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Children’s Centres – Reach Out! will look at new and innovative ways that children’s centres can provide and maintain high quality services and reach out to all children and families in all communities at a time of economic tension. The seminars will bring together experts from across the children’s centre workforce to discuss and debate ways in which children’s centres can survive in these challenging times and debate subjects including early intervention, targeted services, and positive ways of improving effectiveness across children’s centres.

For further information click here or contact the events department on 02075226970 or via email.



Children’s Improvement Board

Improving Sure Start Children’s Centres: Commissioning and Performance Management

The Children’s Improvement Board invites you to a regional event, ‘Improving Sure Start Children’s Centres: Commissioning and Performance Management’. The event will provide an opportunity to hear about learning from the Sure Start Children’s Centres Payment by Results Trial.  Presentations from a selection of LAs will provide ideas for developing children’s centre services and improving outcomes for children and their families.

A toolkit (CD) including resources developed by LAs will be distributed to attendees at the events.

Who is the event aimed at?

  • Local Authority Children’s  Services Commissioners
  • Local Authority Children’s Centre Leaders
  • Local Authority Early Years Leads
  • Local Authority Performance Management/Improvement Leads

When and where is it being held?

  • 12th June 2013 (10 – 15.30) – Leeds (Leeds Park Plaza Hotel, Leeds)
  • 18th June 2013 (10 – 15.30) – Bristol (Bristol Mercure Holland House Hotel)
  • 28th June 2013 (10 – 15.30) – London (Local Government House, Westminster)

The event is free. Please register by sending the following information to [email protected] by 30th April:

  • Name:
  • Contact email and phone number:
  • Role / Title:
  • Local Authority:
  • Preferred event (Leeds, Bristol, or London):

Further details will be sent to you after the closing date. Places will be on a first come first served basis. Due to limited resources we can only offer a maximum of 2 places per LA.


Raising Early Achievement in Literacy

Free training days are available from June 2013.  

The Early Childhood Unit (ECU) has developed training based on its successful partnership project with the University of Sheffield, and Oldham and Sheffield local authorities. Funding from the DfE National Prospectus Grant (2013-2015) will enable a national roll out of free training.


Training dates will be available from June 2013 and bookings will begin mid-April.  Please register your interest by emailing ECU.

The training day is suitable for 16-20 participants, with the host Local Authority or organisation providing a suitable venue and catering.  Read more about the content of the training day.

Making it REAL builds on the learning from Sheffield’s Raising Early Achievement in Literacy project*. REAL is an evidence-based approach that reaches out to parents and families, building confidence and knowledge to support the early home learning environment: it has a powerful impact on children’s outcomes and on family literacy practice.

*Read more about REAL at:

A Know How Guide: the EYFS progress check at two

NCB is currently developing a half-day workshop to support practitioners in delivering the progress check at two.   If you are interested in commissioning this training, please send expressions of interest to [email protected]


Early Childhood Unit training and consultancy offers for 2013

If you are interested in commissioning tailored consultancy and training on a range of early years issues please get in touch on [email protected].  These can include:

  • Parents, Early Years and Learning (PEAL)
  • Listening to young children options including the Mosaic approach
  • Mentoring
  • Quality Provision for Two-Year-Olds – A partnership approach
  • Leadership

For further information about these courses please visit:

Contact a Family

Important advice for families with disabled children on ‘bedroom tax’

In light of the announcement on ‘bedroom tax’–-government-drops-court-challenge-on-discriminatory-rules-cases/ on 12 March 2013, Contact a Family has issued important advice for families. Read advice

Benefits are changing
Over the next few months the government will launch the biggest shake up of the UK benefits system in over 30 years. Contact a Family has produced an overview of what this may mean for families of disabled children. See our new web pages, for when and how benefits are changing. Also, Personal independence payment, universal credit and other forthcoming benefit changes guide is available from the Contact a Family freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555.

