Support for Children Under 5 with SEND: a Guide for Parents

Today's article is a guide explaining the support available to children with possible Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.Today’s article is a guide explaining the support available to children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities. This is often referred to simply as ‘SEND’ or alternatively ‘SEN and disabilities’. Here, we will explore the importance of identifying SEND in children, the benefits of early intervention, and the various avenues available to help children affected. The information in this post should be useful to parents whose children may be impacted by special needs or disabilities and is one small part of our nursery’s serious commitment to supporting such children.

Why Identification Matters

Identifying Special Educational Needs & Disabilities in children is the first crucial first step in being able to help them. Only through identification can timely support and tailored interventions be put in place to help mitigate issues that may otherwise hold children back. It will empower parents, caregivers, early years practitioners and any supporting professionals to understand a child’s unique needs and thereby facilitate the provision of the right kinds of assistance.

The Benefits of Early Identification

The right support will enhance a child's learning experiences, improve their quality of life, and also foster a sense of inclusivity.Early identification of SEND is of crucial importance and offers numerous benefits for children affected. Put simply, it allows support measures to be put in place at the earliest opportunity, thereby minimising any delay in the child’s learning and development progress. Timely interventions can lead to enhancements like better communication skills, increased independence, and vastly improved overall development. Such help will enhance a child’s learning experiences, improve their quality of life, and also foster a sense of inclusivity. Inclusion is incredibly important to children’s mental health and well-being — and avoids them feeling isolated and ‘different’.

How Identification Works

Identifying SEND in children involves close collaboration between parents, caregivers, childcare nursery staff, the setting’s SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), healthcare professionals and, where needed, any specialists. This collaborative effort between parties emphasises the “Assess, Plan, Do, and Review” approach, which is a circular and evolving strategy to identify any areas of concern and ultimately to support the child. For children under five, the EYFS framework for early years settings also incorporates a similar, complementary approach. For children specifically aged two, the official ‘Progress Check at 2‘ will also be a key tool within the assessment and planning stages.

The Tailored Support Plan

A collaborative effort between various parties uses an "Assess, Plan, Do, and Review" approach, culminating in a tailored support plan for the child.The resulting tailored support plan is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual child. Through the ‘review’ element embedded in the approach, such plans evolve over time as their effectiveness is continuously assessed. As adjustments are deemed to be required, they are fine-tuned en route as and whenever necessary. Specialists like speech and language therapists or other professional expertise may also be brought in to provide additional support if appropriate.

Recourse to an EHC Assessment

Should, for whatever reason, the support plan be deemed ineffective, parents, health visitors, healthcare professionals or even family members are also at liberty to request an Education, Health & Care Assessment (‘EHC’). If the application for such an assessment proves successful, it will be organised by the child’s local authority. More information about EHC assessments is available here.

Special Funding from the Local Authority

Special funding and the support of specialist professionals may be available for children with special educational needs and disabilities.Additionally, the child’s local authority may provide special funding through their own ‘Area SENCo’ (Area Special Educational Needs Coordinator). If sanctioned, this funding can be used for tailored support like additional staff, extra learning resources, specialist equipment, or bespoke activities tailored to the child’s specific needs. The Area SENCo also assists with transitioning children from early years settings to school.

The Local Offer

Local authorities publish what’s known as a ‘Local Offer’ on their online information portal. This explains what support is available for young people with special educational needs or disabilities. This resource is designed to help families understand the services and assistance potentially available, for their child, in their local area. By way of example, the local authority for Edgbaston is Birmingham City Council, whose Local Offer portal can be found here.

Childcare Funding for Children with SEND

Eligible children under five with SEND may be able to access additional funding to cover some of the costs associated with childcare.Eligible children under five with SEND may be able to access additional funding to cover some of the costs associated with childcare. This is a significant topic in its own right and, as such, may indeed merit its own separate blog post. We may look at that in due course, so watch this space. However, to give you a flavour, a few examples of childcare funding available specifically to eligible children with SEND include:

  • an upgrade, potentially to £4,000 of childcare support, through the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme for those with disabilities;
  • additional childcare hours for children aged 2 if they are receiving Disability Living Allowance (‘DLA’);
  • additional childcare hours for children aged 2 if they are the subject of an Education, Health & Care (‘EHC’) plan.

Our Commitment

At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we are committed to supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities. Identification of issues, early intervention and collaboration between ourselves, parents, caregivers, and specialists like healthcare professionals, is essential for the well-being and development of children with SEND. Such support can make a hugely positive impact on their lives. With that in mind, we take all measures necessary to facilitate this, in a warm and nurturing environment that promotes inclusive learning for all.

Contact Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Please don’t hesitate to contact us about nursery places for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under five, or to discuss how we can assist your child. With Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, your child will be in good hands. Ofsted rates us as a Good Provider of childcare and early years education and we also support the various Government-funded childcare schemes, making childcare more affordable for eligible families.

To enquire about a nursery/preschool place for your child, arrange a free guided tour, or ask any questions, please contact us through one of the options below.

Leaps and Bounds is a good nursery and preschool in Edgbaston, near Birmingham. For those requiring high-quality childcare for under-fives near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne or Smethwick, we are also conveniently close, so do consider us for your childcare needs if you live or work in any of those nearby locations.

30 Minibeasts for Children to Look Out For (With Free Poster!)

Today’s post is all about this wonderful new minibeasts poster for children to download. It’s free and features 30 small creatures that children, including under-fives, can try to spot when they’re out and about. It’s a great introduction to just some of the thousands of minibeast species found throughout Britain. In a typical year, children should indeed be able to spot many of the minibeasts we show, as they’re mostly quite common. Printing the poster out for them, either as A3 for display or reduced to A4 for them to take on outings, is a great way to encourage them to take an interest in nature and The Great Outdoors. As we’ve said before, spending time around nature is extremely beneficial to children, as is outdoor play, so this is a very worthwhile and beneficial children’s activity. It is fun, interesting, educational, supports the EYFS curriculum, and a whole lot more. Read on to learn how to quickly and easily download the free poster for your child.

Download the Free Minibeasts Poster

Right-click the preview image below or this link and you can then save a high-resolution version of the poster. Once the file is saved, open it in Acrobat Reader to view it on screen and, from there, you will be able to print it out for your child. Some browsers also allow you to view the PDF on screen by left-clicking, however, availability of this option will depend on your device set-up and browser settings.

Preview of the Minibeasts Poster for children. To download it, see instructions above.

About Minibeasts

Although there are differing definitions of minibeasts, think of them simply as small creatures for the purposes of this activity and poster. We’ve featured 30 fairly common minibeasts that we think are most likely to be spotted by children and families. Indeed, many will be present from time to time in people’s gardens if you know where and when to look (that’s perhaps a topic for another separate guide in due course). Examples include beetles, worms, bees, moths, woodlice, ants, millipedes, larvae and many more. Note that we’ve only included one image for each, so be aware that those you or your child spot may not look exactly the same as shown. After all, there are as many as 25,000 species of minibeast in the UK and we couldn’t feature them all! So, take a look at the poster and encourage children to get minibeast-spotting, under suitable supervision of course, when they’re next playing outdoors. It’s a fun, free, and educational activity!

Look, Don’t Touch!

