A One Family Approach to improving outcomes for children in their early years

One Family Approach logo


We are pleased to introduce the North Lincolnshire plan for improving outcomes for young children and their families: Getting the BEST START Plan – a One Family Approach to improving outcomes for children in their early years.

The plan sets out our shared ambitions for young children from conception to five, within the framework of the One Family Approach – describing how we will work together as partnerships across community and voluntary and as statutory services and settings to improve outcomes for babies and young children right from the start, articulating measures for success and sharing accountability structures.

Through ensuring all families are enabled to participate in richly diverse opportunities for high-quality activities in their local area, excellent childcare and learning, and effective specialist support to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, we want all children to make the best start so that they make successful transitions into school and are well place to achieve their full potential through that learning journey.

  • Councillor Julie Reed, Cabinet Member for Children and Families.
  • Peter Thorpe, Director: Learning, Skills and Culture.
  • Mick Gibbs, Director: Children and Community Resilience .
  • Alex Seale, Chief Operating Officer, North Lincolnshire CCG.

North Lincolnshire strategic and ‘place’ context

The ‘Getting the BEST START’ Plan is one of a suite of documents which link to the commissioning intent and associated priorities for children and families from the Integrated Children’s Trust:

  • The Children’s Commissioning Strategy clarifies our integrated One Family Approach and commissioning intent in relation to health, social care and education for children, young people and families in the context of our Place Partnership.
  • Through surveys and feedback, young people and families have identified some areas of focus to challenge local partners to work together and have also identified challenges for themselves. These are articulated in the Children’s Challenge. Young people and families are part of the solution and together, taking a One Family Approach, all stakeholders can work together to further improve the lives and experiences of children, young people and families.
  • Helping Children’s and Families in North Lincolnshire provides clear guidance to professionals as to how they should, in the first instance, offer help and encouragement to children and families to find their own solutions, including online information, advice, guidance and sources of self-help. It describes the services available for supporting children and families to stay independent and resilient, in their families, schools, and communities and sets out statutory thresholds for intervention, and the locally agreed levels of need used to inform decision-making.
  • The SEND and Inclusion Plan articulates our ambitions for children and young people with SEND, how we respond to different levels of need within the context of SEND through the designations of SEN/D Support and through statutory Education, Health and Care Planning (EHCP) processes. In North Lincolnshire the approach we take to the SEND Code of Practice and SEND identified need is aligned to and embedded within the ‘One Family Approach’
  • The NHS Long Term Plan articulates a new service model for the 21st century and sets out how pressures that NHS staff face will be tackled, as well as how the redesign of patient care will future-proof the NHS for the decade ahead.

Early Years population

There are about 9,400 children under 5 in North Lincolnshire, with about 1,670 births a year.

  • Less than a fifth of children in primary schools are eligible for free school meals and around 500 three and four year olds are in receipt of Early Years pupil premium.
  • Very small numbers of children under 5 have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP); around 330 four and five year olds (data accurate Nov 2020) have identified Speech, Language and Communication Needs.
  • Nearly a fifth of young children are from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to around a third in England.
  • Almost all Early Years settings are judged good or outstanding
  • The vast majority of parents are satisfied with their childcare and most feel that their childcare arrangements meet their needs.
  • Nine out of ten eligible children access 2-year-old funded early education and childcare, compared to around eight out of ten nationally
  • Low numbers of are children under four years old are in need of protection and or are children in care.

One Family Approach

In North Lincolnshire we believe that support and services should be inclusive and enabling.

We want children to feel and be safe in their families, in their schools and in their communities.

We want children and families to be able to help themselves, to participate in and be supported by their communities; to access local information, advice, and support and remain resilient and independent.

We improve children’s lives only with a whole-family approach. We listen to children and families and let them lead – ‘nothing done about me, without me’.

We believe that people can change. We don’t let go when things get tough.

Young children with parents and two dogs

Our priorities

Our shared priorities are to:

  • Improve children’s healthy development, including early mental health and emotional well-being, from conception to 5
  • Develop parental readiness and resilience
  • Increase children’s communication and language skills
  • Improve children’s readiness to start school
  • Close the learning gap between the most and least advantaged
  • Improve transitions in their broadest sense.

We will achieve this through:

  • Integrated working and improved data sharing
  • Strategic planning for workforce development
  • System leadership across the sector
  • An enabling children’s offer which is accessible to all
  • Ensuring universal, accessible high quality provision
  • Targeting and reach to the most vulnerable.

