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Department for Education publishes response to Early Education and Childcare consultation

The Department for Education has today published its response to the recent Early Education and Childcare consultation and has confirmed proposals to:

  • Make the current entitlement to 15 hours a week of free early education for three and four year olds more flexible, so it can be taken between 7am and 7pm, and spread across two days instead of the current minimum of three days;
  • Introduce a clear and consistent framework for assessing whether a provider is of a high enough quality to deliver free early education;
  • Use the criteria used for free school meals to decide which two-year-olds should qualify for free early education from September 2013;
  • Include two-year-olds who are looked after by the state in the eligibility criteria for free early education; and,
  • Pass funding for free early education for two-year-olds to local authorities via the Dedicated Schools Grant from 2013-14.


The full response is available to read here. The accompanying statutory guidance which has been slimmed down from 100 pages to less than 20 pages is available here


The Department has also announced the location of a series of trial areas where, in part of a local authority area, those two-year-olds who would be eligible for the entitlement will be able to access a free place from September this year. Trials will operate in parts of Blackpool,Cornwall,Greenwich,Kent, Lancashire, Lambeth,Newcastle, Northamptonshire,Peterborough, andRotherham.


Early Year Foundation Stage Profile

A new EYFS framework was published on 27 March 2012, and will come into effect from September 2012. The revised framework simplifies assessment at age five.  The new EYFS Profile asks practitioners to make a best fit assessment of whether children are meeting the new reduced set of 17 early learning goals (“expected”) or whether they are above (“exceeding”) or below (“emerging”) the expected level.  Practitioners are also asked to provide descriptions of how children learn under the new characteristics of learning section of the Profile.


DfE will be conducting trials of the new Profile in 19 local authorities and around 450 schools during summer 2012.  The trials will include collecting data from schools using the new assessment and an examination of the guidance materials and moderation arrangements.  Using feedback from the trials we will publish the EYFS Profile Handbook, exemplification materials and moderation guidance in autumn 2012.  This will allow settings and local authorities plenty of time to take account of the guidance in the lead up to the first year of new EYFSP assessments in the summer of 2013.


School Food Trust

The Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS) requires that – “where children are provided with meals, snacks and drinks, these must be healthy, balanced and nutritious”.  In January, the School Food Trust published new Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England to help early years providers and practitioners meet this important EYFS welfare requirement.  Following these national food and drink guidelines will help providers and practitioners meet the nutritional needs of children aged one to five years attending early years settings. In addition there are practical support tools designed to help practitioners understand and use the food and drink guidelines. These support tools include menus and recipes, self evaluation checklists and an early years code of practice for food and drink. The guidelines and support tools can be downloaded for free here


Olympic and Paralympic advice 

Parts of London will be very busy between July and September from just before the Olympic and Paralympic Games start, and whilst they are going on. If you’re located near a Games venue or a travel hotspot, you should see whether you need to take action to limit any adverse impact they could have on your business. For instance, roads may be closed, deliveries delayed and mobiles and the internet might not always operate as promptly as usual.


This booklet published by the London 2012 Committee provides advice and guidance on things you can do so that you keep your business running effrectively over the summer. The booklet can be downloaded from here.

Department for Education response to Special Educational Need Consultation

The Department for Education has set out its plans to give parents the legal right to buy-in specialist SEN and disabled care for their children. For the first time ever, parents will be given the power to control personal budgets for their children with severe, profound or multiple health and learning – meaning they can choose the expert support that is right for their child, instead of local authorities being the sole provider.


The reforms are part of a package of new measures announced by the government in is response to the SEN Green Paper, Support and Aspiration.  


The main elements are:

  • replacing SEN statements and separate Learning Difficulty Assessments (for older children) with a single, simpler birth to 25 assessment process and Education, Health and Care Plan from 2014. Parents with the plans would have the right to a personal budget for their support.
  • providing statutory protections comparable to those currently associated with a statement of SEN to up to 25 in further education – instead of there being a ‘cliff edge’ when it is cut off at 16, to help young people into employment and independent living.
  • local authorities and health services will be required to link up services for disabled children and young people – so they are jointly planned and commissioned.
  • requiring local authorities to publish a local offer showing the support available to disabled children and young people and those with SEN, and their families.
  • introducing mediation for disputes and trialling giving children the right to appeal if they are unhappy with their support.
  • children would have a new legal right to seek a place at state academies and Free Schools – currently it is limited to maintained mainstream and special schools. Local authorities would have to name the parent’s preferred school so long it was suitable for the child.


