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4Children – Community Childcare and Early Learning Hubs

The nine Community Childcare and Early Learning Hubs are now into Year 2 of the project and the Hubs are working with a variety of early years settings to improve childcare in their local area.  The Hubs are working towards three goals – improving quality, offering blended childcare to parents and supporting the provision of new childcare places as required.  DragonFisher Hub in York are currently creating leaflets and a website which they will use to engage parents in order to help them find childcare that meets their needs.  Severn View Primary Academy Hub in Stroud has been working closely with both early years settings and childminders to create training around improving quality.

4Children has gathered all the learning from the first year of the project to create a toolkit of resources which contains background information to the project, resources and case studies which is available here. 4Children are now looking to engage new providers or early years settings who would like to become a Hub.  More information about the nine Hubs and toolkit can be found at:

If you are interested in finding out more about the Early Learning and Childcare Hubs programme and how to become one please contact [email protected].


4Children – Reach Out

We would like to hear about how well you doing with data management and data sharing.

The Reach Out programme (link) is working with children’s centres to develop an Outcomes Framework.  One of the key issues is accessing data to establish a baseline and to track progress.

From our work it is clear that some children’s centres have strategic agreements in place to ensure data is shared and accessed.  They also have adequate systems in place to support children’s centres work.  However others do not.

Could you let us know what factors make baseline and tracking data work for you?  For example; Is it leadership?  Clear local strategic agreements?  Good data presentation and updating?

If you can share this information then please contact John Alwyine-Mosely to help prepare a case study to share with others,


The Communication Trust – No Pens Day Wednesday returns

The Communication Trust’s national speaking and listening event, No Pens Day Wednesday is back for 2014!  The event encourages schools and early years settings to put down their pens and pick up their language, providing free resources to support a full day of learning focussed totally on speaking and listening.

For 2014 we’re continuing to support mainstream primary and secondary settings, however, due to the SEND reforms and feedback from practitioners, we’re also providing additional resources specifically for the early years and SEN. This will include lesson plans and guidance materials for early years settings and special schools, helping to support all settings in delivering the SEND reforms and to prioritise communication for children and young people with SEND.

This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday 15th October, but schools and settings can run it whenever works best for them. Last year No Pens Day Wednesday reached over 2,500 schools – help to spread the word to even more schools and settings this year by sharing this flyer with your relevant early years networks.

We’ll be launching the 2014 Activity Pack in the week commencing 23rd June and the full range of new resources will be available early in the autumn term! You can find out more and sign up to take part on our website here

If you have any questions about No Pens Day Wednesday please contact Jo Bolton on [email protected]


Family Action – Childcare in schools

Supporting schools to provide childcare from 8am to 6pm, 50 weeks a year

The Childcare in Schools team spent a great couple of days recently running the Family Action stall at the NAHT conference in Birmingham, meeting a number of headteachers who are interested in setting up school-based childcare.

Clearly where to start can be daunting, so people were glad to see that Family Acton is being supported by the Department for Education to offer free advice, information and resources via the Learning Exchange website.

Free training for schools

If you are interested in learning how to overcome barriers to offer school-based childcare and holiday provision for older pupils (8am to 6pm, 50 weeks a year), register for free training workshops.

These are being held around the country between now and the end of the year, the next ones being:

  • East Sussex: 25 June
  • Atherton (NW): 25 June
  • Northumberland: 4 July
  • Wigan (NW): 4 July (for special schools)
  • Coventry: 11 July (for special schools).

Keep an eye on the latest schedule for details about all our forthcoming sessions.

For more information and to book yourself a place email the Childcare in Schools team.

And if you can’t attend yourself, please tell your colleagues and other schools in your area about the events!

Find out more

Learn more about the Childcare in Schools programme:


New Family and Childcare Trust leaflet – ‘Is your child two?’

Family and Childcare Trust has just produced an A5 leaflet for parents on the free childcare places for two-year-olds, which you can view here.  If you are part of our Parent Champions National Network you can order bulk copies for free for your Parent Champions scheme, or otherwise you can purchase them – please contact [email protected]  The leaflet lists the 2014 criteria for eligible families, and has been published in response to a demand for more resources to help explain the offer to families –


National Children’s Bureau (NCB) – Making it REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy)

Free one day training! Making it REAL training enables practitioners to use the REAL evidence-based approach that reaches out to parents and families, building confidence and knowledge to support the early home learning environment: this has a powerful impact on children’s outcomes and on family literacy practice.  The training has been developed from NCB’s successful partnership project with the University of Sheffield, and Oldham and Sheffield local authorities, and builds on the learning from Sheffield’s Raising Early Achievement in Literacy project.