A step forward for the Children and Families Bill in England
Srabani Sen, Chief Executive of Contact a Family, gave evidence to a committee of MPs looking at the children and families billfin in England. She represented our campaign Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM). Read our article

Disabled children illegally excluded from school every week
Disabled children are routinely illegally excluded from school with a devastating impact on their education and mental health, according to new research from Contact a Family. Read report find out more about exclusions here



Parenting UK is an online service designed to support and encourage parents and carers of children aged 5-19, with a collection of videos addressing day-to-day questions and concerns spanning wellbeing, behaviour and learning. features a collection of short and engaging parenting support videos with links to existing services for further information, advice and support where needed. In producing these videos we have engaged experts and parents every step of the way.

This is a collaborative project, pooling together expertise from three partners, initially funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. We are:
Parenting UK, a national membership body with access to parenting knowledge across the sector
Tomorrows Child, a production company with a background in child health and wellbeing
Capablue, digital media experts with a history of successful online video services

In addition to the site, the videos are available for use on other sites. If you would like parenting videos to be available on your website, just click on ’embed video’ during playback and follow the instructions, or get in touch with us if you need any assistance.


Children’s Food Trust

Have you seen our latest research on pre-school food? If you work at a nursery, children’s centre or other childcare provider, or if you’re based in a local authority and you work with childcare providers, we can help you address the issues from this survey. We offer specialist training to help you introduce the Government-backed Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England and our courses will help you put these practical steps into action.

You can also buy copies of the guidelines and supporting menu books via our online shop.

Contact Eleanor to find out more: Email: [email protected] Tel: 0114 299 6907. Or visit our website:

Montessori St Nicholas

“Learning Together: What Montessori can offer your family”


Montessori St Nicholas, the UK’s Montessori charity, is delighted to announce the publication of its first parenting book. The book takes a fresh look at family life to help parents put the child at the heart of the home and unlock their amazing potential. Packed with ideas and advice, it is relevant to parents of young children from birth upwards.

Better parenting starts from birth and is central to the life chances of every child. The book starts out exploring the first year of a baby’s life as a time of extraordinary growth and development. It stresses the key roles played by attachment, movement and communication.

The book explains what the Montessori philosophy of “follow the child” means and discusses key elements of the approach which embraces child-led, natural and favourable learning environments.

There are lovely personal insights from parents on how to promote a child’s independence through the daily routines of everyday family life: from getting dressed, personal hygiene, eating, and packing a bag to ideas on how to adapt a living space around the needs of the child.

The book includes personal voices of parents from a range of different perspectives talking about parenting and encouraging a child’s independence.

Author, Kathi Hughes attended Montessori schools in the US building a foundation that has stuck with her throughout her life. She trained as a Montessori teacher at Montessori Centre International.

To find out more details about the book email: [email protected], tel: 020 7493 8300 or go to and checkout bookstore.

WAVE Trust

Focus on under 2’s – report from the special interest group: “Conception to age 2 – the age of opportunity”

The work of the special interest group set up by the DfE was published on the 22nd March with the Wave Trust’s report into fulfilling lives through providing the highest possible quality of care for mother and child at the earliest opportunity. The new report, entitled ‘Conception to Age 2 – the age of opportunity’ highlights the importance of support services for parents and child between the point of conception and age 2, during which time new research suggests there is a most effective interaction between mother and child.

The report also places an emphasis on the value of local intervention to develop secure attachment, with a full health and social care assessment by 12 weeks of pregnancy. Based primarily on the advice provided by practitioners, the trust and their new report has emphasised the vitality of attachment between parent and child during the point of conception to the age of two, and the cumulative effect of suffering during this time in later life.

Speakers at the launch included Andrea Leadsom MP, Jon Rouse and George Hosking, who gave a detailed presentation on the importance of Sure Start centres in providing this early care, and of the vital role nurses and practitioners at this level could play in ensuring a child received all of the support, love and care they needed in the early years – in order to allow them to realise their full potential.

After the speeches, a brief Q and A was held in which Baroness Howe challenged certain assumptions of the existing early years advocates, and raised the issue of stigmatising those mothers that needed help by criticising rather than seeking to support them in the first few weeks and months after pregnancy.

Further details of the launch event, including photos and video footage of the speeches are available on the Wave Trust’s website.

You can download the report here:

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