Wolverhampton Virtual School expects, under normal circumstances, for children in care at Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to attend a suitable nursery or other registered Early Years provision. This should take place from the term following their third birthday. Any exceptions to this (e.g. when a child would benefit from more time to develop a secure attachment with their carer) will be discussed at the child’s statutory review.
Thirty hours of free nursery provision is available for all children and young people in care from age 3. This entitlement can be taken at either a maintained, private or independent nursery. Children can access their entitlement from a term after their third birthday. Internal foster carers should contact Wolverhampton’s Fostering Team if they wish to claim their free child care. A designated officer in the Fostering Team will process applications within the appropriate timescales. Carers with independent fostering agencies should contact their agency regarding this, and for further support.
It is recommended that foster carers try to secure a place at more than one nursery unless the chosen nursery can guarantee a place at the time of enquiry. Foster carers should also, where possible, seek a place in a setting with an OFSTED judgement of good or outstanding. This will ensure that the child is receiving the highest quality provision available.
Carers should attend any opportunities offered by the setting, such as parent’s evenings, to discuss their child’s progress. They should also seek opportunities to speak to staff within the setting as to what can be done in the home environment to support the child’s development. The council’s Early Years Team and Virtual School Team can provide further advice and offer training for carers in supporting learning at EYFS.
Where foster carers experience difficulties in finding or securing a place for the child within their care they should speak to their supervising social worker and/or the Virtual School Education Support Officer for EYFS on 01902 556951 who will support in finding a suitable setting.
Each child at EYFS, from the term following their 3rd birthday, will have an Early Years Personal Education Plan (PEP) which will be initiated and managed in the same way as other PEPs on the Eclipse platform. Carers should always attend their child’s EYFS PEP meeting and contribute to the review in the same way as for other PEP meetings.
The requirement for a Personal Education Plan, and allocation of the Pupil Premium, relates only to Wolverhampton children and young people in care from the term following their third birthday. However, while not a firm requirement at age 2, where children aged 2 are attending a registered early years provision, it may be deemed beneficial for them to have a PEP. Carers can discuss this with the education provider and child’s social worker, if they feel it could be beneficial.
It is expected that foster carers will seek to secure an appropriate Early Years education provider for a child within their care upon the child’s third birthday. It is important that the setting (particularly if it is a school-based nursery) is notified that the child is in care as this will ensure priority in most settings when allocating places. This will also enable the VSH to release the Pupil Premium funding for children and young people in care in Early Years (aged 3 upward) to the provider. This is £300 per annum, normally allocated in termly instalments of £100.
Contact: Maggie Evans - Maggie.Evans@wolverhampton.gov.uk is the Virtual School’s Early Years Advisor.