How many children aged under three should childminders and nursery staff be allowed to look after at the same time?
A relaxation in the number of pre-school children that nurseries and registered childminders can oversee has been announced in order to professionalise the pre-school workforce and cut the cost of childcare in England.
Parent Champions for Childcare are parents who have positive experience of using childcare and/or supporting their child’s early learning, who act as advocates and peer advisers to other parents in their community.
Daycare Trust has developed this model to reach parents who are missing out on information about childcare and early learning services because they do not know where to find information and are not engaged with local services or networks.
In 2007 DCSF funded Daycare Trust to manage three pilot Parent Champions projects in London to increase awareness of formal childcare. Following the success of the trial projects Daycare Trust was funded by the DCSF to develop a toolkit for local authorities to set up their own Parent Champions schemes. In 2011-13 Daycare Trust received funding from the Department for Education to further develop the Parent Champions for Childcare model with the delivery of six pathfinder schemes and the development of a National Network of Parent Champions schemes across England.
Parent Champions Plus
For 2013-15 further funding from the Department for Education is enabling Family and Childcare Trust (new name of the merged Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute) to continue the development of the National Network of Parent Champions, and a new partnership with Action for Children to pilot a model specifically for children's centres. This pilot will initially be rolled out in six locations in four local authorities, Kirklees, Oldham, Oxford and Sheffield, then in 2014-15 in Hampshire, Northumberland, Leicester, Dudley, Bedfordshire and Cumbria (tbc).
The role of a Parent Champion for Childcare is to engage with parents in their community to offer information and initial support to parents. This involves using different outreach techniques to engage parents, which may include drop-in information sessions, informal workshops in community locations and contact-building at children’s activities such as library reading programmes.
Parent Champions for Childcare can:
Help parents to understand the benefits of quality childcare and early learning for their children.
Encourage parents to participate in early learning activities with their children.
Help parents to find out about and take up formal childcare places for their children.
Encourage parents to participate in local childcare and early learning services e.g. by volunteering to help out at play sessions, becoming a parent representative on their children’s centre advisory board.
Parent Champion pathfinder schemes
The six Parent Champions for Childcare pathfinder schemes (listed below) were delivered for a six month period, with the first starting in September 2011.
Delivery period of pathfinder scheme
September 2011 - March 2012
October 2011 - April 2012
October 2011 - April 2012
October 2011 - May 2012
December 2011 - July 2012
January 2012 - July 2012
Local authorities chose to deliver the scheme themselves or identified local partner organisations to manage the day-to-day delivery of the project. In each area, the local authority/delivery organisation identified target groups for the scheme to reach.
Groups targeted by the pathfinder schemes included:
parents from abroad;
teenage parents; and
parents of disabled children.
Monthly monitoring information about the number of parents contacted by the Parent Champions, referrals to the Family Information Service and parents taking up local services were collected by each pathfinder scheme and shared with Daycare Trust.
Trust for London funded schemes
In 2011-12 Daycare Trust also supported the implementation of two additional Parent Champion schemes, in Greenwich and Westminster, as part of our ‘Childcare for the Capital’s Children’ project, funded by Trust for London.
Parent Champion National Network
In addition to the six pathfinder and two Trust for London funded schemes, Daycare Trust has launched a National Network of Parent Champion schemes. Through this network we offer support and online resources, including template documents and teaching materials to local authorities to set up a Parent Champions scheme.
If you would like to join our National Network of Parent Champion schemes, or to see how we can support you in setting up a new scheme, or improving an existing one, please complete the enquiry form below, or contact Deborah Brodie, Project Manager, Deborah@familyandchildcaretrust.org, 020 7940 7512 (Mon-Thurs) or 020 7940 7510 (switchboard).