School-childminder partnerships case studies

As part of the Department for Education’s Voluntary and Community Sector grant programme, Action for Children developed sustainable cross-sector partnerships and implemented and embedded partnership working across the sector with a particular focus on school/childminder partnerships. They compiled a series of case studies highlighting successful partnership work that has been carried out across the country.

Hub Around the Park: Storypark
Redhill Primary School
Northumberland Church of England Academy
Hub Co-ordinator role
Honeybees Herefordshire
Dunnington P.O.P.P.E.Y: York
Childminder perspective

Early learning and childcare partnership hubs

Action for Children’s ‘Early Learning and Childcare Partnership Hubs’ brought together provision in a local area to support the rollout of the 30 hours through a partnership approach offering flexible quality early education. The project was funded until March 2018 by the DfE and had the following aims:

  • To establish sustainable partnerships between childminders and schools, contributing to the successful flexible and high quality delivery of the 30 hours policy by March 2018.
  • To implement and embed partnership working across the sector with a particular focus on school/childminder partnerships.
  • To increase recognition of childminders by schools as professional early years partners.

Each Hub was a Good or Outstanding school, children’s centre or PVI setting that worked with at least eight settings including childminders to develop an action plan that:

  • improves the quality of provision;
  • supports the provision of new childcare places focussing on funded two year olds where this is seen as a gap; and
  • supports parents with their working patterns by offering blended childcare and early education

Please be aware of GDPR rules around data collection and information sharing when using any of the documentation from this page and the toolkits.


What Works Well for Partnerships
This resource is a celebration of all the good work that has been carried out across the country around partnerships.

Videos from Partnership Working Events
In 2017, Action for Children ran two national partnership working events in York and London. These events focused on effective and innovative ways of working in partnership to deliver quality across the EYFS and the 30 hours offer. These events were filmed and can be viewed by clicking on the link above.

Action plan for hubs
Childcare provider information sheet
Flier for recruitment of providers
Key questions for operating a hub
Poster for parents
Poster for recruitment of providers
Sign-up sheet


Background information
Childcare Hubs are a solution to the limited availability of high quality and flexibility of childcare and early education that many parents face. They consist of a variety of early years settings all working together in a local area to achieve the same goals.

Benefits of becoming a hub
The Hubs bring together different kinds of childcare for children 0 – 11 in one local area to offer a blended range of options for parents that are flexible, co-ordinated and high quality in a ‘community childcare and early learning hub’. They offer a one stop shop of information for parents to find out about and access childcare that meets their requirements.

Journey to becoming a hub
The experience of existing Hubs indicates the most successful way of recruiting providers was with a proactive, personal approach i.e. visiting providers individually to create relationships before asking them attend a group meeting.

Case Studies

The DragonFishers Hub is a partnership of four childcare providers in York city. The Hub comprises three early years settings– a breakfast, day and afterschool provider attached to Fishergate Primary School. Watch the video here.

The Hub is based within Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Newham and reaches out to a growing network of providers which currently includes 7 early years’ settings, 7 local primary schools and a network of more than 20 childminders.

Wooler is located in rural Northumberland. The Hub’s catchment area encompasses a 10 mile radius of Wooler and members include primary schools, a children’s centre, a playgroup and two childminders.

Blended Childcare
Every Early Learning and Community Childcare Hub must support parents with their working patterns by offering blended childcare and early education.

All Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs must support parents with their working patterns by offering blended childcare and early education. Engaging childminders is a crucial part of achieving this goal.

Data sharing
Sharing and making effective use of data to improve outcomes for children is a crucial factor in achieving one of the three key goals of an Early Learning and Community Childcare Hub: improving the quality of provision.

Funded 2 year olds
Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs aim to support the provision of new childcare places, with a particular focus on finding places for disadvantaged two-year-olds who are eligible for government-funded early education.

Strong leadership, practical support and a clear vision are vital to the development of Hubs.

Partnership working
In order to achieve their three main goals, Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs must form partnerships with at least eight early years providers.

Supporting PVIs
PVI settings play a vital role in delivering the three main goals of every Early Learning and Community Childcare Hub.

Teaching Schools
National Teaching Schools are outstanding-rated schools that work with others to provide high-quality training and development to new and experienced school staff. Teaching schools must provide evidence of successful partnership working, and Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs can be a good way to connect them to other providers, particularly in the PVI sector.

A focus on the transition of children from home to an early years setting, or from the setting to a reception class, can help a Hub meet the key goal of improving the quality of provision. Supporting children through the transition helps to identify and tackle school readiness issues, as well as working to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Web-based Support
The City of York Strategic Hub is taking an innovative approach to meeting the goals of Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs, through the development of an information widget, a standalone application that can be embedded in third party websites. Information about local demand and possible gaps is a vital tool when it comes to influencing the development of the childcare market.

Good Practice
Contact partnered with 4Children on the Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs programme. In 2015/16 they delivered bespoke SEND training to the Hubs. This case study summarises learning from hubs that have a SEND focus.

Opportunities & Challenges for 30hrs
Research shows that 40 per cent of families with disabled children say they are not accessing the full 15 hours of early education a week. So what does this mean for the extended offer for working families to 30 hours.

Perspective from Contact
Feedback and themes from the training sessions that Contact ran with 4Children on the Early Learning and Community Childcare Hubs programme.

What good looks like for parents
This case study is written by Stacey Lewis, mum to daughter May, who was born with severe brain damage. She writes here about what good quality early learning and childcare means to her. She hopes her experiences will help the Hub improve their practice for other children with SEND.

Perspective from parents on the hubs model
Contact ran two focus groups for parents with young disabled children between January and February 2016 to inform the production of the practice case studies. They asked parents to give their perspective on the aims and objectives of the Hub model.

SEN resources for Hubs

Guide for working with parents of children with SEND
This guide aims to support all early years practitioners to reflect on how they work in partnership with parents of children with SEND. It also aims to offer practitioners suggestions about how to prepare for and have those all-important initial conversations with parents regarding concerns about their individual child’s development.

How Contact can help
Free resources, including guides, leaflets and other Contact a Family publications on supporting families with disabled children.

Reaching out to families with disabled children
Families with disabled children might not want to use your hub due to a number of reasons. Here are some practical ideas on how to attract such families.

SEND information checklist for hubs
Contact has developed this checklist to help community childcare hubs review how they support families who have children with additional needs, disabilities or health conditions to find information on local provision.

Top tips
Top tips for parents and professionals.

SEND reforms
What do the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms mean for hubs.