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Consultation on proposed changes to the role of the local authority in early education and childcare

Today the Government launches a six week consultation exercise setting out proposals for a changed role for local authorities in the delivery of funded early education for two, three and four-year-olds.  We are asking for views on proposals to free local authorities from unnecessary administrative burdens so they can focus on their role as ‘champions’ of children and their families, particularly the most disadvantaged.<
This consultation will open on Monday 25 March and close on Monday 6 May 2013.

As with the school system, the Government wants to see maximum funding passed directly to the frontline and increased autonomy for early years providers in terms of the training and quality improvement support they access, supported by rigorous inspection arrangements.

At a time when resources are under pressure, it does not make sense for local authorities to be conducting their own quality assessments of providers. That is Ofsted’s job. The Government therefore wants Ofsted to be the sole arbiter of quality in the early years to reduce bureaucracy and confusion for providers, local authorities and parents.  As  announced in ‘More great childcare’, Ofsted will have a greater focus on identifying underperformance in the early years; ensuring that weaker performers are inspected more frequently and that there is greater involvement of Her Majesty’s Inspectors in inspections.

The Government’s proposals are set out in the document ‘Consultation on proposed changes to the role of the local authority in early education and childcare’

All those who are interested in contributing to the consultation can do so using the Department’s e-consultation website. You can respond electronically on the site using the response form, or print off a copy and send it to the responsible team. All of the details can be found on the website, which can be accessed using the following link

If you have any questions related to the policy content of the consultation, you can contact the Department’s national enquiry line on 0370 000 2288 or email:

Consultation on the development of the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years)

The Government’s publication More great childcare  (January 2013) sets out the vision for quality in early education and childcare.  It includes the Government’s response to Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s report ‘Foundations for Quality’ published in June 2012.

The Government wants to make sure there is more great childcare available for parents and children.  The introduction of Early Years Teachers will support early years providers to ensure those who work with babies and young children become increasingly skilled and professional.

Early Years Teachers will build upon the strengths of the Early Years Professional Status programme. Early Years Teachers will be specialists in early childhood development, trained to work with babies and young children.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Education & Childcare) has asked the Teaching Agency to consult on the development of the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years).

We would like to hear your views on the proposed standards. You can do this by taking part in our consultation, which is open until 30th April 2013 at

The Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) will underpin the training and assessment of Early Years Teachers.  In order to achieve Early Years Teacher Status a trainee will need to demonstrate that they have met the standards.

Training providers will commence delivery of the new Early Years Initial Teacher Training programme from September 2013.

Early education for two year olds

From 1st April, the first children who will be eligible for a full three terms of funded early education will be turning two.  Children will be eligible if their families meet the income and benefits criteria used for free school meals or if they are looked after by their local authority.  Places will be available from the start of the term following the child’s second birthday.

Around 130,000 children will be entitled to a place (at any one time) from 1 September this year. Significant progress is being made – the DfE anticipates that from April, around 70,000 two-year-olds will be accessing a place across England. To support local authorities to target parents of eligible two year olds proactively, the DfE plans to provide lists of potentially eligible parents in their area termly. The first list is expected to be made available in May.  Further information will be provided direct to local authorities.

The DfE consulted on eligibility criteria for expanding the programme to 260,000 children from September 2014 and will announce the results and the new eligibility criteria shortly.

Revised guidance published on 21st March by the Government clarifies the responsibilities of professionals towards safeguarding children, and strengthens the focus away from processes and onto the needs of the child.

Revised safeguarding guidance for professionals working with children

In response to recommendations from Professor Eileen Munro’s report, A child-centred system, the revised Working together to safeguard children guidance clarifies the core legal requirements on individuals and organisations to keep children safe. It sets out, in one place, the legal requirements that health services, social workers, police, schools and other organisations that work with children, must follow – and emphasises that safeguarding is the responsibility of all professionals who work with children.

On the 21st March the NHS Commissioning Board also published its accountability and assurance framework for safeguarding in the NHS. The framework complements the revised statutory guidance and will support NHS organisations in fulfilling their safeguarding responsibilities.

The guidance will come into effect from 15 April 2013.

In the Working Together guidance they have:

  • created a single source document that brings together all the statutory responsibilities on organisations and individuals to safeguard children; and
  • made it explicit that safeguarding is the responsibility of all professionals who work with children.

The guidance is available on the Department’s website. The accountability and assurance framework for safeguarding in the NHS is available here.

CANparent Update

Interim evaluation findings released

The evaluation’s first interim report findings were officially released at a CANparent Evaluation Conference on 13 March 2013. You can access the full CANparent trial evaluation interim report from the Department’s website.

Market development contract

The Department recently advertised a contract to further support the development of the parenting classes market. We are delighted to announce that following a competitive procurement process, a consortium led by Family Lives and supported by Ecorys, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and the Family and Parenting Institute, is the Department’s preferred bidder. The contract starts in April to develop a quality mark for universal parenting classes, provide advice and support to providers and a helpline service to parents looking for a class.

Bristol’s on YouTube

Bristol our fourth trial area has been under the spotlight recently. The Family Strategic Partner recently commissioned a video which visited a parenting class at a children’s centre in Bristol. It features a number of parents who talk about their experiences of parenting classes and includes insightful interviews with the facilitators of the session. You can access the full video via YouTube. The Trial has received the full backing of the Bishop of Bristol, Bishop Mike Hill and Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson.


Keep in touch

You can keep in touch with CANparent via Twitter at #CANparent, the DfE Facebook page, or email us to receive regular updates.

Ofsted – Revised Inspection Framework for Children’s Centres

The revised inspection framework for Children’s Centres was published earlier this week and can be found at:

The trio mutually link and the new framework mutually links with the current one (while it is still published):

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