Teach Respect & Empathy for Wildlife

Remember to supervise children, especially the very young, for the sake of their safety and that of the minibeasts too. Each minibeast is an individual, with its own feelings, needs and the right to get on with its life peacefully. With that in mind, remember to teach children to respect all other creatures and to “look but don’t touch”. They’re busy little beings, going about their business, and no doubt do not want to be disturbed or manhandled — they’re very delicate too. Kindness, respect, care and empathy are wonderful lessons to teach children.

A tip is to perhaps get children to give each minibeast they spot a name. For example, Brian for a bee, Sally for a spider, or Wally for a worm. This reinforces the message that each one is an individual in their own right.

Our Forest School Programme at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston

Children at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston also get to benefit from our Forest School programme. With a focus on nature, this gives children under five the chance to learn and benefit from spending time in the natural environment locally. As well as learning about the world around them, it teaches them about other creatures, plants, trees, the seasons, life cycles, food chains and, most importantly, about their own place in the world. Forest School is fun, educational, transformational and incredibly beneficial to children and, for this reason, we also include Forest School resources on-site at the nursery itself. This includes things like seed and plant-growing areas, where children cultivate plants and vegetables.

Your High-Quality Nursery in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Why not consider Leaps & Bounds for your child’s weekday childcare? Rated as a ‘Good Provider’ by Ofsted, we are a nursery and preschool in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, with our own Forest School. Subject, of course, to available spaces, we also accept eligible families that use Government childcare funding schemes. Register for a place, arrange a tour or ask a question and we’ll be happy to help.

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery and Preschool is located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

25 Reasons to Choose Leaps & Bounds Nursery for Your Childcare

In today’s article, we give you 25 reasons why Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery would make an excellent choice for your child’s early education and childcare needs. What’s more, Ofsted independently back up many of them. With that in mind, we’ve included several comments from the Ofsted Inspector, who most recently inspected the setting and released her official report in April 2023. Her comments make good reading and represent useful independent feedback about the setting. What’s clear is that, if you have a baby, toddler or preschooler and live or work around the Edgbaston/Birmingham area, Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery would make an excellent choice for your childcare. Let’s take a look.

1. A ‘Good Provider’ Says Ofsted

Quality of education is good at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery and that’s official! Here’s how Ofsted graded us in their latest report (April ’23):

Overall effectivenessGood
The quality of education
Good
Behaviour and attitudesGood
Personal developmentGood
Leadership and managementGood

We’ll take a closer look at some of these below.

2. Children are Happy at Leaps & Bounds

Ofsted also confirmed that children are happy at Leaps & Bounds, commenting in their latest report that…

“Children settle quickly and are happy as they join their friends in play and learning.”

3. Parents are Happy Too

During her most recent inspection of Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, the Ofsted inspector asked for the opinion of parents. Here’s what she found:

Parents report that they are happy with the nursery.”

4. Open Early until Late

Leaps and Bounds Day Nursery is open from early in the day until late in the afternoon. Opening at 7.30am and closing at 6.15pm means that parents/carers are less likely to have trouble getting to and from their places of work in time to drop off or pick up children.

5. Free Childcare Supported

All Government childcare funding schemes are supported at Leaps & Bounds for eligible families. This includes the free ‘15-hours’ and ‘30-hours’ childcare schemes for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds as well as valid childcare vouchers, tax-free childcare, student childcare schemes and many more (subject to eligibility etc.).

6. Forest School

We run our own Forest School in Edgbaston, Birmingham. As well as being a fun place to be, the outdoors will give children a sense of adventure.Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is pleased to be able to include Forest School sessions for its children as part of our curriculum of educational activities. This allows children to get outdoors in local, natural spaces where they can enjoy and learn from everything that nature has to offer. Nature is incredibly beneficial to children, so this is doubly important. And remember: not all childcare nurseries and early years settings offer Forest School.

7. A Warm, Welcoming & Nurturing Environment

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is a warm, home-from-home environment. Here, every child is welcomed, valued and nurtured as a unique individual. We bring out the very best in each child and, during their time with us, give them all the tools, knowledge and encouragement they need to absolutely thrive. Ofsted recognised this through the following comments from their latest report in April 2023:

“Staff are warm and nurturing. They provide kind words and reassurance to children throughout the day. Regular praise helps children to become confident and motivated to learn.”

8. Free Guided Tours

If you’ve not yet enrolled your child at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, why not take up the offer of a free introductory tour? Bring your child along, so you can see how well they’d fit in. We’ll show you both around and answer any questions, without obligation or pressure. Then, if you decide to enrol your child, we’ll do everything we can to help them settle in.

9. Competitive Pricing

At the time of writing, the cost of half-day sessions is just £35 for an afternoon session, £38 for a morning session and £55 for a full day. That decreases, pro-rata, if your child attends full-time Monday to Friday. For a week it costs £230 — the equivalent of just £46 per day, which is very competitive. Prices are correct at the time of writing (June 2023), but please check our Fees page for the latest figures.

10. Discounts Available

Various potential discounts are available for childcare at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. These include the following:

  • A 10% discount is available if your child already has a sibling at the setting.
  • A 10% discount is available for NHS staff (N.B. valid NHS ID will be required).

11. High-Quality Teaching

Our talented early years practitioners offer high-quality teaching.Our talented early-years practitioners offer high-quality teaching. This is backed up by Ofsted who, in their latest Ofsted report, said, “The quality of teaching is good. Staff are skilled and use children’s interests to challenge what they know and can do … Staff pose questions that help children to begin to problem solve.”

12. A Well-Organised Curriculum

Ofsted recognised our well-organised curriculum and made the following comment in their report:

“The curriculum is well organised. It builds on the experiences children hold and what they need to learn next to be successful.”

They added that staff, “target children’s individual learning so that children make the best possible progress from their starting points. Children gain a range of skills that they practise and build on. This prepares them well for their next stage of learning.”

13. Bespoke Learning and Development for Every Child

A bespoke learning and development plan is developed for every child – after all, each one is unique. A custom plan will bring out the best in them, helping them to achieve personal bests in every area. This is achieved through cooperation between staff, room leaders, each child’s ‘Key Person’ at the setting, parents/carers and any external specialists should their expertise be required (see below).

14. Good Support for Special Needs &/or Disabilities

There is good support for children with special educational or developmental needs at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. Ofsted agrees with this, concluding that…

“Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities receive good support. Staff work with external agencies and parents to provide care and education that is specific to each child’s needs.”

15. A Strong Relationship with Parents

Ofsted’s most recent report backed our strong relationship with parents through comments including, “Staff speak to parents daily and share information about what their children learn and the activities they are involved in.”

They go on to say, “A range of home resources helps parents talk about any changes in their lives, such as the arrival of a new baby, with their children. This strong partnership helps to strengthen children’s emotional well-being and security.” The resources referred to include a smartphone app, which allows our childcare professionals to keep parents up-to-date in real time about what their child has eaten, when they’ve slept at the nursery and what activities they’ve been taking part in during the day. It’s a great way to keep in touch and to ensure all parties involved in the child’s care are on the same page.

