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Early Years Data Solutions for Local Authorities

Early Years Data Solutions for Local Authorities

Managing Nursery Education Funding and eligibility

Improving outcomes by collecting and sharing assessment data online

Delivering benefits for local authorities, providers, children and parents

Sentinel’s Early Years solutions support local authorities in two key areas: managing Nursery Education Funding and collecting assessment data.

Our systems collect information from early years providers via a secure online portal that enables data to be supplied to the local authority quickly and easily.

Increasing efficiency, visibility and control in a wide range of areas, our Early Years data solutions help providers and administrators meet statutory reporting requirements and identify issues, empowering them to improve outcomes by responding sooner.

The platform is flexible, enabling authorities to integrate and share information with any existing system. It can also be tailored to meet a local authority’s evolving requirements and data-sharing needs.

Nursery Education Funding (NEF) / Early Education Entitlement (EEE)

Sentinel provides a comprehensive solution for managing termly or monthly funding for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, including eligibility checks for Free School Meals (FSM) and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP).

Flexible data-capture forms support solutions for both the provider-centred model and the more recent DfE-led approach whereby parents input key information. The latter enables parents to register children and to find and book available nursery places. Instant feedback is provided on their entitlement to funding.

After data is submitted, the system calculates funding payments based on age and funding parameters that are controlled and adjusted by local authority teams. Integrating with existing finance systems, it sends early years payments and accounts statements online via each provider’s individual portal.

The breadth, detail and accuracy of the data held by the Hub also allows reports to be generated quickly and easily, including all Sufficiency Data and the collection, validation and submission of Early Years Census to DfE.

SENIF funding streams now integrated

Sentinel's early years funding portal now integrates the SENIF funding stream. This allows the SENIF team to allocate child or provider level payments, manage their own budgets, and enables providers to receive SENIF payments as part of their general monthly funding payments.

The additional functionality has already gone live at the London Borough of Bromley, for whom the portal has transformed the Early Years team's approach and helped to deliver accurate monthly payments, which are all based on actual child placements. 

Assessment Data Collection - Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Every Child a Talker (ECaT)

This solution enables providers to record and share assessments for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Every Child a Talker (ECaT).

It can also store and share information with council’s children's centres, include provider staff qualifications, and integrate with NHS health assessment (ASQ-3) data.

The result is a single view of pre-school children across an entire local authority area, with aggregated data for single and multiple settings visible to advisers and children centre managers via specially designed dashboards.

Offering an effective means of monitoring progress and increasing school readiness, the system enhances both local authorities’ and providers’ understanding, leading to improved provider performance and improved outcomes for children.

Our software accommodates the EYFS framework reforms that take effect from September 2021.

Examples of our Early Years data projects

EYFS assessment data - Cambs County Council

Features and benefits

  • Data entered directly by parents and providers removes the need for time-consuming paperwork and helping to overcome inconsistent, poor quality data. Controlled data entry windows can be set to ensure local authorities get the information they need, when they need it.
  • Automatic notifications highlight anomalies such as ineligible children, children who are exceeding funded hours, or where a child's assessment data is a potential cause for concern.
  • Dashboards summarise the overall status of a setting or of a child across multiple providers.
  • Reporting at the click of a button and fast access to data required by the DfE for the annual Early Years Census.
  • Tracking child development with a host of features, including integrated statistical functions, to view EY development and easily identify those who aren’t progressing in line with expectations.
  • Comprehensive security and data governance features include easy-to-set permission/access levels.

For more information

Sentinel Brochure