Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Communication Trust

No Pens Day Wednesday – another year another success!

The Communication Trust runs No Pens Day Wednesday and 2013 was the third year of this national speaking and listening event.  It’s all about promoting the importance of speaking and listening activities and 2013 was the most popular event by far with more than double the numbers previously reached signing up – over 2,480 schools!

After the event, the Communication Trust undertook an online evaluation survey with those who had taken part to find out what had worked well, how it could be improved in the future and, most importantly, how No Pens Day Wednesday had raised awareness of speech, language and communication and impacted on teaching and learning in schools.  Almost 100 participants took part in the survey.  Among other things they found that:

  • 89% of respondents said that taking part in No Pens Day Wednesday raised their awareness of speech, language and communication needs
  • 69% said they’d do things differently around school as a result of their involvement
  • over 10% of respondents said they were hoping to run No Pens Day Wednesday more regularly in their school now

Please find the summary report here.

The Communication Trust will soon be announcing the date for this year’s event so please watch this space!

Family Action

 family action

Childcare in Schools

If you are a school or other childcare provider and are interested in setting up childcare provision for older pupils on a school site, take a look at Family Action’s training and events page to find out about our forthcoming workshops.

With funding from the Department for Education, Family Action is offering free ‘Dismantling the Barriers’ workshops across the country.  These will offer school staff/volunteers and any childcare providers the opportunity to learn how they can set up and deliver flexible, affordable childcare on a school site.

About the training

The free workshops will focus on the barriers that schools and other childcare providers typically face when setting up school-based childcare for older pupils – and what practical measures can be taken to dismantle these.  Family Action will be drawing on their own recent experiences of working with schools to create new childcare provision, which is due to be launched in April.

Family Action will soon be publishing dates of their open training in London and the North West.  Email [email protected] if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

If you are interested in the training, but live outside London and the North West, they’d be happy to bring the workshops to you.  Please email [email protected]  for details.

Learn more about the Childcare in Schools programme by:

–          visiting the Learning Exchange website

–          subscribing to our Learning Exchange enewsletter

–          contacting the programme manager, Patricia Morgan, on [email protected]


Numbers count – new maths resources and training to support maths in early years

Maths is a specific area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage and providing fun and interactive opportunities to support children in learning early mathematical concepts, such as numbers and calculating, will provide strong foundations for future development across all areas of learning.

NDNA has developed three online training courses to enable all early years practitioners to confidently support children to enjoy maths:

Maths in Early Years is an overview course which looks at the key research and enables practitioners to confidently observe and plan mathematics and adapt play to meet children’s individual learning styles and schematic behaviours.

The Let’s Look at… courses are bite-sized courses which provide lots of information and fun practical ideas to incorporate into play for children of all ages.

Special offer: You can buy all three online courses for just £50 for NDNA members, £70 for non-members.

In-house Maths in Early Years Training is also available to enable all staff at your nursery to understand and confidently support children’s mathematical development.

A new publication Your essential guide to supporting maths through rhymes uses songs, rhymes and activity ideas to enable children to learn problem solving skills and early mathematical language and concepts in a fun, musical and interactive arena. Priced £11 for NDNA members, £14 for non-members.

For more information go to

Contact a Family

Improving outcomes for parents with disabled children

Contact a Family offers free sessions for groups of parents with disabled children on topics from money matters to preparing for the future. To book at workshop at your session, you can email.  For more information on topics see their webpage

Help for parents worried about their child’s development

Contact a Family’s latest guide, Developmental Delay, is aimed at parents worried about their child’s development or who have been told that their child has developmental delay. The free, practical and short booklet also includes a useful pull-out poster to help parents recognise the key skills developed by most children between birth and five years of age, and to encourage them to visit their GP if they are anxious their child isn’t reaching these important developmental milestones. More about guide and for advice please call the Contact a Family helpline 0808 808 3555.


Montessori for Child Minders: New online CPD Course

Montessori Centre International is excited to announce the launch of a new online course, Montessori for Childminders. The course enables registered childminders to build on their current qualifications and explore the inspirational Montessori approach to education from the comfort of home.

Barbara Isaacs, Director of National Strategies at Montessori says, “Montessori Centre International’s ground breaking new course is the first to be aimed exclusively at childminders. A nurturing home environment provides children with a secure and stimulating base for early development and we hope that the many practical and creative course ideas will be useful to everyone engaged with children in the home.”

The online course consists of six modules. It starts with an explanation of Montessori: background and context and then covers * The Child * The Environment * The Montessori Childminder * Important principles of Montessori and Montessori and Contemporary Research. An experienced Montessori mentor is on hand to support the learning process and there are self-assessment activities to enhance study.

Childminders who have completed the pilot scheme have already commented on how the course has helped them self-evaluate their current practice and introduce new activities and approaches to benefit the children in their care. The course offers childminders the opportunity to promote their setting to prospective parents with a new, unique selling point. It also extends Montessori’s reach to families who don’t currently access Montessori in a nursery setting.

For further information on this new course, please email: [email protected] or visit

The Children’s Food Trust

The Children’s Food Trust Eat Better, Start Better Phase 2 Evaluation Report has been published, including the results from all 20 local authorities that took part in Phase 2 of the programme.  The report is available online.