16. Great Facilities & Equipment

Leaps & Bounds is purpose-built for childcare and early years learning and development, with a wide variety of equipment, facilities, and resources.The setting at Leaps & Bounds is purpose-built for childcare and early years learning and development. It is extremely well-equipped, both indoors and outdoors, with a wide variety of equipment, facilities and resources to suit babies and children aged up to five. Inside, there are several light and spacious age-specific rooms, along with a separate communal room accessible to all. Outside, there are two well-designed and highly interactive play areas which offer children boundless opportunities for learning through play. Learn more about our facilities here.

17. Separate Areas for Different Ages

Designating separate rooms for each age group really helps children to focus on age-specific play and learning activities. With that in mind, we have separate rooms and resources for babies, including a tranquil sleep area, a separate room for infants aged 14 months to 2 years, another for toddlers aged 2 years to 38 months, and a preschoolers room for children aged 38 months plus.

18. Good Support for Language & Literacy

There is a sharp focus on improving children’s speech at the nursery. Ofsted comments: “New words are introduced and a wealth of books are used to tell stories and provide children with information to support an enjoyment of literacy.”

19. Good Support for Children’s Emotional Well-being

Ofsted made a series of flattering comments about support for children’s emotional well-being at the nursery. These included the following: “Staff provide good support for children’s emotional well-being. Children begin to recognise different emotions and show empathy for others” … “Children build lovely friendships with each other” … and, “Children cooperate well in activities. They learn to take turns and to share with others.”

20. Appreciation of Different Cultures

Children are also encouraged to appreciate different cultures and communities. Ofsted recognised this with the following: “Children develop their understanding of the wider communities as they talk about what happens during Ramadan and Eid” … “Staff introduce [words] in a different language so that children begin to understand the importance and value of people who are the same and who are different.”

21. Fresh, High-Quality Meals & Snacks

Healthy food, snacks and drinks are included in the nursery's fees and special diets are catered for.Food, healthy snacks and drinks are included in the nursery’s fees and special diets are catered for, for example, vegetarian or vegan options. The nursery has a 5-star food hygiene rating and food is freshly prepared by an award-winning early-years catering company. Only the most fresh, locally sourced and nutritious ingredients are used.

22. Extra Classes & Activities

At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, we also offer extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, and physical sessions. An example is Rhythm Time, which is an award-winning music class that helps children develop social skills, confidence, speech, coordination, and creativity. Another is Active Adventurers, where children enhance fundamental movement skills through multi-sport sessions with a focus on motor skills, balance, coordination, and body awareness. More information about our extra-curricular activities is available on our About Us page.

23. Holiday Club During School Holidays

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery also caters for older children during school holidays. The extremely popular ‘Holiday Club’ caters for children aged from 5 to 10 and offers fun and stimulating activities for the children. It costs only £25 per day (8am to 5pm). For a full week (Monday to Friday inclusive) it’s just £120; the equivalent of £24 per day. Prices are correct at the time of writing (June 2023) but check our Fees page for any later updates.

24. Excellent Safeguarding Protocols

As recognised by Ofsted in their latest inspection and report, Leaps & Bounds Nursery has an effective approach to safeguarding. Training and supervision programmes are in place to enable staff to keep children safe while at the nursery and to ensure any concerns are mitigated. The relevant safety checks are all in place too and staff are first-aid trained. CCTV cameras are installed to monitor child safety throughout the nursery, in the reception area and the outdoor areas. Good protocols are in place concerning picking up children, so that only the ‘right’ person can do so. Learn more about our safeguarding commitments, protocols and measures here.

25. Open 51 Weeks of the Year

We’re open all year apart from 1 week between Christmas and New Year and during public holidays.

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.

Childcare Places with a Good Provider in Edgbaston, Birmingham

So, for a good, reliable, welcoming and nurturing nursery/preschool in Edgbaston or Birmingham, do consider Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. To start exploring the possibility of your baby, toddler or preschooler joining our wonderful childcare setting in the near future, please select an option below:

Please note: although we are located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, we may also be conveniently close for families requiring a high-quality nursery or preschool near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

 

40 British Birds for Children to Look Out For — Free A3 Poster Download Included

There’s no better time for little ones to take an active interest in nature than spring, summer and autumn. Not only is nature good for children, but it also teaches them an incredible variety of things about the natural world, the flora and fauna within it, and even about their own place in the world. Nature is healthy, healing, exciting and a huge adventure, especially for the young. With all this in mind, today we publish an A3 poster showing 40 birds that children in Britain can look out for and learn to identify. It’s an activity that will cost them nothing, open their eyes to nature and help them get to know some of the wonderful creatures within it. If they print out and display the poster, they’ll soon get to know the names of birds that they may see out the window, in the garden, in the park/countryside, or even on their way to nursery or school. The poster can also be viewed on electronic devices like tablets, smartphones and computers, all in beautiful detail (try zooming in for a closer view). We suggest children tick off each type of bird as it’s seen and set themselves a challenge to see how many they can spot over the course of the year.

Download the Free British Birds Poster

Right-click the preview image below — or this link — to save the poster to your device before printing it out for your child. Alternatively, left-click either option to view the poster on screen (N.B. availability of this function may depend on your device and browser settings).

40 British Birds for Children to Look Out For — Free Poster Download

The poster shows 40 different birds that are mostly fairly common in Britain from spring onwards. For instance, birds like robins, dunnocks, bluetits, pigeons and blackbirds will probably be spotted in no time at all, even in built-up areas. However, the poster also includes several species that children and adults alike may want to look out for simply because they are more rarely seen. Examples include colourful bullfinches, shy goldcrests and firecrests (the latter is featured in the main picture) as well as birds of prey like sparrowhawks and red kites. The latter can often be seen in the sky on car trips through countryside or even above motorways. It will take an eagle eye, if you excuse the pun, for children to spot some of those more shy birds, but they’re out there in more wild locations like parks and open countryside if children are patient and keenly observant. Some will require patience, in other words, and that’s also another good skill for children to learn. Children generally love the idea of nighttime birds like owls too (we also think they’re fascinating), so we’ve included 3 types of owls even though they may only be seen rarely, perhaps at dusk or in the headlights of the car at night. Children can certainly listen out for owls, though, particularly if they live in areas with countryside, outbuildings and trees in the vicinity.

We may produce additional posters for children in future if this one proves to be popular. For example, we may create a separate waterfowl poster, perhaps one for butterflies and moths, and maybe even one for British snakes and reptiles. So, watch this space!

Other Ways to Identify British Birds

The RSPB also has online tools to help children and adults identify specific types of bird.Our poster only includes 40 popular birds out of potentially hundreds that can be found in the UK. With that in mind, here are several other ways for children to identify wild birds, perhaps with the help of a supervising adult:

Forest School at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston

We run our own Forest School in Edgbaston, Birmingham.As well as being a fun place to be, the outdoors will give children a sense of adventure.Nature is one of our focuses at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston. Children get to enjoy and learn about nature through our Forest School. There, children enjoy time spent in a natural environment where they can explore and learn about the natural world under supervision. We also have our own seed and plant-growing area at the childcare setting, allowing children to grow herbs, plants and vegetables and learn cultivation and nurturing skills.

Nursery & Pre-school Places in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.Are you looking for a good nursery or preschool place in Edgbaston, or near Birmingham? Consider Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery if so. We accept all recognised Government -funded childcare places and would love to show you and your little one around. Please get in touch to register your baby or child for a place, ask questions or arrange a guided visit. Many thanks — we look forward to meeting you!