In North Lincolnshire everyone is focused on making a real difference to children’s lives.

We have passionate and committed staff across the Early Years sector who are clear about their purpose and the people they serve.

We have high quality accessible education and childcare, close to home which meets children’s and their families’ needs and circumstances, so that parents can go to work knowing their children are safe, cared for and having their emotional and learning needs met.

We want to ensure the most vulnerable get the support they need so they can thrive.


We all want to live in a place we call home, with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing things that matter to us. This is at the heart of the One Family Approach.

As children, young people and families, we want to be:

  • Resilient
  • Happy
  • Positive
  • Inspired
  • Interested
  • Ambitious
  • Informed
  • Individual
  • Empowered
  • Enabled.


Early Years Outcomes Framework



  • All children are born into and grow up in families and communities that know how to, and do, provide safe care and prevent injuries.
  • Parents and carers access information and guidance online or from their local community hub when needed.
  • Parents and carers seek help and support from their families, friends, and communities when they experience challenges. They turn to their trusted early years or health professional when needed.
  • Children and families stay safe by participating in accessible enabling activities in their local areas.


  • All babies and children benefit from good health, and are cared for in healthy households and communities and so develop a sense of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Midwives support parents to care for and meet the needs of very young babies.
  • Parents and carers have access to health information and guidance online or directly through their local community hub, early years or health professional.
  • All children and families access 0-19 universal health visiting service which promotes full take up of vaccinations.
  • All children have an joined-up integrated assessment at 2 or 2 ½ .


  • All children receive the universal local offer, including Imagination Library and children’s centre information about what’s on locally.
  • Parents and carers access welfare rights advice, and take up opportunities to learn, volunteer, develop skills and employment.
  • All children start school with their needs assessed and understood and with a learning offer that matches their needs.
  • Full take up of childhood inoculations means that no children miss school with key illnesses.
  • Full take up of early funded education and childcare means more disadvantaged children are ‘school ready’.
  • Effective early education and childcare enables parents to work knowing their children are accessing high quality learning, are well cared for and having their needs met.


  • All children access high quality early education and childcare places in their local communities.
  • All children have local early years settings and schools which are good or outstanding.
  • 0 to 5 year olds and their families live in good quality accommodation.
  • All children and their families have local, accessible outdoor places to play.
  • All children and families have opportunities to share their views and experiences and shape services in North Lincolnshire.
  • All children and parents can access a range of information and guidance.
  • Families have equality of access to the online and digital world.



  • Children in areas where there is most need access support and activities through the children’s centre offer.
  • Babies and children are kept safe from hidden harm by effective multiagency, community and voluntary sector partnerships.
  • Children and families needing early help are kept safe because all professionals identify and provide the help that is needed at the earliest point.
  • Parents who need extra help can access high quality, effective training and support which builds family resilience and improves relationships.
  • Families that need extra help receive support which builds on family strengths, finds solutions, and supports their resilience including in the family and community.
  • Children living with domestic abuse are kept safe through timely information sharing and support.


  • Vulnerable families can access pre- birth support, maximising their abilities to keep their children safe and well.
  • Midwives ensure access to early help right from the start, where babies or their families need that.
  • Children’s emerging additional needs are identified early and assessed in the 3-4 month home visit which prompts early help and extra health visitor support where needed.
  • Children with additional needs have access to an inclusive early education and childcare offer with staff who understand and can meet individual needs.
  • Children and families maintain or achieve healthy weight and lifestyles.
  • Children’s parents who are experiencing issues including mental health, DA, substance misuse and well- being issues are signposted to support.


  • Parents and babies develop healthy attachments from pre-birth. Parents can access information which supports decision-making about feeding, and are enabled to breastfeed their baby.
  • Children in vulnerable families have parents with good parenting capacity and emotional wellbeing.
  • Children with additional needs are supported and have access to an inclusive curriculum in mainstream early years settings and schools right from the start.
  • All parents understand the value and importance of talking to babies.
  • Parents improve their skills, knowledge and prosperity through high quality, relevant routes into education and training and routes into employment which are locally available.
  • Parents grow in prosperity through meaningful skills and career progression.


  • Midwives identify and refer babies and families in need of support, early help, protection or safeguarding at the earliest point.
  • Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) access high quality education and childcare settings which accurately assess needs and prepare them for school.
  • Children who don’t speak English as a first language and children with SEND achieve a good level of development at 5 years.
  • Parents who don’t speak English as a first language and children with SEND are enabled to support their children’s education and learning.
  • Families in key communities know that it’s important and support mothers to present to maternity services in good time.
  • Parents of children with SEND know the choices and take up early learning and development support.



