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Southampton Early Years and Childcare Service


Southampton Early Years and Childcare Service

There is a proven track record of effective partnership working between the Early Years & Childcare Service and schools, Children’s Centres and the providers that operate throughout the City of Southampton. Working collaboratively, the service has been instrumental in raising the quality of provision and improving outcomes for all children.

The Early Years and Childcare Service has developed an excellent understanding of all aspects of early years and childcare, aligned with up to date knowledge of current legislation and best practice. It provides targeted support and challenge to providers to ensure they are working to improve outcomes and to reduce inequalities for children; this contributes to ensuring the optimum development of the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The Early Years and Childcare Service, which is part of the wider Education Service, supports the development of sufficient good quality, affordable and flexible provision for young children within Southampton, as identified within Southampton’s ‘Childcare Sufficiency Assessment’.

The service also acts as a ‘market facilitator’ to support any actual and expected increase in the number and quality of early years placements needed to ensure the delivery of the statutory requirement to provide 15 hours a week of early education for disadvantaged 2 year olds and up to 30 hours a week of early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, as well as childcare for children of all ages.

The service also delivers a wide range of continuous development opportunities for early years and childcare providers linked to individual providers’ needs, local and national initiatives and other identified areas for development.  Up to date information on provision across the city is maintained, and the service is able to act as brokers for parents looking for childcare and support.

Our service offer contains an outline of what is available from the Early Years’ Service. Many services continue to be offered at no charge, but in addition there is the opportunity to purchase enhanced support in the form of a range of services.

We look forward to continuing to work with you, making sure that together we secure the best outcomes for all children in Southampton.

The Early Years and Childcare Service is based at:

Startpoint Sholing, Wood Close, Sholing, Southampton, SO19 0SG

Early Years and Childcare Team Manager: Darrin Hunter
Telephone   023 8083 2112

Assistant Team Manager: Karen Grove

Meet the Teams

The Early Years and Childcare Development Team

Main areas of work:  This team has lead responsibility for securing early years’ and childcare sufficiency in response to parental demand and national initiatives.  It acts as ‘market facilitator’ to ensure early years and childcare places are flexible, accessible and of sufficient good quality. The team is also responsible for ongoing needs assessments, gaps analysis, community profiles and priority development plans/maps. The team provides a wide range of support activities and interventions that are delivered through a coaching/mentoring and empowering ethos that enables early years’ and childcare providers’ own governance/leadership and staff teams to move forward with self-reliance, enabling the leadership team to be robust with regulatory and financial sustainability.   This team also oversees the Healthy Early Years Award.

Early Years and Childcare Development Team Lead: Darrin Hunter

Telephone   023 8083 2112

Assistant Team Manager: Karen Grove

Project Manager: Debra Cook

Early Years and Childcare Development workers:

Rachel Watson

Jane Wincott

Nimesh Visavadia

Belinda Cone

Angela Elliott

Telephone:  023 8083 3014

Southampton Family Information Service - FIS

Main areas of work: This team provides information on childcare and early years' education in Southampton and information for parents on activities and support services. They also act as brokers for parents/professionals needing support in finding childcare or early education.

The team also updates much of the content in the Families section on SID including information for providers, parents & carers and professionals.

Telephone:  023 8083 3014

Early Years Funding Team

Main areas of work: The funding team are responsible for distributing Nursery Education funding to all Early Years providers in Southampton as well as carrying out audits of Nursery Education Funding, to ensure public funding is being used most effectively to support children’


Tel: 023 8083 3014


Early Years Advisory Teachers/Area SENDCos

Main areas of work:  This team is part of the school effectiveness team and works alongside the Development Workers to support, advise and train Early Years Foundation Stage providers. As Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinators (Area SENDCo's), their role incorporates supporting Early Years and Childcare providers to meet the needs of the children they work with.  This is a tiered offer incorporating SEND surgeries and setting visits.  This team delivers bespoke whole-setting input as well as generic training opportunities on a wide range of areas, including attachment, observation, assessment and planning, role of the SENDCo, promoting positive behaviour and supporting one to one practitioners.  The team also work alongside School Improvement Officers supporting in schools for Annual visits, training and coaching.

Administrator: Sally Griggs

Telephone:  023 80 915797

ECaT (Every Child a Talker)

Speech, language and communication programme which is working to raise children’s achievement in early language & early literacy, improve practitioner’s skills and knowledge and increase parental understanding and involvement in children’s language development, through regular training & support.

Early Language Consultant/Speech & Language Therapist: Sarah Steedman, Telephone 07827 872341


ELG (Early Learning Group) Early Years Speech and Language Advisory Service

Main areas of work: This team delivers intervention for children who have been identified as requiring specialist speech and language support. The teacher and one of the Speech and Language Therapists each visit the child’s Early Years setting once a week to work with individual children to develop their speech, language and communication skills. They also offer support and advice for parents and Early Years Foundation Stage providers.

Specialist Teacher for Early Years Speech, Language & Communication Needs: Michelle Ellis

Speech & Language Therapists: Annmarie Robinson and Phoebe Holmes

Tel: StartPoint Sholing 023 80363309


The Language Intervention Team (SALSA Outreach)

Main Areas of Work: The Language Intervention Team (SALSA Outreach) consists of experienced and specifically trained Speech & Language Schools Assistants (SALSAs) . The team offers screening/assessment, interventions and staff training to maximise the progress of children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and to support schools in drawing out the full potential of their students’ abilities. We recognise the growing need to support core educational concerns including behaviour and literacy, and have developed our services to acknowledge the impact of SLCN within the classroom. Programmes and interventions specifically target language for learning, helping to bridge the gap between verbal and written skills.

All Southampton schools are able to subscribe to the SALSA Outreach – Language Intervention Team. Please contact Helen O’Donovan for more information.

Email: helen.o'

Helen O'Donovan, Lead SALSA

Mobile: 07780 077747

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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this directory, we do not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors that have occurred. It is recommended that you always check with providers that their service or organisation meets your requirements. We offer an impartial service and we cannot recommend or endorse any providers listed.

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