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, close to Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

Primary School Offer Day - a Guide for Parents

In April each year, parents of 3- and 4-year-olds get to find out which primary school has been offered to their child for the academic year they leave nursery/preschool. Starting school is a huge milestone for both child and parent and many parents will be anxious to secure their first choice. Today, we take a closer look at Primary School Offer Day. We’ll look to see how it works, what the likelihood of securing your first school choice is, and what to do if the school offer is disappointing.

When do Children in England Start School?

Although the compulsory school age in England is no later than the school term following their fifth birthday, most children in England begin Primary School at the start of the academic year following their fourth. That means a September start for most, with those children reaching the age of five during their first school year.

What is Primary School Offer Day?

Primary School Offer Day is the day that parents get to find out which primary school has offered their child a place for the next academic year.

When is Primary School Offer Day?

Primary school offer day normally occurs in England around mid-April (circa the 16th) each year. For 2023, it falls on Monday 17th April. The confirmation is announced by the family’s local council, by letter, email, or both. Some councils also allow parents access to an online admissions portal to view offers, sometimes a little earlier, although it varies from council to council.

How Likely Are You to Get Your First Choice of School?

Figures for 2023 are not available at the time of writing, but figures for 2022 suggest that over 92% of children were offered a place at their family’s first choice of school, and over 98% achieved an offer for one of their top 3 choices.

How Are Offers Decided?

Schools or local councils decide on offers for primary school places. Rules vary around the criteria they use for offers and these can be obtained from your local council. However, as a rule of thumb, the following are usually given priority:

  • Children in care, or who have been in care;
  • Children living close to the primary school in question;
  • Those with a sibling already attending the school;
  • Children with a specific religion if the school is a faith school;
  • Children who are eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium (this is special funding aimed at improving outcomes for disadvantaged children);
  • Children whose parents have worked for 2 years at the chosen school.

It’s worth bearing in mind that some schools are more popular than others, whether that’s because they have better reputations, are in more densely populated areas, or for any other reason. Some primary schools will therefore receive more applications than capacity allows, which will inevitably lead to some disappointed families. In such cases, the types of criteria above will steer the final choices for applicants. For those families that do not get an offer of a place with their first choice, local authorities must make an offer of a place at an alternative school.

Accepting or Declining Offers

Parents, or the child’s carer if applicable, must accept or decline the offer formally, by a specific deadline that will be confirmed with the offer along with details of any next steps.

What if You Don’t Like the Choice You Are Offered?

If you are a parent/carer and are not happy with the school choice being offered to your child, you have two options…

  1. Ask to be put on the waiting list for your preferred primary school choice.
  2. Appeal the decision in the hope that your original first choice becomes available after your case has been presented. An appeal would need to be submitted by contacting the school’s admission authority (find yours here). They would in turn provide an independent appeal panel, whose final decision would be binding on the authority. Learn more about the appeals process for parents here.

In both cases, you are advised to accept your initial offer first, so you have something to fall back on should your attempts to get your child into your preferred school prove unsuccessful. Accepting the original offer will not detrimentally affect an appeal or waiting list application in any way.

We hope that you have found this guide useful for when your child approaches the time to leave nursery or preschool and transition to primary school.

Nursery & Preschool Places in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16If you have a baby, toddler, or child under 5 and are looking for a good nursery/preschool in Edgbaston, or near Birmingham, do get in touch with Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. We’d love to give you and your little one a guided tour and that’s by far the best way to see how well your child will fit in. All Government funded childcare schemes are supported. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of sending your child to Leaps & Bounds, please select an option below to get started and our childcare professionals will be delighted to show you around, answer any questions or indeed progress your application for a nursery/preschool place.

By the way, as well as being close to Edgbaston and Birmingham, we’re also located near families living in Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

Signs of Spring for Little Ones to Discover.

There’s no better time to start spotting the signs of the changing seasons with your children than whilst on the journey to nursery. Spring arrives on the 20th of March* each year in the UK and is a wonderful antidote to the cold winter months and short, dark evenings. It’s a time when you know warmer weather will soon be on its way. Evenings are getting slowly longer too. Best of all, a myriad of little miracles are starting to happen around you, as flowers and shrubs reawaken and plants can be seen shooting up from the ground. Many birds will also return to the UK from their foreign travels around springtime, often having travelled thousands of miles to get back to the UK. So, why not make your child’s journey to and from nursery a bit more exciting — and educational — by encouraging them to spot and identify some of these natural delights. Below are a few plants and creatures for children to keep an eye out for around the end of winter, signalling the welcome start of springtime …

Snowdrops in spring

Snowdrops

Snowdrops flower early in the year and quite literally look like little drops of snow. Like the crocus, which is shown in the main image at the top, snowdrops are one of the very first flowers to bloom in the first part of the year. When you see them first start to shoot and bloom, you and your children can be sure that spring is just around the corner. Soon there will be flowers, buds and shoots everywhere, as spring finally arrives and everything starts to reappear after the cold winter months. Children will be able to spot snowdrops often in small bunches of about 10 or so stems, in gardens, parks and wooded areas. They’re delightful little flowers, perfectly formed to visually appeal to little ones. Teach your child to admire them, but not pick them, as they are poisonous if consumed. In any case, they’ll be there for all to admire when left alone, so that they can grow and flourish. Learn more about snowdrops here.

Springtime daffodils in bloom

Spring Daffodils

There are many different types of daffodil for children to look out for.Daffodils are a classic sign of spring in the UK with their bright, blooming buds breaking through the gloominess of winter. Daffodils begin to grow and flower during the month of February and should be in full bloom throughout March and all the way into May.
On your walk to nursery with your children, perhaps ask them how many different types of daffodils they can see. Many people will be growing them in their gardens and in flower pots on balconies and windowsills. And, of course, many flourish in open countryside along hedgerows and often in shaded woodlands. See if your child can spot yellow, trumpet-like flowers, yellow petals with an orange inner, daffodils with white petals or the tiny daffodils called tête-à-tête. As with snowdrops, be aware that daffodils are poisonous if consumed, so it’s best to teach children not to pick them, which will also allow others to enjoy them as they pass. Where else to see daffodils.

A robin singing in early spring

Birdsong

Winter can be cold, dark and desolate. However, a sure sign that spring is on the way is birdsong. As the mornings get lighter, birdsong starts earlier. This can be made up of robins, blackbirds, wrens and other birds native to the United Kingdom. The beauty of such sounds is often overlooked, so when you first step out of your door on the way to nursery, get your children to stand still for fifteen or twenty seconds to listen to the birds, counting how many they can hear if they are able to. Even better; see if they can gradually work out what type of bird is making each of the sounds. Visiting the RSPB’s interactive birdsong identifier is a fabulous place for children to start learning about this wonder of nature.

A bumblebee on pussy willow

Bees

Bees are incredibly important for pollinating plants across the world. They’re also incredibly cute — especially bumblebees! As spring begins and flowers start to blossom again, the UK sees an increase in the number of bees in gardens and the countryside. This increase continues throughout the summer and autumn. On your walk to nursery throughout spring, you and your little ones may see Tree Bumblebees, which can be easily spotted by their distinct colouring. Whilst a regular garden bumblebee has bright yellow areas, a Tree Bumblebee has a tawny head and upper body, a black lower body, and a white tip/tail.

