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Community Childcare and Early Learning Hubs

The hubs project has received a lot of interest over the past few months from organisations interested in finding out more information and we are very excited to have 10 new hubs joining the project in year 2.  4Children are also pleased to announce that the hubs project will be given DfE approved funding to provide bespoke support to the hubs with the SEN reforms to ensure that all children with SEND have adequate childcare options in their local area.

4Children have created a toolkit of in-depth information about the project, case studies and resources for anyone in the early years who is interested in finding out more about the project or is interested in becoming a hub. For more information about the hubs project please visit our Hubs webpage or email [email protected]


Childminder Agencies

St Bede Academy in Bolton is the first childminder agency to become registered with Ofsted. They decided to become a childminder agency in order to be able to offer parents a choice of childcare options – nursery, out of school care or a childminder service while ensuring that whatever choice of childcare a family made there would be consistent high quality and flexibility in terms of time and cost.

Childminder agencies are ‘one-stop shop’ organisations that will register childminders, help childminders with training, business support, advice and finding parents. They will also provide a valuable service for parents who want to find a high quality childminder.

4Children have received a lot of interest from both organisations and individuals interested in finding out more about childminder agencies and have developed a toolkit of resources to support organisations. If you would like to find out more information about childminder agencies or are interested in becoming an agency please contact us to be added to our mailing list for regular updates and events.

Please email [email protected] to register your interest.


The Communication Trust

No Pens Day Wednesday 2014-tell us what you thought

Wednesday 15th October was the 4th annual No Pens Day Wednesday event from The Communication Trust but the first time the event had materials specifically for early years settings. We were so impressed by all the fantastic work that went on across the country and the event was our biggest yet with over 3,600 mainstream schools, special schools and early years settings signed up to take part!

We’ve now launched the evaluation for the 2014 event and are keen to hear from as many respondents as possible. Last year the evaluation was extremely helpful, and the feedback we received was what led us to extend the day to early years settings and special schools- so you know it really makes a difference! Completing our short survey is essential to helping us improve No Pens Day Wednesday next year and for being able to assess the impact it’s had.

If you took part, please take 10 minutes to complete the short evaluation survey here and if you have any contacts who you know took part please do forward it on to them to-

We’ve heard from settings and schools across the country sharing their experiences and talking about the activities they did, and how the pupils, parents and staff all got involved and we’ve also already had some lovely photos through. We’d love to hear more from early years settings who took part so if you took part or know a setting who did and would be interested in sharing your thoughts with us for a more detailed case study please do get in touch and join the conversation by emailing Jack Williams


Implementing the SEND reforms for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs

At The Communication Trust we’re committed to supporting all those implementing the SEND reforms, which came into effect on 1st September, to meet the needs of babies, children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and their families. Back in June we undertook a survey of practitioners to see how ready and supported they felt to deliver the reforms where we received over 200 respondents. The information shared in that survey was invaluable not only our lobbying and influencing work but also to help shape the resources, support and guidance we’re working on.

Now that the reforms are here and implementation is almost two months in, we’re really keen to see how things are going, what further support is needed and what the successes and challenges are so far for babies, children and young people with SLCN.

We’d be very grateful if you could complete this short survey and circulate it to all your relevant networks and contacts to complete too. This will help us build a picture of how things are going and we’ll use the information you share to continue to develop our resources and to feedback to key contacts.

The survey will close on November 14th so don’t delay in taking part!

Our plan is to repeat this survey in February 2015 and once more in June 2015 to build a really strong picture over time of how the reforms are impacting on babies, children and young people with SLCN.


Family Action – Childcare in Schools

Supporting schools to develop childcare and holiday provision

Free training

Are you thinking about developing childcare provision on a school site (eg breakfast, after-school or holiday club)? If so, it’s not too late to book a place on one of Family Action’s free training workshops.

  • 7 November 2014: Manchester
  • 3 December 2014: Exeter
  • 12 November 2014: Greenwich
  • 21 January 2015: Birmingham

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

Advice and support


Family and Childcare Trust

Guide to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities

The Family and Childcare Trust ‘Guide to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities’ is now available. This is a fully updated version of the previous Daycare Trust Guide to childcare for disabled children and is packed with information for families in England on:

  • Support from birth and SEN support from childcare providers
  • Choosing and paying for childcare
  • An outline of the Children and Families Act, the 0-25 SEND code of practice including the Local Offer
  • Details about the new Education, Health and Care assessment process and personal budgets
  • Challenging unfair decisions
  • Useful contacts.

The booklet is free to parents who can order a copy by emailing [email protected]. Organisations can order the booklet in bulk by at Family and Childcare Trust | Our shop.


National Literacy Trust

Highlights from the 2014 Talk To Your Baby conference: Born to learn – The keys to success

The scene for this annual policy, research and practice event was admirably set by Caroline Rowland, Professor of Developmental Psychology at University of Liverpool. Outlining how children learn language through understanding and producing speech sounds, learning what words mean, how to combine words into meaningful sentences and how to interpret messages, she explored the cognitive systems in the brain involved in learning to talk. The need for talking to babies is vital! However, there’s still lots we don’t know about language learning. Talk To Your Baby is delighted to be on the Advisory Board of the new ESRC International Centre for language and Communicative Development.

