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Early Years Consortia


“I attended my first consortia in November which I enjoyed, and I think it was a bit of a relief to think that other settings have similar issues trying to do  the best we can for our children who need that extra bit of help and support .”   Childcare provider, Liverpool

Liverpool City Council has established an Early Years Childcare Consortia in partnership with the private voluntary and independent childcare sector. This arrangement is intended to ensure providers have access to support arrangements when they have concerns about a child’s learning and development at the earliest opportunity and when a provider has exhausted the resources and expertise within their own provision.

Consortia meetings are an opportunity where practitioners have specific case related discussion and share best practice and models of interventions that have had a positive impact.  This can often be the only additional support that is needed, and can build confidence in professionals and increase capacity in meeting individual needs of children. (See practitioner experience of attending meetings at the bottom of the page)

Where an additional resource/funding are needed, a delegated budget is available to each Consortium and decisions on its use is discussed and agreed by members of each Consortium.

Additional information, advice and support from Education Psychology and SENISS is allocated to each Consortium, based on information about children with additional needs in that area, so that resources will be appropriate to anticipated demand.

Each Consortium is able to use the allocated resources to ensure that individual children are appropriately supported in their learning and development, and where appropriate, to deliver specific training/development opportunities on relevant issues to improve practice.

The key to success for this Consortia arrangement is the contributions and ‘buy in’ from childcare providers. All providers (including childminders) are welcome to attend Consortia meetings, and bring along requests for support as well as their expertise in working with children with additional needs.

Each Consortium is ‘chaired’ by a local childcare provider with support from the Local Authority Early Help SEND Team.  The plan is that the Consortia will eventually be fully managed and co-ordinated by the childcare sector in the future.

There are 8 individual Consortium across the city, and they have been arranged around local Children’s Centre footprint areas, as this allows for a strong relationship to develop between Children’s Centres and local childcare providers, so that Family Link Workers/SEN Disability Link Workers can offer further support to families who have children with additional needs.  

For further information see the links on the right hand side of this page or contact the Early Help SEN Team on 0151 233 0499 email eyc@liverpool.gov.uk

 "Before attending my first Consortia meeting I didn’t know what to expect.  In my head I thought the meetings involved a board of intimidating judges looking at you alone, in a  face to face style situation, and that is far from the truth.

Jane made me feel at ease straight away, and all the other members were people just like me, ready to listen to each other’s applications and work together to come to decisions on how to support different children.

I even got the chance to have my own input and describe situations in detail. Everyone made me feel relaxed and were so friendly, which helped me feel comfortable and confident about talking over our application to the group.

Listening to other people describe children in their settings is really interesting and can be quite emotional. It’s good to learn that other practitioners are coping with problems similar to your own.

We all want what is best for the children in our care, and having the Consortia to go to for support, advice and funding is fantastic. Everything happens immediately, there is no waiting around for people to make decisions.

For others who are unsure and feel dubious about presenting applications, my advice would be to go along to a meeting and see for yourself just what help and support is offered. I will definitely be attending more meetings in future. Natalie O’Neill, Nursery Practitioner, Monkton Nursery School"