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Early Years Team shortlisted for national award

Posted onPosted on 22nd Feb

Nottinghamshire County Council has been shortlisted for a ‘local government Oscar’ for its innovative work to help children reach their potential before they start school.

The Children’s Centre Services Early Years Team has made the shortlist in the Large Team of the Year category, of the Local Government Chronicle Awards 2024, for its pioneering ‘Supporting parents as first educators’ work.

It follows the successful roll-out of several programmes since the Covid-19 pandemic, led by the council’s Early Years team, to support children meet their expected levels of development from the antenatal period to the age of five.

Coun Tracey Taylor, the council’s cabinet member for Children and Families, says she is delighted the team’s drive to improve the lives of youngsters of pre-school age will be showcased nationally.

She said: “I am thrilled that the success of the Children’s Centre Services Early Years Team is being recognised at a national level, which is testament to the hard work and expertise of everyone involved.

“The team has demonstrated exemplary dedication, innovation, and unwavering commitment to parentship working with parents and supporting children in achieving their full potential.

“Making sure children can progress and develop in a home learning environment before they are old enough to attend school is at the heart of our ‘Supporting parents as first educators’ work and this is a really proud moment.

“Well done to all the dedicated colleagues, partners, parents, and children involved and good luck to the team at the LGC Awards later this year.”

A key element of the work has centred on supporting parents as the child’s first educators, with a specific emphasis on:

  • Developing a home learning environment;
  • Identifying and addressing emerging needs at an early stage;
  • Equipping parents with the necessary skills to help their children thrive academically and socially.

The team has worked with the Peeple, a national charity which supports parents and children to learn together, to design a bespoke Peep (Parents Early Education Partnership) Learning Together programme and ensure every referred family receives the tailored support they need.

Peep training sessions are play-based, with fun activities that parents/carers and their children can do together in addition to supporting learning and relationship-building.

As part of the successful collaborative work with Peeple, three distinct early interventions have been developed for children with emerging needs – Baby Peep, Toddler Peep, and Peep Little Sparkles – and have been rolled out across Nottinghamshire.

Now through careful monitoring and evaluation, early data is showing outstanding progress and growth in children who have participated in these interventions with:

  • 100% of parents who access Baby/Toddler or Peep Little Sparkles reporting an improved knowledge and confidence in how to interact with their child;
  • An average 95% who attended one of the three Peep interventions reporting they had made changes at home to improve the home learning environment;
  • 94% reporting they had changed the way they interact with their child;
  • 85% of parents reading with children (Toddler Peep) most days, compared to 62% before – and 85% of parents reading with children (Baby Peep) most days, in comparison to 35% previously.

Libby MacKenzie and Kathy Wilkins, who are Children’s Centre coordinators and lead on the Early Years workforce development for the service, said: “Nottinghamshire Children’s Centre Services are passionate about the work they do supporting families.

“The roll out of the Peep programmes has enabled staff to help families make small differences that have a huge, positive impact on their child’s foundations for learning.

“The Early Years’ team has been inspirational in their approach to this work, and their enthusiasm and dedication can be evidenced through the changes families have embedded into their everyday lives.”

The LGC Awards are the premier event on the local government calendar, with the 2024 winners announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House in London on Wednesday 12 June.

For more about the Peep (Parents Early Education Partnership) Learning Together programme and how it helps children’s learning, visit

Also, Nottinghamshire’s Families Information Service is available via and is packed with advice and information about childcare and being a parent and support services that are available.