Today’s babies are growing up in a rapidly evolving environment of new technologies. What makes the difference are educators and families, as evidenced by the research of Dr Christine Stephen from the University of Stirling. Other environments have lots to offer too as shown by Manchester Art Gallery and Museums’ Babble and Chatter programme and Sarah Mears’ comprehensive overview of Babies and Libraries from Essex libraries and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians.

A real key to success in promoting communication and language for babies is an area wide strategic approach. Alex Williams from Warwickshire presented their Time To Talk vision, principles and strategy delivered through champions equipped with resources and clarity of monitoring, all knitted together to celebrate success. Helen Fidler from Sheffield described working with partners on a city wide strategy – Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate – to seek local and national opportunities to secure excellence.

Finding out about programmes that work can reap rewards for all. Professor Clare Woods from Coventry University and Sue Denning, Programme Manager, described Early Words Together, a National Literacy Trust programme working across the country with Children’s Centres to transform home learning environments through a targeted, peer led, literacy programme involving community volunteers. Jean Campbell and Donna Carrigan, South Lanarkshire Senior Educational Psychologists, gave an overview of the Framework for Assessment and Intervention for Attachment and Resilience: a research-based flexible approach to enhancing the resilience potential of babies and young children.

Hot topics included a comprehensive presentation by Nabiah Sohail, Speech and language Lab Ltd, on outcome measures, Gill Jones’ talk on the role of Ofsted and Caroline Hart from Hackney presenting a partnership approach to delivering the Progress Check at Two and the Healthy Child Programme 2 year review.

So what did was delegates’ feedback? “Fabulous range and content – very thought provoking – just so much to think about.” “Loved practical examples of work with under 2, gives inspiration and refresher.” “Interesting and inspiring talks which covered a good range of topics. Thank you – a really good conference. I hope to be with you next year!”

Talk To Your Baby offers presentations, training, a quality award for early years settings and quick tips available bilingually in 17 different languages for free download


NDNA autumn nursery survey – tell us your views and win a spa day

NDNA is carrying out a confidential autumn nursery survey to gain an informed overview of the state of the nursery sector. We will use the results to give authoritative recommendations for action to policy makers in the run-up to next year’s general election.

Your feedback is essential for NDNA to gain vital evidence on the issues facing nurseries, giving early years a strong voice with policy makers. To show our appreciation everyone who takes part will be put into a draw to win a fabulous spa day courtesy of Pound Gates. There will also be five runners-up who will each win an NDNA Early Years Development Zone course of their choice.

Take part in the survey:


Contact a Family

Rub it out!

Contact a Family’s new campaign to stop bullying of disabled children.

For stories from parents on how they have put a stop to bullying, read Connected here 

Get the Contact a Family guide for parents on dealing with dealing with bullying. Tips, sample letters & useful contacts.

Call 0808 808 3555 for a copy or download here.


The Essential Parent Company


The entire 8 hours of content of the Essential Baby Care Guide App is available free – until Dec 31st 2014. After that date, we will still be offering a substantial bundle of clips, but not the complete guide. So get in touch now and don’t miss out!

The Guide is advised by:

  • UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative
  • St John Ambulance
  • and many more UK medical experts.


All material follows DoH Guidelines.

The courses include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Formula Feeding
  • Introducing Solids
  • Care
  • Health
  • Crying, Colic and Massage
  • Development – Physical, Emotional, Social & Cognitive
  • Sleeping
  • First Aid
  • Safety

All the material is video based and is available as an app, online instant access (as from mid-Nov 2014), or as DVDs (with subtitles in Urdu, Arabic and simple English).

Please visit our website for more information, or email Diana Hill if you’re interested in the free app, or using the material online/ DVDs in a Children’s Centre or teaching course.



Do you support childminders to deliver early learning for two year olds? Are you a childminder wanting to take funded two year olds?

Are you working with schools to create two year old places? Are you a school wanting to develop early learning for two year old?

Would you like to share your successes and hear about what is working well in other areas?

A2YO are holding FREE in-depth events in London and Leeds in November 2014, individually focussing on childminders and schools as deliverers of early learning for two year olds.

Click here for further details and to book a place



Book a free phone call with a speech & language therapist

I CAN is the children’s communication charity.   To support early years professionals and parents, we run the I CAN Help Enquiry Service, a free, confidential call-back or email service from an I CAN speech and language therapist.

Our therapists have helped hundreds of parents and early years professionals with a wide range of queries relating to children’s speech and language development. They can suggest useful strategies and activities, as well as signposting to other organisations and sending out relevant I CAN resources. They can also provide information on typical developmental milestones, and what to do when these are not met.

If you have questions or concerns about a child or just want more information on children’s communication, call 020 7843 2544 to book in a call with a professional, or email your questions to [email protected]. Please do share this information with other professionals or parents you work with.

You can find out more about the I CAN Help Enquiry Service here.



Montessori Centre International is delighted to announce the launch of two new introductory Montessori courses in October 2014.  The Introduction to the Montessori Approach and Introduction to Montessori Practice. Both courses are available through MCI’s new online Virtual Learning Environment.

The Introduction to the Montessori Approach is a distance learning course designed to give newcomers an insight and understanding of Montessori without a formal qualification. The Introduction to Montessori Practice is designed as a continued professional development course for early years’ practitioners with a qualification at Level 3 or above.

Both courses are available on a bi-monthly basis.

For further information, please email [email protected] or go to

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