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NCB survey on childcare reforms

Last week the government published its report More Great Childcare. This report outlined plans to reform early years and childcare provision, including introducing new workforce qualifications; setting up childminder agencies; relaxing child to staff ratios; and increasing Ofsted’s role in ensuring quality.

NCB would like to hear the views of its early years network members on these proposals. We will be compiling your feedback into a report, which will inform NCB’s response to the More Great Childcare report and parliamentary activity on the Children and Families Bill.

To visit the survey, please click:

The survey closes on 1 March. There is no need to answer all the questions to take part.

Please e-mail [email protected] with any queries. Many thanks for taking the time to complete this survey.

NCB’s free Early Years Event – An integrated approach to early education and health

The Early Childhood Unit (ECU) at the National Children’s Bureau works to sustain and improve the quality of services for young children through direct work with children’s services and settings, and through its national networks.

ECU is delighted to invite you to the eighth in a series of free regional events as part of the Peer to Peer Support Programme:


An integrated approach to early education and health

York, Thursday 14 March 2013

The keynote speaker is Helen Moylett, President of the British Association of Early Childhood Education, about ‘Connecting and Communication for Feeling Good and Learning Well’. Rotherham local authority will also present about their experiences of delivering Joint Two-Year-Old Assessments. The event will include a selection of workshops and updates from Department for Education representatives on government plans for childminding and the integrated review at two. To book please visit our Eventbrite page where you will also be able to choose your workshops (detailed descriptions are available on the ECU website). If you find that there are no places remaining for your local authority, please email [email protected] to join the waiting list.

New C4EO validated local practice examples

Under the Peer to Peer Programme delivered by ECU in partnership with the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People (C4EO) examples of practice are assessed by a panel of sector experts who consider them against robust criteria, including the ability for other local areas to implement and use this ‘best’ practice.

C4EO shares this evidence to inspire best practice across regions and local areas, and incorporates examples into reviews of ‘what works’ for each theme.

The latest examples of validated local practice are:


Enfield Case Study: Quality Matters in Practice (QMIP)

The Quality Matters in Practice (QMIP) project supports settings in the private and voluntary sector to develop the quality of the places they offer to two year olds through an integrated programme of coaching, support, parental engagement and listening to young children to improve the practice in settings. The London Borough of Enfield successfully applied through the Peer to Peer Support programme to receive free delivery of a two day ‘Train the Trainer’ PEAL course and a series of Listening as a Way of Life: An Introduction to Listening to Young Children workshops. The PEAL training supported practitioners to work more closely with parents to increase their confidence and skills in planning for their children’s learning and will provide essential capacity building to embed and cascade the approach across the Borough. The Listening workshops enabled practitioners and settings to explore different tools for listening to young children in their settings and many have gone on to apply these concepts, such as listening trees, in their practice.


New Early Years Developmental Journal launched by Early Support at NCB

The new Early Years Developmental Journal is now available and can be found at

The journal is designed for families, practitioners and others, to use as a way of recording, celebrating and supporting the progress of children with a disability or special educational needs. It is also for people who would like to find out more about children’s development in the early years. It supports key working by helping everyone involved with a child to share what they know and discuss how best to work together to support development and learning.

The Journal is particularly useful if you know or suspect that your child or a child who you are helping is unlikely to progress in the same way or at the same rate as other children – whether or not a particular disability or learning difficulty has been identified and given a name. It links closely with Development Matters in the Early Foundation Stage guidance and is based on extensive analysis of a wide range of  developmental assessment tools and experience with the generic Early Support Developmental Journal that it now replaces.  It is also recommended as a useful resource for the 24-30 month statutory EYFS progress assessment as well as supporting child health monitoring.

New! Information Resources

The existing Early Support resources have been revised, updated and adapted for use with older children and disabled young people. They are available for free to download here:

The Early Support information resources describe, discuss and explore either a specific condition/disability or more general information that parent carers and young people have told us they would find useful to know.

The resources were produced in response to requests from families, professional agencies and voluntary organisations for better standard information about particular conditions or disabilities and more general and reliable background knowledge resources.


healthy body, happy me 2013
Nurseries across the UK will be having fun and keeping fit and healthy during National Day Nurseries Association’s (NDNA) annual healthy lifestyles campaign week, ‘healthy body, happy me’, which runs from 11th to 17th March.

Each day has a special theme with fun-filled activity ideas. Moos-day Tuesday and our Wacky Weekend will see children learning about healthy eating. Children will be getting active on Musical Monday, Wheelie Wednesday and Family Friday, by doing a variety of activities including yoga, bicycle obstacle courses and dancing to their favourite songs.