It’s important to teach little ones that bees are friendly when left in peace (many do not even have stings) and must be protected in order to keep ecosystems functioning and growing. And, of course, they should be protected and nurtured because they’re simply adorable little creatures. Learn more about bees here.

Tadpoles

Frog Spawn & Tadpoles

Frog spawn.If you live near a park with a pond or happen to have one in the back garden, a definite sign of spring arriving is the presence of frog spawn. Initially, this can look like hundreds of little black dots sitting on the surface of the water. If your little one keeps an eye on these over the course of March (under supervision, for safety, of course), they will see these dots gradually turn into tadpoles, which will get bigger and bigger. A fun activity for your children is to get them to look at the frogspawn twice a week, under supervision, and to draw it on a piece of paper. Then, once the tadpoles have turned into frogs, they can look back at their own artwork to see the journey of spawn to fully-fledged frog! Alternatively, if your children aren’t at drawing age, you can take a photo on your phone each week and then compare them together once the tadpoles have grown. It’s a great way for them to learn about nature and life itself.

Pussy willow buds

Budding Trees

A very easy-to-spot sign of spring is buds on trees. Buds are often growing flowers or leaves which will come into bloom across spring and summer. Whilst on your walk to nursery, get your children to look up at any trees that you pass to see if there are any buds on the branches. If there are, a fun challenge could be to check that same tree every week and count how many weeks it takes to bloom. There are some very interesting buds and blooms for children to look out for, for example catkins, which have dangling yellow fronds and pussy willow, which has beautifully soft ‘fur’ on its buds. Indeed, the soft hairs are there to protect and insulate the buds from cold, since they bloom so early in the year. Many people liken the soft pussy willow buds to tiny cats’ paws. Both varieties are sure to delight and fascinate young children!

Yellow catkins

The above signs of spring are just a few that you can spot whilst on your journey to nursery or pre-school. Learning about and appreciating nature are excellent ways of enriching the lives of your children and may spark an interest in wildlife and plants as they grow up. Nature will teach them so much and benefit them in so many ways — educationally, cognitively and spiritually.

Nature & Forest School at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston

We run our own Forest School in Edgbaston, Birmingham.As well as being a fun place to be, the outdoors will give children a sense of adventure.Children learn about and enjoy nature at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. As well as having our own seed, herb, plant and vegetable area for the children to enjoy and learn from, we have our own Forest School in Edgbaston near Birmingham. There, children are able to spend time in natural open spaces like woodlands, where they will learn and benefit from nature in so many ways. As well as being educational, spending time in a natural environment is very good for children, as many studies have shown.

Nursery & Pre-School Places in Edgbaston, near Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Are you looking for a good nursery or pre-school place for your baby, toddler or child under five in Edgbaston or near Birmingham? Get in touch with us, if so, and we’ll be happy to show you and your little one around, so you can see how well they will fit in. We support all Government-funded places, including their ‘free hours’ schemes for eligible children aged 2 to 4. We’re also located near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick, so may be conveniently located if you live or work in any of those places nearby. Please choose a button below to get started:

* Spring starts on 20th March according to the astronomical calendar. There are other definitions of the start of spring, but the astronomical calendar is the most commonly recognised by the general public. In contrast, the meteorological calendar, for example, has the seasons starting on the first of the month in March, June, September and December, rather than 20 or more days in.

Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

A healthy snack, given twice a day, will stave off hunger, provide significant nutritional benefits and sustain energy levels.Toddlers and children have much smaller stomachs than adults and will naturally get hungry between meals. A healthy snack, given twice a day, will therefore stave off feelings of hunger at the same time as providing significant nutritional benefits and sustaining energy levels. So, today, we take a look at some easy and healthy snack ideas for toddlers and young children, plus any considerations around them. Our article may help to give parents and caregivers some guidance and inspiration around the subject of snacks that are both enjoyable and beneficial for the little ones.

Safety Considerations

First, though, some safety considerations should be mentioned. When feeding infants, toddlers and young children, it’s especially important to be mindful of their safety around food, for example in relation to allergens, choking hazards (e.g. due to inappropriate size and shape of food pieces) and eating anything that will be bad for their health or wellbeing. Always seek medical advice if you have any concerns.

Age Matters & Portion Sizes

Portion size is important for under-fives in particular.Portion size is important for under-fives in particular. After all, you don’t want to make portion sizes so big that they put children off. Look out for signs like toddlers ignoring their plate, closing mouths when food is offered or, of course, spitting it out. These are all signs that the toddlers are probably full. It’s better to give smaller portions and then offer more if they clear their plate or otherwise indicate that they’re still hungry.

  • For rice, beans and starchy foods like those, one portion is about the size of the child’s cupped hand.
  • For fish or meat (proteins), one portion is about the size of the palm of the child’s hand.
  • For fruit and cereal, one portion is roughly the size of the child’s fist.
  • An appropriate portion size for one type of vegetables is, in theory, about the size the child’s cupped hand. However, it is not necessary to limit vegetable intake so much as the other food types. Indeed, should the child still be hungry after eating their entire meal or snack, giving them more vegetables rather than anything else is a good, healthy approach.

Only giving age-appropriate foods is also important, so do your research, especially for babies and infants. See our links in the sections following below and always carefully read labels.

A Word About Foods to Avoid Giving Infants

Today’s article is really aimed at the toddler age group. However, for younger children especially, there is a whole list of foods – aside from possible allergens – that it’s best to avoid. Most of them are suggested as foods to avoid because they contain too much salt, added sugar or saturated fats for babies and infants to safely ingest. However, there are also a few others that are best avoided for completely different reasons. We wrote a great guide to all of the foods to avoid in our, “A-Z of Foods to Avoid Giving Your Infant”. That guide is available by clicking the bold green link in this paragraph.

And a Word About Allergens

It’s also important to be vigilant to the possibility of your child being allergic to certain foods, particularly any that they have not tried before. The good news, however, is that we published a whole guide called, “Rough Guide to Food Allergens for Infants”, which can be read by clicking the bold green link in this paragraph. It takes you through symptoms to look out for, the most common food allergens and how to most safely introduce new foods to your little one.

Snacks for Toddlers

The NHS recommends that a toddler has two healthy snacks a day.The NHS recommends that a toddler has two healthy snacks a day. This is easy to accomplish with a bit of planning and, as we said before, toddlers’ stomachs aren’t very big, so we are not talking about large amounts of food. The portion size of the snacks can later grow as your toddler does (see section on portion sizes earlier in this article).

Making each snack look appealing is the key to encouraging your toddler to try them. So, the addition of healthy but tasty dips, combining snacks that have rich colours or even making the food into face shapes and suchlike will help toddlers to engage more readily.

