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Children’s Food Trust    

Update on EU Food Information for Consumers (FIC) regulation

New allergen information rules (EU FIC) and where to get advice.

If you are an early years setting and you provide food (including drink), you will need to comply with the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (No. 1169/ 2011) from 13 December 2014.

As you are already aware the Department for Education Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYSF) which came into effect in September 2014, section 3.47 states ‘Before a child is admitted to the setting the provider must also obtain information about any special dietary requirements, preferences and food allergies that the child has, and any special health requirements. Providers must record and act on information from parents and carers about a child’s dietary needs.’

The new EU Food Information Consumers (FIC) regulation, affects all early years settings who provide food, you have a legal responsibility from 13 December 2014 to provide accurate allergen information to parents, children and staff for every food and drink item you provide that contains any of the 14 allergens as ingredients.

In practice this means you need to identify (with the help of your suppliers and/or by reading food labels) if any of your food and drink items (bought in and cooked from scratch) has any of 14 different allergens and then communicate this to parents, children and staff.

How to provide allergen information

This information can be provided by the allergens being listed clearly in an obvious place such as: menu, chalkboard or information pack or alternatively by signposting parents and staff where it could be obtained, either in written or oral formats.

  • Written information of the allergens must be listed clearly for example on your recipes and menus, or in a folder including product specifications and ingredient labels, and conveyed to parents, pupils and staff.
  • If allergen information is given orally, there must be a way for this information to be checked by others (verifiable), confirmed as accurate and the same information should be given by every member of staff every time (consistent)
  • All staff must be aware of policies and procedures around handling and communicating allergen information.
  • All staff should receive training on handling requests for allergen information and there should be at least one member of available staff who can provide this information.

Further information is available at the Food Standards Agency  website

Watch this space, another relevant FACT SHEET will be published soon by the Food Standards Agency (in liaison with Department for Education and Children’s Food Trust) explaining in more detail what actions you should take to comply with this legislation.


The Communication Trust

Chatterbox Challenge

At The Communication Trust we work with 50 organisations who have a focus on speech, language and communication. One of our members, I CAN, the children’s communication charity, runs Chatterbox Challenge; the annual, educational fundraiser that sees 0-5 year olds develop their communication skills by learning songs and rhymes around a theme before singing them together in an inclusive sing-along. This year’s theme, Chatterbox Challenge 2015: Garden Adventures with Ben & Holly, is all about getting young children chattering about what they see, hear and feel indoors and outdoors. Children are encouraged to get sponsored for their involvement, helping to raise vital funds for I CAN’s work with children across the UK who are struggling to communicate. Join in the fun and register at


Family Action

Childcare in Schools – Developing sustainable and inclusive childcare on a school site

Family Action is running two free workshop sessions on 21 January in Birmingham.

  1. Develop and sustain your school-based childcare

This DfE-funded workshop will look at the barriers schools face in developing affordable, flexible and sustainable childcare on their sites (e.g. breakfast and after-school clubs, holiday programmes), and how these challenges can be overcome.

This workshop will be of interest to all those interested in developing childcare on a school site (e.g. school staff/governors, children’s centres, Early Years workers, private, voluntary or independent providers (PVIs).

  1. Making your school-based childcare more inclusive

This DfE-funded workshop will enable delegates to consider ways in which schools and other childcare providers based on mainstream school sites can make their provision more inclusive for the under 8s with SEND.

This workshop will be of interest to all those who wish to make their school-based childcare provision more inclusive for young children with SEND (e.g. schools, children’s centres, nurseries, private, voluntary or independent providers (PVIs).

For more information, please email the Childcare in Schools team.

Advice and support

Visit the Learning Exchange website for numerous free templates, top tips, news articles and useful links to help you develop school-based childcare provision.

Find out how other schools approach school-based childcare.

Sign up to the latest Learning Exchange e-bulletin.


National Literacy Trust

Technology engages boys and poorer children to read for longer

The National Literacy Trust and Pearson released their second annual survey data on the role of technology in supporting young children’s communication and language skills.

Touch-screen technology could be a vital new weapon to combat low literacy in key target groups: boys and disadvantaged children. New research published by the National Literacy Trust and Pearson reveals that technology can be a more engaging learning tool for disadvantaged children at age three to five, than books:

  • Twice as many young children from DE households than from AB households read stories on a touch-screen for longer than they read printed stories (29.5% vs 17.4%)
  • A higher number of children from DE households than AB households use technology more for educational activities than for entertainment (43.2% vs 30.4%)

The findings also show the benefits of using touch-screen technology for boys, who engage with reading and educational activities for longer than with books alone:

  • Twice as many boys as girls look at or read stories on a touch-screen for longer than they look at or read printed stories (24.0% vs 12.0%)
  • More boys than girls use a touch screen for educational activities than for entertainment (36.0% vs. 28.2%)

In the second Early Years Literacy Survey carried out by the National Literacy Trust and Pearson, parents and early years practitioners responded to questions on their access, use and attitudes to books and stories on touch-screen devices with children aged three to five. The research examines the influence of reading practices on children’s vocabulary aged three to five.