On Happy Hand-day (Thursday 14 March) we are holding a hand washing event where children across the UK will wash their hands for two minutes at 10am and sing our special hand washing song. Nurseries can sign up to take part in the hand washing event at and they will receive free resources to help them take part.

NDNA member nurseries will all receive a campaign pack in the post in February and additional resources, including activity ideas, can be downloaded at

Best Beginnings

Mobile phone apps to support the emotional and physical transition to parenthood

Child health charity Best Beginnings is delighted to announce the imminent launch of two new free mobile phone apps for mums: Bump Buddy covers pregnancy and Baby Buddy covers the first six months after birth.

The interactive apps deliver personalised pregnancy and parenting information and prompts for reflection and action, in the voice of a chatty, knowledgeable friend. In addition to this daily ‘push’ of information there are fun functions designed to enhance contact-points with professionals including:

  • Bump Book/Baby Book – a diary function for text and photos
  • Bump Booth/Baby Booth –  take a photo of your bump/baby every week and it creates a video of the bump/baby growing
  • I can do it – a tracker for personal goals
  • Ask me a question – in which the Bump Buddy/Baby Buddy answers frequently asked questions
  • Remember to ask – a reminder list for questions to ask a health professional
  • Bump Around/Baby Around – a geolocation function to help find local services

Bump Buddy and Baby Buddy have been created with significant input from a team that includes midwives, obstetricians, paediatricians, health visitors, breastfeeding specialists, speech and language therapists, psychologists, voluntary sector workers and teenage pregnancy specialists. The expert stakeholder group has ensured that the apps cover all the important issues in a way that is particularly relevant to young first time mums and accessible for those with a reading age of about 11.

The apps focus on supporting young mums to:

  • Improve their health choices, self-efficacy and well-being
  • Increase their confidence and knowledge
  • Navigate the emotional transition to parenthood
  • Maintain strong couple relationships or cope as a single parent
  • Have realistic expectations about life as a new mum
  • Tune into the needs of their new baby
  • Communicate with their baby from birth
  • Breastfeed successfully or bottle-feed safely
  • Parent with warmth and confidence
  • Understand the importance of accessing health services


Bump Buddy and Baby Buddy will be formally launched in late June. In advance of that, Best Beginnings would like healthcare professionals and parents to use the apps from mid-March to identify any final “tweaks” needed and to provide vital feedback to inform and support the June launch.

We therefore invite you to email: [email protected] so we can keep you “in the loop” with key information including:

  • When and where the apps will be available for free download
  • How to register as a professional when you download the apps so we can separate usage and feedback data by mums from usage and feedback by professionals
  • How mums and mums-to-be can register to join our growing parent user group
  • How to order postcards and posters that we are making to help you promote the apps in antenatal and postnatal settings both in the community and in hospitals
  • Details of the pilot and evaluation taking place across Lambeth and Southwark being co-funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and the RCM to explore how best to integrate the apps into maternity services
  • Plans to do further pilots and evaluations in other locations across the country

In your email to us please let us know your background (eg: are you midwife, obstetrician or a health-visitor), your role and place of work and whether you are active on Twitter, Facebook or other social media.

Children England

On Weds 20 March in Birmingham and Thurs 21 March in Leeds, Children England will be holding free Express Your Health! workshops. These are an opportunity to review the changes around Health Reform and its implications for the voluntary and community sector and the commissioning of services for children, young people and families. You can book your places here:

Safe Network and Children Matters East invite you to Safeguarding our Futures in Times of Austerity, an event on Tues 26 March in Cambridge, to explore the challenges and opportunities in both a commissioning and safeguarding environment and learn from outstanding good practice. The workshops will cover Disclosure & Barring, Personalisation and what is required to be commissioned for schools. You can book your place here:

Contact a Family

Latest research from Contact a Family on illegal exclusions
Based on our experience of working alongside families with disabled children, Contact a Family knows that illegal exclusions are common. However, we wanted to find out more – how often do illegal exclusions happen and what is the impact on family life?

Falling through the net – Illegal exclusions, the experiences of families with disabled children in England and Wales (2013) found children with a disability, SEN or additional needs are routinely illegally excluded from school, almost a quarter (22 per cent) are illegally excluded every week and 15 per cent every day. This is having a devastating impact on their education and mental health. For parents, half report they are unable work due to the impact of illegal exclusions on family life. Parents also repeatedly talked about the additional pressure put on their relationship with a partner or other children in the family.

Typical scenarios include

  • Parents called to school to pick up their child because it is for child’s ‘own good’ as he or she is having a bad day (70%) or there are not enough staff available to support their child (53%).
  •  Parents told by the school that their child can’t take part in a class activity or trip (56%).
  • Schools puts child on a part-time timetable (60%).

