Early Years Data Solutions for Local Authorities

Managing Nursery Education Funding and eligibility

Improving outcomes by collecting and sharing assessment data online

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Delivering benefits for local authorities, providers, children and parents

Our Early Years Solution supports 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, our Early Years data solutions help providers and administrators meet statutory reporting requirements and identify issues; empowering organisations to improve outcomes by responding sooner and more efficiently.

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

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Early Years Funding Portal

On-line Early Years Funding Portal for Local Authorities, their Education Providers and Parents

Sentinel Early Years Funding Portal flyer

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. 

When beginning our search for an early years solutions partner, we realised that what we wanted ultimately wasn't available off the shelf, prompting us to choose Sentinel. We saw it as a solution with potential for development, allowing the core package to be tailored to our specific needs.

The solution we have is bespoke; we can set up online contracts for any individual child, and the system generates the payment. This capability is complemented by the system's ability to determine a child's eligibility within a second. Moreover, the solution has made our process much smarter, enabling us to go completely paper-free. The system's flexibility ensures that most eventualities can be taken into consideration. This flexibility has also empowered us to manage borough operations on a day-to-day basis, rather than waiting for the census. Additionally, it has positioned us as one of the few local authorities paying our providers monthly based on actuals. Overall, Sentinel has given us the opportunity to be more child focused.

For providers, the solution has reduced bureaucracy and streamlined the payment process. Providers can see monthly exactly how much money they have coming in and what they are being paid for each child. They have access to a lot more information at their fingertips.

The Sentinel team knows the system inside out. They can turn queries around very quickly, and they are working well with us on the recent expansion of the new DfE funding streams.

London Borough of Bromley
Early Years Solution

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 Early Years Foundation Stage framework reforms that take effect from September 2021.

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Early Years Child Assessment

On-line data collection portal for Early Years Education Providers to record and share Child Assessments

Sentinel Early Years Child Assessment flyer

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
  • Compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

Transform data use in your organisation

Book your free data assessment today, and find out how much of an impact Sentinel's Master Data Management tools can have on your business.

  • Strict control and monitoring of data quality
    and completeness
  • Built using the ICO's "data protection by design"
  • Trusted by public sector organisations and local authorities
  • Experienced, dedicated team of data integration and data sharing specialists

Take the hassle out of data management. Call us on +44(0)800 612 2116 or email us [email protected].