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Foundation years

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NHL have a new workshop which takes attendees through the ‘how to’ of effective outcomes measurement tool development and work through the practical, step-by-step process of developing robust outcomes measurement tools.

Sightlines Initiative

Sightlines Initiative are organising theUK group for this year’s  Reggio study week in Italy which is suitable for anyone wanting to learn about the internationally acclaimed Reggio approach. The dates are 14- 19 April; please follow the link/ring Sightlines on 0191 261 7666 for further information and booking.

Best Beginnings

Best Beginnings  is a fairly new charitable organisation which works to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for children in the UK and to help reduce child health inequalities. Best Beginnings is developing an innovative and ambitious national project to develop, launch and evaluate a series of free evidence-based mobile phone apps for both young mums and dads that cover the period from pregnancy to 24months post-birth and provide a highly-interactive, fun and cost effective way to inform and engage parents/parents-to-be.

Children England

As widespread reforms and localism embed across the CYPF sectors in England, Children England Annual Conference 2013 Learning from our Neighbours on Wednesday 27 February will share innovative approaches to learning, safeguarding, justice and supporting vulnerable families during austerity in the four nations. More information is available on Children England’s website.


Contact a Family

The Education Select Committee report on the government’s proposed SEN reforms was published at the end of 2012. The report welcomes the overall direction of the government’s proposals, but warns that health agencies must participate fully, in order for the reforms to be successful. Read Contact a Family’s response


Contact a Family’s strengthening children’s centres project offers advice and workshops on topics such as ‘behaviours that challenge us’; ‘helping your disabled child to sleep’; ‘claiming disability benefits’ and ‘Coping and Support’. In addition, we have reached parent carers through the provision of informal drop-in information sessions.

Evaluation from the workshops has been very positive and parents have consistently told us that they felt less isolated and more able to cope and have benefitted from hearing the experiences of other parents so they do not feel ‘on their own’. If you are a Children’s Centre and would like more information please email

Contact a Family‘s guide, Relationships and caring for a disabled child is full of tips and advice from other parents who have experienced similar difficulties. It also has useful advice on practical sources of help and legal issues if you feel separation is the only option.



NDNA has launched its 2013 Nursery Awards, the only nursery awards voted for by parents. The awards acknowledge and celebrate excellence across the nursery sector, with awards for NDNA Nursery of the Year 2013, supported by Hope Education, with five regional/ national champions in addition to the overall winner; NDNA Practitioner of the Year supported by Asda and NDNA Member Champions 2013, supported by Citation plc. The awards are open to all nurseries and new for 2013 we have an online voting system. To find out more about the awards and how to register your nursery visit the NDNA website.  The deadline for entries is 9am on 22 March 2013.



NCB are now taking bookings for their free event Improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged children early years networks regional event on Tuesday 22 January 2013 in Leicester.  The keynote speech is entitled: The Power of Pre-school: Evidence from the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education Project by Brenda Taggart, Institute of Education. Workshops will provide opportunities to discuss:

● Early literacy work with families – REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy)

● Eat Better Start Better – providing healthy food in early years settings

● Quality provision for two-year-olds – a partnership approach

To book visit


A big milestone for us this month: NCMA Local has turned one year old! As with all birthdays we’ve been looking at our achievements over the past twelve months and also looking forward and making plans for the year to come. We’re continuing to launch meetings across all local authority areas in England in the coming months – be sure to keep an eye on the so you don’t miss out! If you’d like further information, or to be notified of forthcoming meetings in your area, contact one of the team. Attending one of our NCMA Local peer support meetings is a great way to contribute to CPD while at the same time networking with others in your area for help, advice and support.

The New Year is also an ideal time for childminders to think about refreshing their training – with the post-Christmas financial fallout in mind, NCMA is currently offering discounts on selected online training which you can find here.


4Children have been awarded a contract by the Department for Work and Pensions as part of their Help and Support for Separated Families initiative, which is designed to ensure that parents are able to access the right support to enable them to collaborate in the interests of their children. 4Children will be responsible for inviting organisations to apply for the new ‘Help and Support for Separated Families Quality Mark’ and will assess organisations that apply for the Quality Mark. Assessment will look at whether they have a strategic aim that includes the promotion of collaboration and reduction of conflict in the best interests of children, consistently promote this and that they redesign their services on the basis of service user feedback.

Quality is at the heart of early education and childcare. With the present focus on quality for all children in the foundation years but especially two year olds, 4Children series of one day seminars will bring together key authors of the EYFS guidance and a national and local perspective on continuous quality improvement to support practitioners in ensuring delivery of the EYFS and improving children’s outcomes. More information is available on 4Children’s website.



The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Children and Families), Edward Timpson MP visited Stonegrove Children’s Centre in Edgware, Barnet, on 27th November to celebrate the progress made by children and families, thanks to the first year of Early Language Development Programme (ELDP).  The Minister met with partner CEOs – Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN, Dame Clare Tickell, Action for Children and Neil Leitch, Pre-school Learning Alliance and then joined local families attending the regular ‘stay and play’ session at Stonegrove Children’s Centre, which is run the Pre-school Learning Alliance on behalf of Barnet Council. Read more here

We are finishing our ELDP lead practitioner training in March 2013, so in order not to miss out, please book onto our upcoming courses shown below.

14th January, London

21st January, London

16th January, Birmingham

17th January, Birmingham

13th February, Sefton

14th February, Sefton

28th February, Lancashire

1st March, Lancashire

7th March, Cheshire East

15th March, Cheshire East

25th March, London

26th March, London

If there is sufficient interest in another area, we will be happy to deliver training in a more convenient location. For more information, please contact Sally McAlister, ELDP Programme Manager, on 020 7843 2562.

Early Support

New early support key working training dates have now been published. The training embeds the Early Support principles in the key working functions and raises awareness of the importance of access to partnership working and key working support to facilitate children’s, young people’s and families’ journeys. We will be hosting a number of national training events; check out the website for more details. Book now to avoid disappointment!

Health Resources

Good health is one of the most important determinants of a child’s life chances. All professionals working in the foundation years need to be involved in promoting and encouraging children’s healthy development. The foundation years website has a number of resources for practitioners to help.


Children’s Improvement Board

The Children’s Improvement Board (CIB) is the leadership body for sector-led improvement in children’s services. It brings together the Local Government Association (LGA), the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE). These partners believe that sector-led improvement is an effective and sustainable way of building better services for children and young people.

CIB is running a Development Demonstrator Programme through which local areas share their learning as they develop their services to respond to the recommendations of the Munro review and to the challenges of developing holistic early years services to narrow the gap for children in poverty. 27 councils are participating in this programme, some working individually and some in groups.  Each site has organized a programme of 10 learning events, all of which are free. Some of these events are action-learning sets, some are conferences and others are webinars. The majority of the events are open to participants from across the country. The list below gives a flavour of the some of the early years events, but the calendar is being updated constantly so readers are encouraged to use the link below to find out more about the full range of events on offer.

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