy.

Members of the team include:

  • Early Years Quality Improvement Managers
  • Early Quality Improvement Officers
  • Quality Access, and Moderation Manager
  • Quality, Access and Moderation Officers
  • Community Early Years Practitioners

The Early Years Quality Improvement Team provide a support & challenge role to assist in driving forward and securing the delivery of high quality, inclusive early education and childcare to all children in Sheffield.

The Early Years Quality Improvement Programme is tailored to meet early education and childcare provider’s requirements and is based on up to date EYFSP data and trends in current Ofsted inspections. In addition, all Early Years Providers can access Workshops, Drop ins and request Quality Improvement audits, to include safeguarding SEND. In addition a range of information is available on the Sheffield Directory.

The Early Years Quality Improvement Team will provide intense support to any provider that receives an inadequate or Requires Improvement Judgement or for those providers who are newly registered.

The Early Years Quality Improvement Teams are deployed across the city and can be contacted for support/advice on the numbers below:

Quality Improvement East
Name: Vicky Carr
Tel: 07971 376801

Quality Improvement West
Name: Claire Murgatroyd
Tel: 07711 498096

Quality Improvement North
Name: Denise Tunnicliffe
Tel: 07770 702500

Termly workshops are delivered in each locality on a variety of subjects, details and venues are circulated by email, however you can contact you area manager for information. To help us with communication it would be helpful if you could ensure your contact details, including email address and phone numbers, are up to date.

Topics covered in the past 12 months were developed to address the trends emerging from Ofsted inspections and these included:

  • Prevent duty
  • Support, Advice & Challenge to EY Providers and across the PVI Sector
  • EYFS Overview
  • Understanding 2 year olds
  • Enabling Environments
  • Leadership and Management
  • Self-Evaluation
  • Writing My Plans
  • The plan do Review cycle
  • The new Ofsted inspection Framework

Downloadable documents:

Early Years Quality Improvement Team Booklet 2019-2020

ILS Early Years Team

The ILS Early Years Team provide support and challenge to the schools early years sector. This includes a traded service as well as delivering a city-wide moderation programme to ensure the accuracy of the end of year foundation Stage results. The traded service package includes:

  • EYFS Conference - one free place at the Early Years conference and additional places at half price.
  • Access to Sheffield Early Years Forum
  • EYFS Coordinator Briefings
  • Special Interest Groups (SIG)
  • Up to 4 days Bespoke (these may be taken as Focus Days, Half-Days, Twilights and / or in-school support by a member of the Early Years Team) - see Pick ‘n’ Mix for ideas on page 38

In addition to this the Early Years Team undertake audits and assessments of the early year’s provision in school. This can be either as a stand-alone audit or as part of a whole school review.

The Sheffield Charter for Quality is used across schools to support self-evaluation and quality improvement. The Charter for Quality also shares a register of good practice across the city. The register is made up of best practice, showcased by schools who have achieved the Charter for Quality. This register can be accessed by any early years practitioner who might want to visit a school to observe an area of practice.

Contact Details: 

Inclusion Team

We have an early years inclusion team made up of a team of Specialist Teachers and Teaching Assistants who work with young children who have additional needs.

We take referrals from parents, health professionals and nursery staff and work with children from birth to the end of Foundation Stage both in their homes and in settings.

We offer an extensive range of training for practitioners working with children with additional needs.

Support grid
The “Support Grid” and guidance and other inclusion documents can be found on the Learn Sheffield website:

Disability Access Fund (DAF)
From April 2017 the government has introduced a new funding measure for Early Year’s providers, the Disability Access Fund (DAF); this is to support children with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).
DAF helps children access an Early Years place by supporting providers to make reasonable adjustments or increasing the number of SEND places available.

Read more about our Inclusion strategy here

Click here to access the SEND code of Practice

Family Intervention Service

Our Way of Working

We use the solution focused Signs of Safety approach to identify the strengths, needs and ambitions of families, and to build their naturally occurring support network of family and friends.

We are a consent-based service that works collaboratively with families and relevant professionals to improve the wellbeing of children by improving the safety and nurture at home, supporting good physical and emotional health, encouraging engagement with positive community activities and education, and by ensuring that any additional needs are supported.

Family Intervention Service – Our Provision

Our Parenting Hub offers seminars, discussion groups and a wide range of evidence-based parenting group programmes which families can self-refer into.

Our School Engagement Team offer advice sessions jointly with school or nursery staff in the school setting, covering any of the issues in our support offer.

Our Intervention Workers work with families who are struggling with multiple issues. A multi-agency support plan that meets the needs of the family will be agreed and reviewed at regular Team Around the Family meetings, with direct support and advice provided in the family home, as well as at school and/or in community settings.

We support families who are struggling with several of the following issues;

  • Getting a good education
  • Good early years development
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Promoting recovery and reducing harm from substance use
  • Improved family relationships
  • Children safe from abuse and exploitation
  • Crime prevention and tackling crime
  • Safe from domestic abuse
  • Secure housing
  • Financial stability 

Practitioners working with families who have an unmet (or new need) identified can refer using an Early Help Assessment.

Telephone: (0114) 203 7485

Read more about Early Help