Early years

Early years

The Starting Life Well service supports parents and childcare providers in Salford. Choosing quality childcare is an important and personal decision. The childcare arrangement which is right for you depends on your child's needs and your own situation.

Free early education places

Free early education and childcare for two year olds

Your child is entitled to a free early education and childcare place if they have one of the following:

The essential criteria is on our two year funding section, along with an online form to apply for the funding.

Free early education and childcare for three and four year olds

If your child had a place when they were two years old, they will automatically be transferred over to the funding for three and four year olds.

Free childcare is available universally for all three and four year olds living in Salford.

What are the childcare options?

How can I find a childcare provider?

You can search online to find a childcare provider to meet your needs. Or you can contact us online or call 0161 778 0384.

If you need childcare out of the Salford area you can search online via the Childcare and Family Information Services Finder.

Children's centres

There are children's centres across Salford which provides support and activities for children under five years and their families.

How will my child's needs be assessed in the early years?

Early support team

The early support team works with families with disabled children under five years of age. The service is offered to families residing within Salford who have a child under five with a complex need or disability.

If your child has special educational needs which cannot be met in their educational setting, it may be necessary to apply for an education, health and care assessment.

Education, health and care plans will gradually replace statements of special educational needs and learning difficulties assessments.

How can my child's development be supported?

Portage service

The portage service is a home visiting education and support service for families who reside in Salford and have a child with developmental delay, aged from birth and up until they take up their three and four year old funding offer. This is usually the term after their third birthday. The service also provides training and support to other early years practitioners.

Referrals can be made direct by a parent or carer, by telephone or by a professional (with parental consent) by completing a common assessment framework. On receipt of a referral a member of the team will arrange to visit the family to explain about the service and discuss the family's current needs.

Area special educational need coordinators

Area special educational need coordinators can play a vital role in a child’s development, providing an important link between education, social care, health and parents/carers. 

They provide advice and guidance to early year’s providers so that a child with special educational needs is properly supported. They also help children with additional needs to reach their full potential and access early year’s provision chosen by their parents/carers. 

To contact an area special educational needs coordinator, email SLW@salford.gov.uk.

Reviewing my child's progress

When your child is between two and three years of age, and they attend a childcare setting, they will receive a progress check that will look at:

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Communication and language

As part of the progress check, it will also look at any areas where your child needs extra help.

Family Information Service

Salford Starting Life Well Family Information service is a free, confidential and impartial information service for mums, dads, grandparents and carers.

They provide information and guidance on childcare, early years education and related services in Salford for children and young people aged 0 to 19 years (or up to 25 years for disabled children and young people) and offer a brokerage service if there is difficulty in finding suitable childcare services.

The service is part of the Starting Life Well service in children's services and has close links with children's centres, Jobcentre Plus, health visitors and schools. As well as offering information about local Ofsted registered childcare services and availability, they can give extra help if you need childcare for a child with a disability or additional needs.

Get in touch

The Starting Life Well service can be contacted on 0161 778 0384 between 8.30am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday. Outside of these core hours, the service can be contacted using the following channels:

Who to contact

Remember you can contact us quicker, easier, better online.

Contact us online

This page was last updated on 22 March 2017

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