Some Simple but Healthy Snack Ideas for Toddlers:

  • Examples of healthy snacks for toddlers.Muffins or rice cakes with cream cheese used as a spread or dip.
  • Mashed avocado with vegetable sticks or Pita slices. You may sweeten the avocado with a bit of honey¹ if your toddler prefers.
  • Cut fruit, vegetable sticks or Pita slices served with houmous as a dip.
  • Plain (non-flavoured), unsweetened yoghurt with some added fruit pieces, suitably cut.
  • Sliced, hard-boiled egg.
  • Watermelon sticks.
  • A variety of vegetable sticks such as celery, pepper, carrot and/or broccoli.
  • Fruit cocktail with grapes², banana, apple and/or strawberry. If using tinned rather than fresh fruit, ensure the fruit is in its own juice rather than in syrup.
  • Cheese sticks or small cheese cubes can be served with a cracker or Pita breads.
  • Home-made smoothies using, for example, banana, strawberry, raspberry or mango. Use plain, unsweetened yoghurt or milk.
  • Home-made mini sandwiches. These can be cut into small fingers or cubes. You could use fillings such as lean ham, houmous, mashed avocado, cheese (either grated or cream cheese).

1. Never give honey to children under the age of 1 as it contains bacteria that produces toxins in the intestines of babies/infants.
2. Grapes and other foods or pieces of similar shape should be sliced down into quarters so they’re no longer potential choking hazards.

Healthy Snacks at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery

At Leaps & Bounds Nursery, we subscribe to the Startwell guidelines on healthy eating and give children one healthy snack approximately mid-morning and another approximately mid-afternoon. These are healthy snacks too, for example fruit, vegetables or rice cakes. In this way, snacks are nutritious, stave off hunger, and help children to maintain decent levels of energy throughout their day. Children are always supervised around eating, of course, with any allergies catered for and staff being mindful in respect of any potential choking hazards.

Learn more about the Startwell Scheme here and learn more about our approach to healthy eating and encouraging children to be active here.

Nursery Places at Leaps & Bounds, Edgbaston

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16Leaps & Bounds is a nursery and pre-school in Edgbaston, Birmingham. We are also near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick, so may suit families in those locations too. All childcare funding options are supported, including free childcare hours for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds for eligible families (follow that last link for more information and options). Register your child for a nursery or pre-school place today, ask for a guided tour of the nursery or ask us any questions that you may have and we’ll be pleased to help.

Top Tips for Potty Training Toddlers - a Guide for Parents

Potty training requires patience, persistence and a good strategy.Potty training can, for some, be a very long process that may often feel like it will will never end. Don’t forget, though; this is a totally new skill for children, so is bound to take some time. Sometimes, a lack of any fast progress can build to frustration. However, rest assured; progress will come with patience, persistence and a good potty training strategy — and that’s exactly where today’s guide comes in. Here are are our Top Tips for Potty Training Tots.

When is the Best Time to Start Potty Training Your Child?

Knowing exactly when to start potty training can be tricky. Some parents leave potty training until the summer months when the child generally has less clothing on. This can not only save on washing, but also make drying washing easier because the weather is warmer. However, while that may suit the parent, is it the best timing for the little one?

The truth is that each child is ready for the training at a different time, so comparing your little one to other children of their age may only help in terms of a general picture. Each child is individual when it comes to timing, so starting to potty train is also very much an individual thing.

That said, when trying to work out the best time to start potty training your toddler, a few signs may help to identify their own, unique ‘best’ start time. Below, we outline a few indicators that the time may be right.

Signs to Look Out For, in Readiness for Potty Training

A child training its doll on the potty!There are certain things to look out for that might suggest that it’s time to start potty training your little one. For example, try to spot signs that your child is aware of what is in their nappy. Do they show signs of not liking a wet or soiled nappy? Do they show awareness when going to the loo in their nappy? Maybe this involves them going somewhere quiet, perhaps slightly hiding behind furniture, or even making eye contact with you to ‘tell’ you they’re doing something.

Your child may become aware of the words used around going to the toilet — and indeed it’s healthy and useful for them to get to know them. For example, they might be aware that Mummy or Daddy goes in the bathroom for a ‘wee-wee’.

Children are always very keen to copy their friends, so look out for signs that they’re considering having a try, having seen their friends using a potty or trainer toilet seat. Or perhaps they have shown an interest in a potty in the shops. Showing them some when out shopping may allow you to gauge the level of any interest from your child.

Prepare Some Toileting Aids

There is a large variety of toileting aids on the marketThere is a large variety of toileting aids on the market, from potties, to toilet seats, trainer seats that clip on to adult toilet seats, pretend toddler toilets, and a whole range of portable potties for when the family is on the go. You may also consider a step to help your child reach the toilet if using a toilet instead of a potty. This can also be helpful for handwashing.

Some parents also choose for their child to use potty training pants or ‘pulls-ups’ as they are also known. These can be a good stepping stone between a nappy and proper pants/knickers for the child, particularly while the child is still training and may have occasional accidents.

Starting Potty Training

There are some common sense things that parents can do when introducing potty training to infants:

  • Try and remain consistence with your actions, so you don’t confuse your child.
  • Try not to disrupt your child’s other routines when starting potty training.
  • Let family members, carers and friends know your plan of action, so everyone in on the same page and your child gets continuity.
  • When travelling or visiting other houses or locations, make sure you have your child’s potty with you.
  • Talk to your child with words they understand in relation to toileting, introducing the potty etc.
  • Find ways to make the potty a friendly object, not a daunting one.
  • Maybe place the potty in the bathroom and encourage its use when you, yourself, are using the bathroom. You can make this fun.
  • Encourage the washing of hands afterwards.
  • Have some books or small toys next to the potty in case they choose to sit for a longer period than you anticipated. Obviously take care in relation to your child’s hygiene if doing so.
  • When changing your child’s nappy, see if they will just sit on the potty to get used to it.
  • Eating a meal stimulates the bowel, so after a large meal let your child sit on the potty for a while.
  • If your child has a dolly or teddy bear, maybe sit them on the potty and make a game from it. Again, though, watch hygiene if doing so.
  • If your child is a boy, it may be easier to start them off sitting instead of standing.
  • Remember it’s important not to make a fuss if an accident happens. Making a fuss will not help your child warm to the idea of using the potty again, so keep things relaxed and know that accidents do happen. In fact, be prepared for them.

Nighttime

It’s usually best to master daytime potty training before starting on nighttime training. Nighttime training can take a while longer. Some children even sleep so soundly that they simply do not wake in order to go to the toilet at night. For those that do have nighttime accidents, it’s best to be prepared with a waterproof sheet on the bed.

A good sign that your child is ready for nighttime potty training is when they have a dry nappy at night. Try sitting your child on the potty or toilet before they go to bed and then again when they wake up. During the night, make sure the potty is near in case they wake up asking for it.

Tips for Successful Potty Training

  • There are some common sense things that parents can do when introducing potty training to infantsMake sure your child is actually ready — don’t rush it.
  • Choose a good, quiet time to start.
  • Maybe let your child pick their own potty from the shop or Internet.
  • You may need more than one potty e.g. one for upstairs, another downstairs and/or in a specific bathroom.
  • Lead by example — so long as it’s not taboo in your household, let your child see you on the loo.
  • Use reward stickers and a chart.
  • Make potty training fun!
  • Always praise, never tell children off for toilet-related accidents.
  • Have toys and books handy.
  • Boys to sit down when starting.
  • Girls to wipe from front to back.
  • Admire your child’s output and praise them for it!

Age-Related Milestones for Bladder & Bowel Control

The following are very general guidelines only, so don’t worry if your child’s progress is different.

