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Early years in schools

The Department for Education would like to see more schools offering early education, either themselves, or in partnership with a private, voluntary or independent provider. To support this, the Department for Education is running a demonstrations project with around 45 schools as they prepare for, and begin to deliver early education for two year olds over the academic year 2013/14.

The project will produce a number of practical products, including: good practice and lessons learned in providing the type of care and early education best suited to two year olds; information about the experiences of schools and parents; detailed case studies; and help in establishing peer support. Updates on how this project is progressing will be included in this newsletter and posted on

Information Sharing

The Department of Health and the Department for Education commissioned Jean Gross CBE, former Communication Champion for children and young people, to  chair a group of early years and health professionals to explore on-going barriers to information sharing in the early years and to identify examples of good practice.

Information Sharing in the Foundation Years is the culmination of this work.  The report is accompanied by a Ministerial letter to Jean Gross and her group welcoming the report and the good practice gathered.  It is also supported by a related suite of best-practice tools.

The report and associated documents can be found on the Foundations website here.


Early years apprenticeship bursary doubled to £3,000

The early years apprenticeship bursary scheme launched on 9 September 2013 and is targeted at new apprentices entering the early education and child care sector.

Viewed as a transitional measure, before the introduction of Early Years Educator qualification in 2014, the scheme seeks to support the delivery of the new early learning places for 2-year-olds.

Further information can be found on the department’s website.

Who can apply?

The application process for the bursary scheme is open to apprentices, including ‘childminder assistants’, who:

  • commenced employment after 1 June 2013 and are in training on the level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship for Children and Young People’s Workforce
  • hold a GCSE grade C or above in English and maths in advance of commencing employment
  • working in a setting delivering early learning places for 2-year-olds
  • have three months experience in employment and training

Scheme details

Applicants need to submit an application form via the website. For a candidate to be successful, they need to provide evidence they meet the criteria identified above.

The first 200 successful applications will each receive a £3,000 bursary payment. The remaining successful applicants will each receive £1,500.  All payments are subject to tax and national insurance. The payment is administered through their employer who will receive an additional payment to cover employers NI contributions.

A training allowance of £300 (including VAT) is also available. To secure the additional allowance, the apprentice and employer must identify suitable training and submit a business case to the NCTL. Though the NCTL believe an apprentice and employer are best placed to identify any additional training requirement, it is expected the training will enhance an apprentice’s ability to work and interact with 2-year-olds in a setting.

Once a business case has been agreed by the NCTL, the employer will be required to procure training and provide the NCTL with a receipt before payment is released.

Due to the limited number of bursaries available the NCTL will be administering applications on a first come first served basis. Successful applicants are expected to identify additional training within three months of receiving the bursary award.


Childminder agencies

Legislation to enable the creation of childminder agencies continues through Parliament.  The latest documents to support the passage of the Children and Families Bill, which includes the CMA provisions, can be found here. These include an updated policy statement for CMAs.

In addition to Bill documentation, further information about childminder agencies – including the trials that are being run – can be found on the government website and on the strategic partner website.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the CMA trials through this website.

Two year olds accessing free early education

The Department for Education has announced that over 92,000 two-year-olds are now accessing a funded early learning place. This is a huge increase on the 20,000 children accessing free early education in 2010, and represents over 70% of those children that have been identified as being eligible under the scheme.

Education and Childcare Minister, Elizabeth Truss MP, said this was “a tremendous achievement of the local authorities and childcare providers that have participated.” Further information can be found here.

Good practice case studies – early learning for two year olds

A new section on the Foundation Years website will demonstrate good practice in the sector.  This month we have two case studies from Telford & Wrekin of childminders accessing the free early learning for two year olds entitlement.

Find out more here

Next month we will focus on good practice in teaching and learning.

If you have any good practice examples you would like to share then please email: [email protected]



Consultation on the Early Years in the Code of Practice – Special Educational Needs

This Code of Practice is statutory guidance for organisations who work with and support children and young people with SEN and disability and their parents.  Click on the link below to read the relevant sections of the Code for early years.

This consultation closes on the 9th December 2013, visit the GOV.UK website for more information.

  • Chapter      1 – general messages about the purpose of the Code
  • Chapter      2 – principles underpinning the Code which applies to all
  • Chapter      6 – specific guidance about support for children with SEN in the early      years

Download Code of Practice areas relevant to early years

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