Book now for the next regional training event taking place in Bristol on Thursday 3 July 2014.  Places are still available for up to four members of staff per setting or organization; to book please follow the link to NCB’s eventbrite page here.

Group training events are also available As part of the project NCB is offering organisations, groups and local authorities group training events for 20 participants (one event per local authority area).  As the number of events is limited, priority will be given to new areas and groups that have not yet received the training.  To book and for further information please email [email protected] or call 020 7833 6807.  NCB is also offering consultancy and training packages to support settings, schools and local authorities in developing Making it REAL projects – these are available with discounts when combined with NCB’s Early Childhood Gold Membership subscription.


National Literacy Trust – Early Words Together Programme

Early Words Together (EWT) is an early years programme run by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) aiming to assist parents and carers to improve the early home learning environment.  It supports parents and children aged 2-5, through a six-week structured programme to enhance families’ confidence and skills with communication and sharing books and rhymes, delivered by trained community volunteers.

National Literacy Trust (NLT) held a successful Peer Review Forum on 14/5/14, attended by Early Words Together Co-ordinators from 12 local authorities and our two evaluators: Coventry University and OPM.

Practitioners held sharing good practice workshops and explored diverse approaches to delivering the programme, relevant to local needs.

A summary of Early Year’s Policy and Practice, presented by Dr Cathy Hamer, was highly regarded and reinforced the necessity of early intervention and the importance of home learning environments, with the potential of changing children’s outcomes.

Action Planning was conducted with key ideas recorded, such as Rochdale’s Co-ordinator, aiming to hold a:

“Big literacy push in children’s centres to highlight benefits of literacy skills on school readiness.”


“Reinforce partnership delivery, engaging both housing associations and community centres.”

Some of the key benefits of Early Words Together reported by Co-ordinators, included:

  • Implementing key Local Authority aims: improving children’s communication skills andengagement with parents.
  • Increasing partnership working, by engaging with schools and PVI’s to raise awareness of local services and how these can help their families.
  • Assisting clusters of Early Year’s agencies, Children’s Social Care and local voluntary sectors, to work more closely together and share good practice and resources.
  • Schools and nurseries have been effective referral partners in several areas, introducing both families and potential parent volunteers to this early home learning support.
  • A structured programme to offer to providers of two year free education, to engage families and support learning through play at home, to increase early learning benefits to the child. Introduce the idea of a cross-team/department literacy strategy covering   skills, early years, primary and secondary education teams!
  • Participants were positive about the Programme and constructive feedback included the application of Early Words Together in the development of Literacy Strategies, such as Sheffield’s, encouraging another area to:

Practitioners can find information on how Early Words Together, works in partnership to support children’s reading, at and parents can find hints and tips on how to help their children at

Interested in hearing more?  Please contact Sue Denning


NDNA – Numbers are fun – become a Maths Champion

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)’s Maths Champions project aims to improve practitioners’ skills and raise their confidence in maths, supporting them to incorporate more early maths opportunities when planning learning and play for children.

The project is supported by the Department for Education and is now in its second year.

The Maths Champions project works with graduates (EYPs/EYTs) to support practitioners in their nursery to provide an enabling environment and increase opportunities for maths through play. Using the National Numeracy and Basic Key Skills Builder (BKSB) websites and tools, practitioners can assess their current level in maths and the use the online tools and resources to develop their numeracy skills and raise their confidence levels.

NDNA are looking for new Maths Champions to start in September. At a cost of £35 you will receive support, resources and links to help you to raise outcomes for children in maths in your nursery.

Contact [email protected] for more details and a registration form.



Applications are invited for OXPIP’s Parent Infant Psychotherapy and Parent Infant Practitioner trainings.  They are running Parent Infant Practitioner Training and Parent Infant Psychotherapist Training in 2015.

Courses start January 2015 but applications are being considered now. For more information on eligibility criteria, costs and how to apply please look at their website.


Good Practice Case Studies

4Children have been collecting case studies from a variety of practitioners in the early years, including nursery classes and childminders, to highlight areas of good practice that happens around the country in different settings.  These case studies cover a variety of topics including – creative planning, ICT record keeping and a childminder who takes early education funding for 2 year olds, and will interest early years practitioners from a range of settings.

The case studies can be viewed on our website

If you think you would be able to contribute towards a case study please email us a brief description of the good practice to [email protected]


EYFS Narrowing the gap

Supporting outcomes of the most vulnerable children

1 July – London

7 July – Leeds

To book on go call 020 7522 6970

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