  • Children tend to start to control their bowels before their bladder.
  • By the age of 1 year, most infants will have stopped emptying their bowels at night.
  • By 2 years, some children are dry during the day.
  • By 3 years of age, some children are dry during the day, with only the occasional accident.
  • By 4 years of age, most are dry during the day.
  • It’s important to remember that at the age of 5 or 5 plus, one in five children may still wet the bed.

It’s important to never get cross with your child for the odd accident. The child will be aware of the accident and may be upset by it already.

Childcare Places at Leaps & Bounds Nursery & Pre-School in Edgbaston, Birmingham

A nursery place for your child in Edgbaston, near Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds nursery & pre-school is in Edgbaston, Birmingham B16, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick

Leaps & Bounds Nursery provides weekday childcare for under-fives, which includes some free places for eligible children via Government childcare funding schemes. We are a nursery/pre-school in Edgbaston (B16), near Birmingham and may also suit those near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood and Smethwick. Why not request a guided tour of the nursery to see it for yourself — and bring your little one to see how they fit in! We’re also happy to answer any questions or, when you’re ready, to help you register your child for a place. Get started using a button below:

Top 10 Childcare Funding Schemes – At a Glance

Today, we shine the spotlight on what we believe are the top 10 childcare funding schemes, available in England, for eligible children. Many also apply across the whole UK or at least have similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some of the options are widely available, meaning easy, free funding with no need for families to jump through difficult eligibility barriers. The first two childcare funding options, for example, seem to be by far the easiest to obtain for most families. Others may suit in certain circumstances, for example if you are on benefits, studying as a student, and so on. Take a look …

The Top 10 Childcare Funding Schemes – At a Glance

Tax-free Childcare Scheme

What’s Available:
Up to £2,000 in free childcare funding is available per year, per UK child (£4,000 if the child has a disability). For children up to 11 (16 if disabled).

Eligibility:
Widely available as a parent, and partner if they have one, can each earn up to £100k per annum and still be eligible.

How Funding is Accessed:
Accessed via an online Childcare account. The parent, relative or even friend deposits 80% to fund childcare and the Government tops up the remaining 20%, free.

Click here for more information.

“15 Hours” of Free Childcare for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

What’s Available:
15 hours per week of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (570 hours total) for all 3 & 4-year-olds living in England. Can be spread out in a different way if the childcare setting is flexible.

Eligibility:
Available for all children aged 3 or 4 living in England.

How Funding is Accessed:
Contact your childcare provider or apply via your local council.

Click here for more information.

“30 Hours” of Free Childcare for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

What’s Available:
30 hours per week of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (1140 hours total) for eligible 3 & 4-year-olds living in England. Can be spread out in a different way if the childcare setting is flexible.

Eligibility:
Eligibility depends upon household income; generally speaking, you cannot claim if you or your partner earn £100k or over, or less than £152 per week (that figure is lower if under 23). You can usually claim through this scheme at the same time as claiming Tax-Free Childcare (or Childcare vouchers), or free childcare via Universal Credit. Other rules and exceptions apply.

How Funding is Accessed:
Apply online here.

Click here for more information.

“15 Hours” of Free Childcare for 2-Year-Olds

What’s Available:
15 hours per week of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (570 hours total) for eligible 2-year-olds in England. Can be spread out in a different way if the childcare setting is flexible.

Eligibility:
Only parents receiving certain Government benefits are usually eligible to claim. Exceptions include 2-year-olds if: looked after by local authorities; subject to an ECH plan; in receipt of Disability Living Allowance; they’ve left care under certain types of order. Some non-UK citizens are also eligible in certain circumstances.

How Funding is Accessed:
Contact your childcare provider or apply via your local council.

Click here for more information.

STOP PRESS: See our later article about new childcare funding announced in the Spring Budget 2023, including funding for babies as young as 9 months of age.

Childcare Vouchers (Employer-Supported Childcare)

What’s Available:
Funding for childcare is available through participating employers, for children up to 15 or 16 if disabled. You can use up to £55 per week of your earnings, which will not be subject to National Insurance or income tax. How much you are eligible for depends on earnings and the date you joined the scheme.

Eligibility:
Closed to new applicants but still available to those enrolled before 4 October 2018 if eligible. Cannot be claimed at the same time as Tax-Free Childcare.

How Funding is Accessed:
Accessed via participating employers. Can be funded through a salary sacrifice approach.

Click here for more information.

Tax Credits for Childcare

What’s Available:
If eligible, those already claiming under the Tax Credits system can claim back up to 70% of eligible childcare costs, up to £122.50 each week for 1 child, or up to £210 per week for more than one.

Eligibility:
Closed to new applicants but existing claimants of Tax Credits may still apply. New claimants must claim instead under Universal Credit (see below).

How Funding is Accessed:
For those who are still eligible to claim, the funding is paid direct to their bank or building society account. Follow the link below for more details.

Click here for more information.

Childcare Funding through Universal Credit

What’s Available:
If eligible, you can claim back up to 85% of childcare costs, up to £646.35* per month for one child or £1108.04* each month if you are claiming for more than one.

Eligibility:
You and your partner, if you have one, must have a child under 17, be working and claiming Universal Credit. There are exceptions to the above and other eligibility terms also apply. Not available if you’re already claiming Tax-Free Childcare or Tax Credits. Earnings and savings/investments also affect how much you may receive.

How Funding is Accessed:
You need to claim back* your childcare costs (so pay for them first). You can only go back 3 months, so must keep on top of your claims.

Click here for more information.

* STOP PRESS: See our later article about new childcare funding announced in the Spring Budget 2023, including vastly improved funding through Universal Credit.

Student Childcare Grant

What’s Available:
Up to 85% of your childcare costs are available as a non-repayable grant (max. is £183.75 per week for 1 child or £315.03 per week for two+. Correct for academic year 2022/23). Payable in addition to standard undergraduate student finance.

Eligibility:
Students must be permanent residents in England, studying full-time in higher education and be eligible for undergraduate student finance based on income. They must not in receipt of a postgraduate loan. The childcare grant is for dependent children under 15 (under 17 if they have special needs). Not available if also claiming certain other childcare funding.

How Funding is Accessed:
Apply at the same time as applying for student finance via your Student Finance Account.

Click here for more information.

Learner Support Scheme

What’s Available:
What’s available depends on your specific circumstances. It’s not designed specifically to fund childcare, but can be used for it.

Eligibility:
You must be a a parent over 20, studying in further education up to and including Level 3, and facing financial hardship to be eligible.

How Funding is Accessed:
Apply via your learning provider (e.g. college).

Click here for more information.

Care to Learn Scheme

What’s Available:
Up to £160 (or £175 if living in London) is available per child, per week, for those living in England. The funding can even help to fund a taster period of up to 5 days at the childcare provider and travel to/from the provider.

Eligibility:
You must be the child’s main carer and be under 20 when you begin your course. You must be studying on a publicly-funded course (N.B. not including higher education courses at university) at specific types of education provider e.g. schools, sixth forms and some colleges. Strict rules apply around attendance of both the course and the childcare sessions.

How Funding is Accessed:
For application instructions, click here.

Click here for more information.

