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Early Years theme grant holders

The Department for Education has announced 16 specific early years and childcare grants to voluntary and community organisations.  These grants are:

4Children ‘Community Childcare and Early Learning hubs’: will bring together day care providers and childminders in Childcare Hubs to develop a financially sustainable model for a flexible childcare offer.

4Children ‘Reach Out’: will develop and disseminate best practice approaches that will help commissioners and Children’s Centres reach out and deliver the biggest impact to disadvantaged families.

Action for Children: will recruit and train 630 new child minders to help meet demand, and support disabled, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Barnardo’s: will improve the availability and flexibility of high quality childcare provision and increase parental employment.

The Communication Trust: will develop and test an accredited e-learning qualification to promote healthy speech and language development.

Family Action: will increase the supply of sustainable and affordable wraparound care in schools in areas with insufficient provision.

Family and Childcare Trust: will improve access to early education and childcare services for disadvantaged families by developing and delivering ‘Parent Champions Plus’.

The Fatherhood Institute: will embed fathers into everyday practice and increase fathers’ engagement in their children’s learning.

Home-Start UK: will lead a parenting and school readiness initiative through an expansion of trained volunteers to provide intensive support to parents.

Institute of Wellbeing Ltd (IOW): will support Children’s Centres and other settings to engage and support disadvantaged families, using best practice resources and training.

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA): will undertake cross-cutting policy development and delivery of services to improve quality.

NCB ‘Making it REAL’: will develop accredited training routes for practitioners using a multi-media approach with a focus on supporting two-year olds.

The National Literacy Trust: will develop a model for Children’s Centres to improve engagement of vulnerable families and support volunteers to improve children’s early literacy and language skills.

OXPIP: The Oxford Parent Infant Project: will support the emerging PIP movement so it can develop, grow and widen access to parent-infant psychotherapy for 0-2 year olds.

Pen Green Centre for Children and Families and Research Centre: will offer training and accreditation courses focusing on support for nurseries and child minders including two-year olds.

Pre-school Learning Alliance: will deliver workforce training to improve early education and childcare settings, enabling all children to succeed.



Early Support

Early Support are asking you for your feedback on their resources and materials via short surveys.

Each survey should take no more than 10 minutes.

For parent/carers, a young person or professional, please complete the following survey:

Feedback on behalf of a group, please complete this survey:

Feedback for the Early Years Developmental Journal.

If you experience any problem with the surveys then please contact [email protected]

Early Development Journal

The ‘Practice Guide to the Early Years Developmental Journal’ is available to download from Early Support’s website

The Practice Guide gives supplementary guidance and information on how the Journal can be used in keyworking, to support and enhance partnerships between families and practitioners.


Bright futures: local children, local approaches

The LGA has published a report ‘Bright futures: local children, local approaches’ looking at how councils are using children’s centres to help deliver early intervention through integrated health provision and getting children school-ready, to a more formal community budget approach

Local authorities understand the importance of a child’s early years in their future development and quality of life. Councils play a fundamental role in promoting children’s well-being and improving outcomes for young children and their families with children’s centres being one of a range of important resources councils use to help achieve this.

The plethora of case studies in this publication shows how councils up and down the country are using children’s centres to help deliver early intervention through integrated health provision and getting children school-ready, to a more formal community budget approach

You can read the report in full here


New essential guides from NDNA

NDNA has launched two new publications in its range of essential guides which provide practical, valuable help and advice for early years professionals.

‘Your essential guide to effective inductions’ gives guidance on conducting effective inductions to introduce new members of staff to the setting so that they have the knowledge and understanding about the organisation to fulfil their responsibilities and support the children in their care. The guide looks at the various roles in the induction process and the different aspects of coaching, mentoring, motivation and learning styles. Example induction templates are included.

Your essential pocket guide to working with vulnerable families’ looks at what makes a family vulnerable and how best to support them. The guide is underpinned by research and government policy and is a vital source of information for those working with the vulnerable families who may be eligible for two year old funding.

For more information and to order:


The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust is embarking on an exciting new project piloting an e-learning platform for the Level 3 Award: Supporting Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication funded by the Department for Education VCS Grant Scheme.

This Level 3 Award currently sits on the Qualification and Credits Framework, with high demand to access it from learners, settings and local authorities. However the mechanisms for accreditation are limited. The Communication Trust, in cross-sector partnership aims to develop a sustainable e-learning platform that will support early year’s practitioners to access this robust Level 3 qualification in speech, language and communication via an online modular approach.

This 2 year pilot will enable practitioners to have access to the qualification across early years settings via a not-for-profit e-learning platform. The Communication Trust will act as the lead body with the following partners as a consortium:

  • Relevant awarding bodies
  • Puffin Nursery Group
  • Lewisham Healthcare Trust
  • Central Bedfordshire Council

In order to deliver the following key outcomes:

  • Improved early years quality provision.
  • Effective practice in working with children to support their speech, language and communication, including children with EAL.
  • Effective practice with parents, carers and families to support their children’s speech, language and communication development.
  • Early identification of children with delayed Speech Language and Communication and effective use of the 2 year check.

Background Information:

The Communication Trust is a coalition of 47 voluntary and community organisations with expertise in speech, language and communication. We harness our collective expertise to support the children’s workforce and commissioners to meet the speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) of all children and young people, particularly those who need extra help.