  • The most vulnerable babies are identified early by midwives and health visitors so that specialist help enables families to protect them and reduce escalation of needs.
  • The most vulnerable babies and children swiftly access specialist assessment, support and protection when needed so they can remain with their families in their communities.
  • Children are kept safe by ensuring consistent multiagency approaches to ensuring safety are standard.(MARS)


  • Parents with adverse childhood experiences are supported to understand their child and create healthy attachments.
  • The most vulnerable children receive timely specialist support via the 0-19Service’s Intensive Family Team.
  • Children’s health and development needs are identified early, and specialist help enables families to care for children at home.


  • There are fewer households where children live experiencing parental domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health.
  • The most vulnerable families have access to information, advice and guidance that enables opportunities into volunteering, training, and employment.
  • Parents who are most disadvantaged access inclusive, confidence building routes to education, training and employment.


  • Children of care leavers have childcare and early education places that support their and their parents’ needs.
  • Children with disabilities and SEND have high quality specialist provision that meets individual needs.
  • New and young parents are enabled to access peer support and opportunities to meet other parents in their community.


  • High quality training, information and resources support professional development and continual improvement across the sector
  • Affordable early years training is available through apprenticeships
  • Every early years setting has a qualified early years practitioner
  • Every early years setting has a communication champion
  • Workforce that understands the needs of children, the principles of child development, and where relevant uses pedagogically informed approaches
  • Specialist training upskills maternity, health and early years practitioners to recognise, support and refer vulnerable children right from the start, including signs of hidden harm

To achieve these outcomes, what will the offer for Early Years look like?

Universal High Quality Provision

  • Which meets the needs of all children close to home
  • A comprehensive training programme focussing on pedagogy and practice, SEND and child development improves knowledge and skills across the sector
  • Joined up planning and delivery linked to community approaches and local need
  • A One Family Approach enabling support for vulnerable families
  • Overarching statutory universal provision i.e. sufficiency, health visitors and midwifery services.

Integrated working

  • Partnership approaches ensure integrated services to families
  • Community offer which meets the needs of parents and children
  • Support for parents’ mental health and resilience understands the impact of adverse childhood experiences on parenting and intergenerational behaviours
  • Accessible early help and advice through drop ins and triage
  • Staff with high levels of expertise across all services
  • Partnership working with voluntary sector strengthens understanding of barriers for families who don’t access mainstream services.

Mum and dad with young child holding gift bags

What will it look like?

Developing the Workforce

A strategic plan for workforce development improves comes in the broadest sense and includes:

  • EYFS workforce and training across whole phase (0-5), schools and Early Years settings
  • Online accessible training and learning enables professional development, practitioner networks include high quality Continuing Professional Development
  • Accessible training, tools and progression starting from introductory level, through T Levels and on to Early Years Diplomas
  • Local routes into Early Years Teaching qualifications, post graduate teacher training early years route available by 2022
  • Affordable routes to Early Years professional qualifications through apprenticeships
  • A shared multi-agency workforce statement ‘resilient, enabling, inclusive, pedagogic’ is used to develop training and measure success
  • Tiered communication training enables all the workforce from universal through to specialist.

One Family Approach Workforce Development

  • Integrated, specialist workforce without boundaries
  • Evidence based approaches improve children’s outcomes
  • People are resilient and have the right skills and experience
  • People do the right thing at the right time in the right place to meet needs
  • Analysis supports identification and development.

How will we achieve this?

Systems leadership

  • A single strategic plan which sets out our shared ambitions for children
  • Strength in the system to develop, evaluate and improve practice, provision and outcomes
  • Collaborative approaches with a common understanding of how everyone contributes
  • Best practice supports improvement – strong and effective settings and practitioners support others to improve; peer to peer support.


  • Well understood principles and agreed transition documentation ensure positive transitions
  • Intelligence led, partnership approaches support enable settings and schools to share high quality information pre and post transitions
  • Embedded joint working – council, health, settings, community groups and children’s centres share information, effective strategies, models of support
  • Midwifery and health visiting services have a key role in early identification, enabling vulnerable families to access help right from the start
  • Specific focussed work improves transitions for vulnerable groups
  • Shared priorities for ‘readiness for school’ are developed and agreed between partners, schools and settings and families.