Funded Childcare at Leaps & Bounds Nursery & Preschool, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Our Edgbaston nursery & preschool supports all valid childcare funding options

Leaps & Bounds nursery & pre-school is in Edgbaston, Birmingham B16, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.We support all relevant childcare funding schemes for eligible families at Leaps & Bounds nursery and preschool in Edgbaston (B16). We offer the very best weekday childcare in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood and Smethwick. Please get in touch using one of the options below, for example to get started with your childcare enquiry or application. We’ll be happy to show you around, answer questions and help with your funding and nursery/preschool application.

E&OE. Please note that information is given in good faith and, to our knowledge, is correct at time of writing (November 2022). This is only a quick guide, though, so families will need to do their own. more detailed research to check for eligibility etc.

Amazing Deals for Struggling Families!

There’s no doubt that things are getting tough for families right now. However today, in our antidote to inflation, tax increases and the recent cost-of-living crisis, we bring families news of some absolutely brilliant deals, offers and ways that families can save money. What we’re talking about today may improve quality of life a little — even with something as simple as being able to afford a meal out with the kids. We were astounded by some of these discoveries, so we hope they are good news for you too.

Families: this is for you!

A few examples will help to introduce the type of money-saving offers and deals that we’ve unearthed for you in today’s post:

Did You Know?

  • You can eat out for just £1 per meal if you know where to go!
  • You can eat at home all week for just £1 per meal if you know the right recipe and supplier!
  • One famous food retailer offers interest-free shopping loans for struggling families!
  • There are lots of different Government schemes that give eligible families free childcare!

It’s amazing what’s available if you know where to look, and that’s exactly what we tell you today. We hope you find it useful.

Feeling the Pinch? Check Out The Great Deals & Offers We’ve Discovered!

Kids Under 16? Treat them to a Café Meal for just £1 Each — or Even Less!

Many of the large supermarkets are doing their bit to help struggling families, and Asda is one such example that caught our eye. They launched a £1 café offer called Kids Eat for £1 during the summer holidays and this has now been extended to the end of 2022. This seemed like a bargain to us. A list of participating ASDA cafés can be found here.

Morrison’s have a comparable deal where children under 16 can eat totally free of charge at a Morrison’s in-store café when the accompanying adult is having an adult meal costing £4.99 or more. Learn more about kids eating free at Morrison’s Cafés here. By the way, the same page also describes how Morrison’s have reduced the pricing of over half their hot food menu in their in-store cafés. It all helps!

Grandparents - Over 60s Can Eat & Drink Out for Just £1

Asda have also launched a Winter Warmers campaign aimed to help their older customers who visit their in-store cafés. Those 60 and above can enjoy soup and a roll plus unlimited cuppas for just £1 during November and December 2022. That’s a great opportunity for grandparents who are looking after little ones, although applies with or without children accompanying! Learn more about the Winter Warmers campaign for over-60s here.

Cheap But Tasty Meals at Home

Some of the supermarkets are making it easier for families to eat inexpensively at home. Sainsbury’s, for example, are currently publicising a range of recipes that will feed a family of four for no more than a fiver — that’s just £1.25 per meal. They list step-by-step instructions, list ingredients and even make it dead simple to add them to your online shopping cart. Check out some of their affordable meal suggestions here.

The BBC Food website also has a large selection of budget recipes for you to try. It’s a fantastic resource and they have gone to considerable effort to suit all tastes, including meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes. There are lots of recipes to make for just £1 per portion and ways to plan a week’s worth of meals for just £1 each. The page also gives advice on thrifty store cupboard ingredients, using air fryers and slow cookers,  and how to make food products last longer. Check out their website for some genuinely good ideas and inspiration for inexpensive eating at home.

Hot Deals on Frozen Food — Including an Interest-Free Loan!

It’s common knowledge that frozen food can work out cheaper and the retail chain Iceland are at the forefront of that niche in the UK. They are also very attuned to struggling families at the moment and so are offering several great ways to save money and make family food more affordable. For example, they have launched a major initiative called ‘Doing it Right’ and this includes a whole raft of beneficial offerings for struggling families. Many products can purchased for £1 in a ‘price freeze’, for example. It also includes discounts of over 60s on Tuesdays, money-saving 7-Day Deals, an exclusive Bonus Card scheme to save money on your favourite products and much more. A synopsis of all the main offers is available here.

A notable and innovative service was also introduced by Iceland in August 2022 to help families struggling to afford food (often those who relied on food banks and even loan shark loans). ‘The Iceland Food Club’ allows families to spread the cost of food through micro-loans between £25 and £100, using a pre-loaded card that allows them to spend the interest-free loan at Iceland food stores. Repayment is made at £10 per week and, as we say, the loan is interest-free. Well done Iceland! Learn more about the scheme here.

N.B. this information is given in good faith and does not constitute financial advice. Readers will need to do their own research.

Accumulate £££s to Redeem Against Your Shopping Bill

By the way, Asda also offers a “Rewards” scheme where you accumulate pounds (not points!) when you shop there. When accumulated, these can be redeemed against your shopping, thereby reducing your bill in a really tangible way. We know people who use this scheme and it seems to be a decent one so far as we can tell. Check out the Asda Rewards scheme here.

Save Money on Energy Costs

Octopus Energy has doubled its OctoAssist Fund, for customers struggling with their bills. They are offering help via direct financial support, standing charge waivers and energy saving support. Check out if you are eligible for any help and read their saver suggestions here.

Meanwhile, Utilita have teamed up with Iceland to help you Shop Smart and Cook Savvy, explaining ways to save you money. This includes advice on ways to reduce your energy bill through use, for example, of air fryers and energy-saving measures. (Click the bold links for more information). Via their app “My Utilita” you can also take control of your energy use, use pay-as-you-go and apply for emergency credit. Learn more here.

Baby Banks — Free Stuff for Families

Don’t forget to check out our Baby Banks post from May 2022 too (see the link below). There, we explained how struggling parents can get a huge variety of free things for their babies and children. Everything from baby food and nappies to high chairs and buggies is available, totally free of charge. Indeed, Baby Banks are a complete godsend for many struggling families. They’re also somewhere you can donate your pre-loved items that you’ve finished with, to help another family. Learn more about Baby Banks, including some near Edgbaston and Birmingham, here.

Childcare Funding Help

Childcare funding is an option we can help with directly at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. Subject to eligibility, we support all the key Government schemes for free childcare funding including free childcare for 2-year-olds, free childcare funding for 3 & 4-year-olds, student childcare grants, tax-free childcare, childcare vouchers & more. Feel free to ask our staff for advice on any of these and we’ll be happy to help. If you are outside our area (Edgbaston, Birmingham), the bold links to free childcare funding articles may still be useful to give you an overview of the schemes, so please feel free to click through, bookmark and share.

A Funded Childcare Place for Your Child at Leaps & Bounds Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds nursery & pre-school is in Edgbaston, Birmingham B16, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted. Please get in touch with us if you are eligible for any of the free childcare funding options and require a nursery or pre-school place for your child at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. We are a high quality nursery and pre-school in Edgbaston, Birmingham, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood and Smethwick. Please choose one of the options below to register for a nursery place, book a guided tour or ask a question. We look forward to hearing from you.

IMPORTANT: The above seemed amazing to us, but please ensure you check the websites and suppliers direct, as some things are time-limited and/or may be subject to change. Also, we have no affiliation with, or control over, the 3rd party offerings mentioned. As such, we cannot guarantee the details but, to the best of our knowledge, we believe they were correct at time of writing (Nov 2022).