The Children and Families Bill announced in last week’s Queen’s Speech will now put legislation in place for the reforms.

CAN Parenting classes

Parents want the best for their kids, to see them thrive and enjoy their childhood, but being a parent isn’t always easy.  Around three-quarters of parents say they want information and support so that they can be calm and confident when creating their happy home.


Most parents attend antenatal classes but why stop there? There are some amazing sources of advice and support out there, and we want to help parents find it and enjoy it. That’s why we are giving over 50,000 parents in Camden, Middlesbrough and High Peak in Derbyshire a voucher worth £100 to spend with the CANparent classes and advice network. 


Parents can choose from a range of different options to suit them and their lifestyle – from online support to local groups.  They can find the time and place to learn about what really matters to them and share advice on what really works. 


How will it work?

Mums, dads and other important carers of children aged five and under in the three areas will be offered a voucher worth £100 to pay for support. The vouchers will be available through local Boots stores and people working in local children’s centres, GP surgeries, play associations and other relevant roles.


Parents can redeem their vouchers from an assured list of local providers. To find out more about the providers and the range of parenting classes that are available to them locally, parents can visit or telephone 0845 601 5833.


Outside the trial area

If you’re outside the trial area and would like to know more about parenting provision in your area visit the Family Strategic Partner website.


What does the trial mean for the early year sector?

All those who come into contact with parents in their work are vital ambassadors for this trial, ensuring as many parents as possible are supported in their job of raising happy and confident children.


Organisations can help by telling parents about the offer and giving them a voucher. 

To find out more about the trial and to sign up to become a distribution partner, please visit


How local organisations can support the trial?

All those who come into contact with parents in their work are vital ambassadors for this trial, ensuring as many parents as possible are supported in their job of raising happy and confident children. They can help by telling parents about the offer and giving them a voucher.


What is CANparent?

CANparent is an endorsement brand that is being used by a range of organisations and individuals, who are committed to connecting all parents to high quality support, advice and classes about parenting that they are looking for. CANparent is backed by government – including the Department for Education and the Department of Health – to enable the public, private and third sector to work together for the benefit of parents and children.


The CANparent network brings together mums, dads, community organisations, and specialists in how children grow and develop.  The aim is to help all parents to get the support and information they want, how they want it.


Early Language Development Programme

I CAN, the children’s communication charity, lead partner with the Early Language Consortium, is now moving to roll out the Department for Education’s Early Language Development Programme (ELDP).  ELDP’s overall aim is to ensure more young children develop the language skills they need to be school ready and to improve their life chances. The programme will target all pre-school children with a particular focus on 0-2 year olds and their families in England’s most disadvantaged areas.


The programme is timely as it comes at a time to support the new EYFS Statutory Framework coming into force from September 2012 – including the new primary area of ‘communications’ – and as the Department works on the introduction of the new two year old free entitlement. 


The ELDP itself is a training programme for practitioners working with children up to five years old, with a specific focus on those working in areas serving some of the most disadvantaged children and families.  The programme seeks to enhance the language development skills for practitioners in the foundation years, so that they can build on the good practice that already exists when working with children and their parents.  It aims to reach up to 16,000 practitioners in almost 4,000 Children’s Centres and early years settings, and over 196,000 families.


The training is free and materials are also provided to practitioners who take part.  For more information please visit the ICAN website or telephone Sally McAllister at I CAN on 0207 843 2562.


Department for Education Discussion Paper on increasing parental and community involvement in Sure Start Children’s Centres

The Department for Education has published a discussion paper on increasing parental and community involvement in Sure Start Children’s Centres. The aim of the discussion paper is to see how the Department can help parents and communities have more of a say in shaping and delivering children’s centre services, and becoming much more involved in the activities of their children’s centres.   The paper also invites expressions of interest from groups of parents who are interested in developing their own community management models for children’s centres, for example cooperatives and social enterprises.  The paper can be downloaded here.


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  1. Paula Liggat on May 31, 2012
    Hi I was wondering if you could help me I am trying to get into some of the information on the website - but it keeps coming up with the Outlook Express sign on and will not let me get the information - and I really want to get this information as it looks like it will be very useful. Thank you Paula
    • Hi Paula - I'm not sure what would cause that, sorry you're having problems! If you let me know the information you are seeking, I might be able to email it over to you.
  2. vivienne on May 31, 2012
    Also have problems connecting with documents through link as it comes up with blogging box
  3. gemma on June 14, 2012
    hi i am wondering can you buy the new eyfs and statutory framework if so how much and where from ?