The Early Years and Childcare Service plans and develops services for pre-school age children and childcare for children up to the age of 19.
The Service manages a Children's Centre with a number of linked Children's Centre Sites, a Toy Library, a Childcare Support Team, a Play Development Team and a Family Information Service.
A small team of Childcare Support Officers is responsible for providing advice and support to existing childcare providers and for individuals and organisations that may be interested in setting up childcare provision.
The team is responsible for ensuring the Local Authority fulfils its statutory duties under the 2006 Childcare Act. The main areas of work include:
- Ensuring there is sufficient childcare within Gateshead to meet the needs of parents and carers, where reasonably practicable.
- Maintaining up to date information on childcare provision and activities for children and young people, 0 to 19. Family Information Service Online
- Providing information, advice and guidance to parents/ carers through the Family Information Service.
- Co-ordination of the flexible free nursery entitlement for all 3 and 4 year olds.
- Management of the free nursery entitlement for eligible 2 year olds.
- Providing business support to childcare providers.
- Supporting childcare providers with information relating to Ofsted registration.
- Producing a training directory for childcare providers.