Developing an enabling children’s offer

  • Universal, accessible, comprehensive health, care, education, leisure and culture offer is complemented by targeted and specialist support for those that need it most
  • Professional understanding underpins work with parents; recognising parents’ role as children’s first educators, and their views and experiences. Support for families is enabling, giving parents the tools
  • Families access the information and guidance they need online and from family and friends

Communication and language

  • A shared communication strategy sets out roles and approaches ranging from universal to specialist including Imagination Library and family learning and Words Count, Early Years and SEND
  • Joint approaches across Health and Council improves consistency in approach and message, resources, – improved early identification through close working between health visitors, Speech and Language Therapy (SALT), council teams and Early Years settings
  • Solution focused enabling approaches to removing barriers to accessing services
  • Signposting and promotion to families of universal enabling services such as Imagination Library and family learning and Words Count.

Reach to the most vulnerable

  • Low level consistent support builds confidence and resilience; the One Family Approach ensures a trusted worker provides consistent relationships over time
  • Needs are met at the lowest level – health visitors, midwifery, intensive family support and Early Years settings and schools work together to wrap services around family and support children to stay in their home, their school and their community
  • Effective identification and early help supports vulnerable children in their families from before birth
  • Support for parents’ mental health and resilience seeks to mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences on parenting and intergenerational behaviours.

Information sharing

  • Public health and other analytical intelligence informs strategic planning and approaches including locally/community specific issues
  • Data sharing systems and protocols enable improved outcomes
  • Working together differently to build on successes and maximise impact – people, community, organisations
  • Consistent information sharing informs targeted improvement work, ns and family support to improve outcomes for children.

How will we know whether it’s working?

We will know this by:

  • Ongoing engagement with children, young people and families in the local area
  • Understanding what has and hasn’t worked before, evaluating projects, workstreams, strategies and plans
  • Understanding what performance information and data is telling us
  • Understanding what voice and practice wisdom is telling us.

Working together taking a One Family Approach, we will listen, learn, review and adapt – leading to improved outcomes and experiences where children, young people and families are SAFE, WELL, PROSPEROUS and CONNECTED.

IMPACT – Plan, deliver, assess, review.


North Lincolnshire has an enduring commitment to seeking and acting on the views of stakeholders, with recognised excellence in enabling the voice of children, young people and their families. Partnership working across council, health, education and early years sector, and community and voluntary organisations has been key to developing the shared ambitions and approaches set out in the Best Start plan.

We will continue to engage with:

  • Partners across the sector and agencies that touch on the lives of children
  • Parents and families
  • Youth council / schools council
  • Voluntary partners

and we will continue to ensure wide engagement with children and families, and that their lived experiences shape our priorities.

We will work together to make a difference to all young children’s lives in North Lincolnshire, and to get feedback on how we’re doing.

Governance, accountability and partnerships

In North Lincolnshire, our One Family Approach aims to create a system that works for all children, young people and families, where we work together to provide and commission integrated services for children and young people.

The Getting the BEST START Plan sets out how services support very young children and their families to participate and achieve; to access learning and childcare, support and activities in their local communities; to find help online and in their networks and communities; to be resilient and stay independent. Impact and success is monitored and measured through the Integrated Children’s Trust, the Education Standards Board and the Health and Wellbeing Board.

Structure chart for HWB organisation

Measures of success

The principles of Outcomes Based Accountability underpin our approach to monitoring success, evaluating impact and planning next steps. There will be many more qualitative ways in which we gather evidence of impact and measure improvements in outcomes for children and their families, however some key comparable measures of success will include:

Increasing the take up of EEF funded
education places at two years old
Improving the proportion of children who achieve a good level of development (GLD) at 5 years old Reducing the percentage of mothers smoking at time of birth
Increasing the proportion of DISADVANTAGED children who achieve a GLD at 5 years old Improving the percentage of good and outstanding early years settings and schools Improving the proportion of mothers initiating breastfeeding, and continuing to breastfeed at 6 weeks
Improving the proportion of children achieving their milestones at 2 years old who access early support Increasing the take up of Early Years pupil premium Improving the proportion of mothers attending maternity appointments in key communities
Increasing the proportion of staff in early years with a Level 4 early years or teaching qualification Increasing the proportion of childminders undergoing pedagogical training Reducing the proportion of teenage pregnancies


Jemima Flintoff, Head of Standards and Effectiveness

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Last modified: April 24, 2024