Early Years Team

The Early Years team consists of experienced and dedicated officers who are highly qualified and experienced in all aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage and play work. The team have extensive experience of supporting settings and schools to improve outcomes and achievement for children in Early Years.

Our service is partly funded through DSG and LA and provides traded annual service packages and support programmes to settings, childminders and out of school and holiday club providers – private, independent and school-run.

What we do

The Early Years Team support all registered early years providers to develop high quality, inclusive and sustainable early education and childcare places which meet the needs of families in Somerset.

The Early Years Team aims to

  • Cultivate a self-improving sector and embed a system-wide approach to continuous improvement in Early Years
  • Support the setting up of early years provision to meet local demand
  • Offer business support (forecasting and modelling to achieve sustainable provision)
  • Ensure that there are sufficient childcare places to meet the needs of parents and carers in Somerset and enough places for all eligible children to take up the early years entitlement.

Somerset’s aspiration for Early Years is based upon the aims and principles found within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.

Meet the Early Years Team

We have a main team email inbox – EarlyYearsTeam@somerset.gov.uk

And our own individual emails and phone numbers:

Alison Jeffery – Early Years Lead and Primary Adviser
alison.jeffery@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 359227 or 07977 401872

Heather Stebbing – Early Years Lead Officer (Sufficiency)
heather.stebbing@somerset.gov.uk  and 01823 357494

Nikki Difford – Early Years Lead Officer (Quality Improvement and Participation) nikki.difford@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 357390 or 07919 540564

Sarah Love – Early Years Lead Officer (Sustainability and Premises) sarah.love@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 356821 or 07919 540711

Jo Sawyer – Early Years Locality Officer (East)
jo.sawyer@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 357933 or 07976 816811

Ali Highfield – Early Years Locality Officer (West)
alison.highfield@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 355255 or 07823 537446

Julia Balmford – Early Years Data and Sufficiency Officer
julia.balmford@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 355828

Sam Davies – Early Years Senior Business Support
samantha.davies@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 357597

Gemma Hake – Early Years Business Support Assistant
gemma.hake@somerset.gov.uk and 01823 359773

Our address: County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY
Find us on Facebook@SomersetEarlyYearsandChildcare

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The Early Years team

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Last reviewed:September 21, 2022 byNeil

Next review due:March 21, 2023

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