Illegal exclusions are unlawful – even with the parents’ consent. A child can only be legally excluded from school for disciplinary reasons. Headteachers must formally tell a parents that their child will be excluded by giving them details in writing. Our survey was carried out with parent carers who recognised that their child was being illegally excluded. As a result we fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and many more children with a disability, SEN or additional needs are falling through the net.

The report makes a series of recommendations and we hope this report will raise awareness and prompt parents to seek advice from the Contact a Family helpline on 0808 808 3555.

Early Education

Early Education has recently published I am two! Working effectively with two year olds and their families

This new publication from Early Education explores:

  • How best to support practitioners to work with the parents of two year olds
  • Early childhood development and the impact of developmental delay
  • The role of early intervention

Supporting practitioners working with two year olds in the areas of:

  • Personal, social and emotional development; communication and language and physical development
  • Behaviour
  • Identifying developmental delay or emerging SEN or disability
  • The progress check at age two
  • Working with parents to support the learning and development of children in the home environment
  • Multi-disciplinary working
  • The role of health in early childhood

To order your copy click here

British Heart Foundation

Early movers: New early years resource to help under-5s live active and healthy lives

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has just published a new early years physical activity guide. This pack is designed to help early years practitioners plan and organise physically active play environments for children under five.

Written and collated by the BHF National Centre, this guide is relevant to all settings who provide care to children from birth up to the age of five.

What’s included?

The Early movers pack (order code G609) includes:

  • seven booklets for early years practitioners to help plan, organise and deliver physical activity with the under-5s
  • one copy of Help your baby move and play every day (G610) and Help your child move and play every day (G611) leaflets for parents
  • one height chart (G612)
  • stickers (G613)
  • six Early movers posters (G614).

To order your copy of the pack, please call the BHF Orderline (quoting order code G609) on 0870 600 6566, email [email protected] or visit:

Make the legacy of 2012 live on

To build on the momentum of 2012 and inspire a generation the British Heart Foundation is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to access a series of free physical activity related training events and resources!


Practical training will be based around one of three themes;

  • Early Movers – helping under 5’s live active and healthy lives (Half day)
  • Engaging primary aged children in physical activity (Half day)
  • Motivating the east active secondary pupils (Full day)

The training dates are listed below:

  • Hastings – 6th March
  • Rotherham – 13th March
  • Pontypool, Wales – 20th March
  • Dundee, Scotland – 27th March
  • Cookstown, Northern Ireland – 17th April
  • Hartlepool – 24th April
  • Blackpool – 1st May
  • Kings Lynn – 15th May
  • Cornwall 22nd – May
  • Newham, London – 5th June


These training days are for anyone involved in the promotion or delivery of physical activity to children and young people aged 0-18, including those working in education, sport, health and leisure.

For further details please contact Elizabeth Mayne at [email protected] or visit


KIDS launches free suite of resources to support families with disabled children who will use personal budgets.

On the 12th February 2013 KIDS launched a new suite of resources to support families and carers of disabled children who will be using the new personal budgets.

KIDS is a national charity that works with disabled children, young people and their families.

As part of the ‘Making it Personal’ project, sponsored by the Department for Education, KIDS has worked with a number of partners to develop a new suite of resources to explore how personal budgets can be used to their best advantage.

As part of the ‘Making it Personal’ project, sponsored by the Department for Education, KIDS has worked with a number of partners (OPM, Disability Rights UK, In Control, NAFIS and the Daycare Trust) to develop a new suite of resources to explore how personal budgets can be used to their best advantage.

These resources consist of:

  • A handbook for parents and carers of disabled children and young people.
  • Interactive eLearning for parents and carers, drawing on the handbook.
  • Guidance for commissioners and others in children’s services on how to commission for personalisation.

Parents and carers of disabled children can download the Parent’s Handbook here:

The eLearning package for parents and carers is under development and will be released during March 2013, supported by regional events. For more information on this please email [email protected]

Anyone wishing to access the Commissioner’s Guidance can download it here:

If you want to find out more about the ’Making it Personal’ project, you can find more information here:


This work was developed in response to the Department for Education’s Green Paper Support and Aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability (DfE 2011)

“To give parents confidence by giving them more control over the support their family receives, we will introduce more transparency in the provision of services for children and young people who are disabled or who have SEN. Parents will have real choice over their child’s education and the opportunity for direct control over support for their family. We propose the option of a personal budget by 2014 for all families with children with a statement of SEN or a new ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’, many of whom will have complex support needs. Key workers will be trained to advise families and help them navigate the range of help available across health, education and social care.”


KIDS works across all of England. The charity has also pioneered a range of approaches for working with disabled children including Portage (home learning), Direct Short Breaks and England’s first inclusive adventure playground.

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