We do this by raising awareness, providing information and workforce development opportunities, influencing policy, promoting best practice among the children’s workforce and commissioning work from our members. The trust is advised by specialist advisers and works with a broader network of partners.

Wraparound Childcare in Schools

Family Action has received funding from the Department for Education to provide targeted support to a number of schools in two areas of the country (the North West and London), in order to improve the availability of affordable and flexible wraparound childcare for children aged 8 to 14. This wraparound childcare provision will enable more parents to work or take up training opportunities.

‘Wraparound childcare is about parents and carers being able to leave their children at school between 8am and 6pm, 50 weeks per year.’ (Pat Morgan, Programme Manager)

Overcoming Barriers
Family Action will be working with a variety of schools to overcome the barriers that are preventing them from offering wraparound childcare. Selected schools will receive free and bespoke support to develop or commission their childcare provision, which will be ready for delivery by April 2014.

The Learning Exchange –
The learning from participating schools will be gathered and disseminated by Family Action though a bespoke website, the Learning Exchange, and regional seminars, to which other interested schools will be invited. Throughout the two-year programme, a universal offer of support will be provided via the Learning Exchange to all schools throughout the country that wish to develop wraparound childcare provision.

Keep an eye out for the latest case studies, information and free resources on how schools are meeting the needs of the modern family:

You can find out more about Family Action’s work with schools through our exciting new NAHT partnership:


News from 4Children

4Children and Take a Break are once again searching the UK for the most inspirational Family Heroes. We want to hear from you if you know someone who has had a significant and life changing impact on the lives of children, families or young people within the UK.  We are looking for a family hero in each of the UK regions then we will choose an overall UK Family Hero who will win £5000! To nominate your hero or to get more information about the awards please visit


Supporting Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers

British parents rely on a complex support network in bringing up their children – including nurseries, childminders, grandparents and extended family – all of whom play an important role in feeding their toddlers. In fact, a survey by the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) shows the average toddler typically has almost 30% of their meals provided by people other than their parents.

Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers

On that basis 4Children is delighted to partner with the ITF and their Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers programme to provide support to early years practitioners in managing toddler mealtimes and promote healthy behaviours around food.

“To approach feeding toddlers with confidence, carers need consistent, simple and sound advice that can be applied everywhere toddlers are fed”, comments Atul Singhal, Chair of the Infant & Toddler Forum and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond Street Hospital. “This is exactly what the ITF has developed with the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers. ‘Ten Steps’ is an easy-to-use guide for parents, carers and early years practitioners on what food to offer toddlers, what behaviour to encourage and how best to manage mealtimes.”

For the last two years the Infant & Toddler Forum has been working hard to encourage wider adoption of Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers, working in partnership with early years and nursery settings across the country, including the Pre-school Learning Alliance, Busy Bees and London Early Years Foundation.

The aim of the Ten Steps programme is to supply settings with resources that help them to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Since the introduction of the Ten Steps, settings have reported mealtimes to be calmer, more social experiences with increased staff confidence when advising parents on toddler feeding and behaviours.

Get involved!

Adopting the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers in your setting is easy! Follow this link to start using the downloadable materials for parents and practitioners.

Infant & Toddler Forum

The Infant & Toddler Forum is a group of leading experts who specialise in early years nutrition and development. The ITF develops evidence-based resources to support with the nutrition and development of children.


Forest Childcare – “Branding” Outdoor Outings

The Forest Childcare Association has launched this month to encourage childminders and nannies to take children on more outdoor outings. Outdoor outings to parks, playgrounds, woodlands, forests and green spaces have enormous benefits for small children and the adults who look after them. Forest Childcare is also a business opportunity for childminders and nannies, giving them the tools they need to “sell the dream of the outdoors” to parents.

To join the Forest Childcare Association, childcare providers have to sign up to the Five Principles of Forest Childcare which are based on the principles of the Forest School movement. The principles include agreeing to take the children on an outdoor outing normally once a week, all year round, whatever the weather. Forest Childcare, therefore, is certainly not going to be for everybody! But for those childminders and nannies who do sign up, it will offer an assurance of top quality care to both parents and Ofsted.

As well as being great for children, Forest Childcare is a way to help childminders and nannies to fill vacancies. Parents want their children to spend more time outdoors and to go on more outings. Childminders and nannies can take children on more outings than nurseries can, and this is a big selling point. Promoted cleverly, outings can even make parents choose a childcare provider who offers regular outdoor outings over a cheaper one who doesn’t.

It is very easy to become a Forest Childcare Provider. There is no course to attend. All childminders or nannies can train themselves by reading the training guide and self-certifying. The entire pack can be purchased from the Kids To Go website for £15 and includes the training guide with background information about the benefits of the outdoors to children, links to the EYFS, plus practicalities, safety concerns and risk assessments associated with outdoor outings. Also included are 50 crafts and activities with outdoor themes, business tools to help fill vacancies, and a membership certificate. This is a one-time fee; there is no membership to renew.

For more information on Forest Childcare:

Kids To Go sells EYFS paperwork and EYFS activities to childminders, nannies and nurseries. Its founder, Kay Woods, is the author of the Start Learning book series published by Tarquin in 2012 to educate parents about the EYFS. Kay runs her company part time alongside continuing to work as a part time outstanding childminder. Her unique products, which she has developed over the last five years alongside the children she cares for, include a diversity awareness CD, EYFS Art Projects and her latest product is the Forest Childcare Association Pack, encouraging home-based childcare providers to spend more time with the children outdoors.

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