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Early Start and Families

Early Start and Families (formerly Early Childhood Service) is a Barnsley Council Service that supports children and young people, including those with disabilities and complex health needs.   Our core services include:

  • 18 Family Centres in the form of 5 Main Sites, 5 Linked Sites and 8 Outreach Venues.
  • Support for up to 350 Barnsley childcare settings, including: childminders, day nurseries,  early years in schools, play groups and out of school/holiday clubs. 
  • A quality improvement scheme to help improve/maintain a high standard of care.  Barnsley is currently above the national average for ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ Ofsted inspections (the highest possible grades) in childcare early years settings.. 
  • Training to childcare settings and ‘Short Break’ providers
  • Business start up advice for anyone wishing to set up a day nursery, play group or out of school/holiday club
  • Support on ‘How to become a childminder’.  This includes awareness sessions, followed with ‘how to run your childminding business’ with a comprehensive pre-registration course to become Ofsted registered.
  • Families Information Service – advice and guidance or signposting to families and young people to a range of services locally or, if appropriate, signposting to national organisations.
  • Producing childcare newsletters for childcare settings and Short Break Newsletters for parents and anyone with an interest in supporting families.


Who to contact

Early Stary & Family Services

Where to go

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Early Childhood Services
PO Box 679
S70 9JE

Local Offer


Early Childhood Services offers support to ensure every child’s individual needs are met in Barnsley childcare settings.  With regard to the Local Offer, this includes:

  • Family Information and Involvement Officer for Disabled Children and Young People – see separate entry for more details or contact Amy Haylett on free phone  0800 0345340
  • Short Breaks in Childcare settings, including Children’s Centres.  See separate entry on Short Breaks
  • Childcare Development Officer dedicated to supporting childcare settings to meet the needs of children with disabilities and complex health needs, including: organising specialist training, assisting with action plans, risk assessments, working with parents.  Parents can ask their childcare setting how they are using the toolkit ‘Supporting Children with Individual Needs’ which is a toolkit developed by our service with input from a range of relevant organisations.
  • Specific training under the ‘Passport to Inclusion Training’ programme. Between April 2011- March 2014, Early Childhood Services offered 76 courses aimed at improving knowledge, skills and understanding of disabilities and inclusion.
  • DCATCH – a grant that childcare settings can access to provide additional support or resources for children with additional needs.
  • Childcare brokerage  for two year olds who are eligible for 570 hours of free childcare/early education if they attract Disability Living Allowance, have a current statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care Plan.  Contact 0800 0345340  for full details
  • Inclusion Resources Grant for Two Year Olds – this was granted to the highest (Good and Outstanding) Ofsted grade childcare settings/childminders to ensure that they had relevant resources   to take the free entitlement two year old places for children with disabilities from September 2014.
  • Aiming High Newsletter – produced 3 times per year, with latest news on services, government policy, stories from Barnsley young people, parents or agencies that support families. 
  • Initiatives to support settings, such as WELLCOMM speech and language toolkit or THRIVE to support children’s emotional wellbeing, including understanding and addressing behaviour issues.
Contact Telephone
0800 0345 340

Non educational providers Local Offer Response

What outcomes does your service aim to achieve for children and young people with special educational needs and disability and their families?

We aim to support childcare and early years settings to be inclusive and meet children’s individual needs.   We aim to ensure that settings involve parents in this journey and keep them fully informed.  Parents and childcare settings will work in partnership to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people and we recognise that parents are the first and foremost educators in young people’s lives.

How accessible is the service and facilities for those with a disability

Each individual childcare setting and childminder has been asked to complete their own individual record so parents can see how accessible the provision is for children with disabilities.  Please note that Early Childhood Services has issued government grants in the past 10 years to ensure that childcare settings are accessible

Future developments

 During 2014-15, Early Childhood Services aims to:

  • Review the Toolkit ‘Supporting Children with Individual Needs’
  • Roll out SENCO training for childminders
  • Launch phase 2 of the Childcare Inclusion Grant to Good and Outstanding Ofsted Childcare Settings.  This will enable them  to purchase resources to meet the needs of two year old children  with disabilities who wish to access their 570 hours per year free early education entitlement
  • Involve young people in producing the ‘Aiming High’ newsletter
Governing body


Last updated on 17/06/2021
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