The Children’s Food Trust has expanded its products and services and published research demonstrating the impact of these on early years food provision. The Trust now offers a range of expertise, evidence-based resources and accredited early years food and nutrition training to support children centres, childminders and nurseries to follow national best practice in their approach to food, and demonstrate this to parents and to Ofsted. This support includes:

Resources: Support settings to provide ‘healthy, balanced and nutritious’ food and drink in line with EYFS welfare requirements. You can download free copies of a practical guide and seasonal menu and recipe books from the Children’s Food Trust website, or order copies from the online shop.

Nutrition advice: if your settings need advice about meeting the food and drink guidelines, they can contact one of the Registered Nutritionists for free of charge advice by email or telephone.

Accredited training: the Trust offers a range of training courses to help early years and health practitioners to understand and follow the food and drink guidelines. Our Eat Better, Start Better training recently received accreditation from the Royal Society of Public Health.

Endorsed e-learning: in September 2013 the Trust launched three early years courses on the Children’s Food Trust Learning Network.  Registration is free but to access the full site and all courses there is an annual membership fee.

The Children’s Food Trust Award: a national award scheme to recognise nurseries, childcare providers and schools for their excellence as champions of healthy eating for children. Register here to receive your free self-assessment form.

Let’s Get [email protected]: is a new website for families who want to cook healthy and nutritious meals at home. It gives access to 300 Let’s Get Cooking recipes, and tips about cooking with children, cooking on a budget, fussy eating and healthy eating information and ideas. Find out more.

If you are interested to receive more information please contact Eleanor Pryde, the Trust’s Eat Better, Start Better programme Contract Officer (Email:  [email protected]  Telephone: 0114 299 6907)


GroBrain is a range of flexible visual resources to use with parents and carers in antenatal and postnatal settings, one-to-one or in groups.  The resources help parents explore child development, bonding, attunement and brain development in an accessible and interactive way.

On-line Training

Grobrain realise many people find it difficult travelling to training, so are actively considering creating an on-line training package.

If you’re interested in taking part in a pilot on-line course for the Baby Massage sessions visit

Rosie Renshaw, Training and Marketing Executive, has contributed an article to GovToday on the possible impact of early stress on educational attainment.

View the article

Learn, Explore, Debate Events

We are pleased to announce that we will be running another round of FREE Learn, Explore, Debate events across England this March.

The dates for the events are:

  • Thursday 13 March, Manchester
  • Monday 17 March, London
  • Wednesday 19 March, Birmingham
  • Friday 21 March, Taunton
  • Thursday 27 March, Newcastle
  • Friday 28 March, Leeds

These events are aimed at organisations, local authorities and leaders and mangers of all schools and settings.  The sessions will give the opportunity for learning and sharing together as well as giving the latest information in relation to the Foundation Years.
For more information and to book your place please visit 

These events do fill up quickly so please book early to avoid disappointment.


Achieving Two Year Olds

Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO) is the national DfE support programme for providers and local authorities, delivered by Hempsall’s and Mott MacDonald.  A2YO’s aim is to support the implementation of free early learning for the least advantaged two year olds.  They are running a second programme of FREE nation-wide roadshows for group providers, children’s centres, schools and childminders.  Over 60 roadshows will occur over the next few months across daytimes, evenings and weekends, and you are invited to come along to the next dates in the diary:

In this spring programme all locations will offer afternoon roadshows (1.00pm registration-4.30pm) and evening roadshows (6.30pm registration-9.30pm)

13th February 2014 – Liverpool

28th February 2014 – London

3rd March 2014 – Exeter

4th March 2014 – Peterborough

11th March 2014 – Birmingham

James Hempsall, National Support Director says:

“The autumn term roadshows have been extremely popular, well attended and well received. Providers, childminders and schools are eager to find out more about developments across the country, what to be considering, how to work with local authorities, and things that could or should be done. There is significant interest in the business and funding opportunities provided by the extension to early learning for two year olds. We are pleased to be extending the programme into the spring term. The new programme includes evening roadshows which will offer opportunities to providers and childminders who are unable to  attend during working hours.”

Don’t miss out on your FREE place.  To book contact [email protected] or download a booking form by visiting the A2YO page at

Children England

Children England has now published its full programme for the voting summit on 27 February 2014.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Lucy Heller, Managing Director of ARK Schools
  • Naomi Eisenstadt CB, the first director of the Sure Start Unit
  • Fiona Weir, Chief Executive of Gingerbread
  • David Holmes, Chief Executive of Family Action
  • Wendy Ellyatt, Founding Director and CEO of the Save Childhood Movement
  • Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive of the Who Cares? Trust
  • Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive of London Youth
  • Graham Duncan, Chief Executive of Action for Kids
  • Vaughan Jones, Chief Executive of Praxis
  • Paola Uccellari, Director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England
  • Jonathan Stanley, Chief Executive of the Independent Children’s Homes Association

Remember, the event is free for Children England members and each Children England member will receive one vote (though you can send as many delegates as you like).

Non-members are welcome to attend but will not be able to vote.  If you would like to vote but aren’t yet a member then you can join Children England for 2014/15 (April 2014 to March 2015) and have your membership activated immediately, allowing you to vote.  For more information about this offer please contact Lisa Byrne

To book your place, please click here

No comments yet.