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News from the Department for Education

Childminder Agencies 

The Ofsted consultation on the inspection of childminder agencies was lauched on 23 January and is open until 21 March.  The government recently published its response to the regulation of childcare consultation which also had an impact for childminder agencies with the removal of the requirement for local authorities to approve training.

Any organisations interested in setting up a childminder agency in their area can register their interest by contacting [email protected]

Entry requirements for Early Years Educator training

The National College for Teaching and Leadership has confirmed the entry requirements for all entrants to Early Years Educator training courses.

‘More great childcare’ (January 2013) set out the Government’s vision and plan of action for high quality early education and childcare.  It included the introduction of new level 3 Early Years Educator qualifications from September 2014, and an expectation that all entrants to Early Years Educator training courses will have secured GCSE’s in English and mathematics at grade C or above.  These reforms will raise the overall quality and literacy and numeracy skills of those entering the workforce.

The following changes will apply in relation to entry qualifications:

  • From 1 August 2014 Government funding of Early Years Educator training courses through the Skills Funding Agency will require GCSE English and maths, at grade C or above, on entry.  Training providers will be required to confirm learner’s prior achievement of GCSE Grade A*-C in both English/English Language and maths and record this in the Learning Agreement before enrolling learners on to Early Years Educator training.
  • The government intend to amend the Early Years Foundation Stage to make clear that to count in the existing staff: child ratios at level 3, staff holding a new Early Years Educator qualification must also have achieved GCSEs in English/English Language and maths, at grade C or above

Functional Skills will not be accepted as equivalents to GCSEs.

Staff holding existing qualifications will still be able to practice.  The new requirements will not be applied retrospectively.  This will ensure that practitioners already holding qualifications are not disadvantaged.

Further information on Early Years Educator is available here


Children’s Commissioner calls for evidence on child poverty

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson, has launched a call for evidence.

As part of the work on child poverty, the Commissioner is keen to collect evidence on the impact of health and early years provision on the outcomes of children aged 0-5 in low income families.

If you can signpost to information on programmes and services, in particular evaluations of services, please contact [email protected] by Friday 14 March.

You can view the letter from the Children’s Commissioner detailing the call for evidence here


Nominate someone outstanding for an honour

Do you know someone who has made a significant difference, has demonstrated exemplary or selfless service, earned the respect of their peers or improved the lives of those less able to help themselves?

The closing date for nominations from external organisations is 19th March.

The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world and has evolved over 650 years to the system we use today. In a system overseen by the Cabinet Office honours are awarded to people from all walks of life based on merit, for exceptional achievement or service.

The Department for Education (DfE) are delighted that people from the Early Years and Children in Care sector were recognised in the recent Queen’s New Year honours list but would like to see more being recognised in future rounds. DfE would therefore like to encourage you to consider whether you know of any individuals who you feel deserve to be recognised for their commitment and contribution to their communities through the honours system.  DfE are particularly keen to see nominations come from all parts of our diverse community and from across the country.

How do you nominate someone?

This link will take you to the webpage that will provide you with more information about the process and the forms for nominating someone.

Remember to support your case with details of what the candidate has achieved – i.e. what he or she did, the challenges that made their contribution special, and the significant difference that they’ve made to their community. Supporting testimonies really help to strengthen nominations.  If someone is being nominated, it is best to include as much evidence (and testimonies) as possible to support the individual nominations.

Nominations should be sent direct to the Cabinet Office honours secretariat via the contact details here.

News from the Department for Health

Getting to know your health visiting and school nursing service

The Department of Health has developed a factsheet for parents on ‘Getting to know your health visiting and school nursing service’.  It outlines what parents can expect from their local services and how health visitors can support children from 0-5 and their families.

You can find this information along with a range of other useful materials on the health section of our website


Start4Life Information Service for Parents

Start4Life and the NHS Information Service for Parents have merged to form the Start4Life Information Service for Parents – one source of advice and information for all parents-to-be and parents of under 5s.

If you work with the target audience please encourage them to sign up for the service and receive free email and texts covering all aspects of pregnancy and early years.  Search Start4Life or visit the sign-up page

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