The findings highlight the increasingly significant role that technology plays in the lives of under-fives, both at home and in their pre-school educational environment:

  • 91.7% of children aged three to five have access to touch-screen technology at home
  • Access to touch screens in early years settings has doubled since 2013 (from 22% to 41.3%)
  • Nearly a third of all parents (30%) say their children read stories on both a touch screen and on paper compared to 70% of parents who say that their children read books only in a typical week

A varied reading diet could also be a route to improved vocabulary, according to the new findings. Children aged three to five have a wider vocabulary if they read stories in both print form and on a touch-screen compared to those who don’t use technology (20% vs. 15%).

The research also looks into the use of technology in early years educational settings, and finds that the majority of pre-school teachers and practitioners say they want more access to touch-screen technology (60%). However, practitioners feel far more confident sharing stories with children on paper rather than on a touch screen (90% vs. 55%), and a quarter do not think technology has a place in their pre-school educational environment.

The research, launched at an event attended by key literacy professionals, included a panel discussion with Helen Stephenson (Director Early Years and Education, Department for Education), Professor Clare Wood (Professor of Psychology in Education, Coventry University), Julie McCulloch (Director of UK Policy and Thought Leadership, Pearson), and Liz Driver (Family Learning Project Manager, Croydon Adult Learning and Training) on 1 December 2014.

The panel discussed the importance of parental involvement with all early learning media. Liz Driver presented Croydon’s delivery of National Literacy Trust’s programme, Early Words Together, a six week targeted literacy programme, as a hugely successful programme to engage hard to reach parents. EWT helps to raise parents’ confidence in supporting their child’s early language development by bringing stories alive through props and songs, using everyday materials to support home learning. Early Words Together is operating in 13 areas around the country and is being externally evaluated. It is currently funded by the Department for Education, and commercially available from 2015.

Read more about our research here or visit to find out about the National Literacy Trust’s work in the early years.


New findings: Preliminary Evaluation of Early Words Together, Coventry University

Early Words Together provides a targeted, literacy focussed peer education programme to empower parents to support their child’s early learning at home.

Evaluation by Coventry University, using a pre & post test survey of 346 families, supplemented by in-depth feedback, found:

  • The biggest changes in families’ behaviours are in relation to shared book activities, increased communication and parent contact,
  • Motivating parents to use library and activities to improve children’s home resources for learning
  • Increased interest and enjoyment of the child in communication, language and literacy
  • Increased awareness and confidence of the adult in supporting their child’s early literacy
  • These findings together indicate an effect on the child’s school readiness


OPM: Initial Evaluation Findings of Local Authorities’ views of Early Words Together

Through its use of volunteers, six week structure and accompanying bank of high quality materials, Early Words Together has particularly useful characteristics, identified as benefits for children and families, settings and volunteers.

Ofsted Feedback:

“Early Words Together’, focuses very specifically on promoting children’s communication and language development, and tracking shows that good progress is being made”. Staffordshire, May 2014

Next Steps:

We are seeking new opportunities for collaboration, in wider delivery of Early Words Together. This programme will be commercially available from 2015.

For more information, please contact Sue Denning, Programme Manager, Early Words Together at [email protected] or call (0207 820 6278).



Level 2 Allergy Awareness for Childcare Practitioners – Are you prepared for the changes in legislation?

The Food Information for Consumers Regulation law changes on the 13th December, with implications for childcare providers.

Any childcare business serving food must be able to detail and prove what ingredients are in every single food dish they serve.

On the 13th December 2014, the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation 1169/2011 (EU FIC) will change the way allergen information appears on labels, pre-packed food, sold loose or served out of home.

National Day Nurseries Association, in partnership with the Safer Food Group, has launched a new ONLINE Level 2 Allergy Awareness Course for childcare practitioners.

  • Who should complete this course?  All childcare practitioners providing snacks and meals to children.
  • Online: filmed in a nursery this video-based course covers the changes to the law and it explains what childcare providers need to do to meet the new legal requirements.
  • Accredited: The course is fully accredited by Qualifi and nationally recognised by OFQUAL. It covers the mandatory UK level 2 Allergy Awareness syllabus consisting of 7 chapters and includes 3 bonus chapters


Course content:

  • Allergens and the law
  • Introduction to allergens
  • The 14 allergens – with a bonus chapter detailing the 14 allergens and where possible suggesting alternative ingredients.
  • Recipe writing and ingredient panels – with a bonus chapter suggesting easy ways to help you write ingredient panels, detail the allergens in your recipes and how to set up a simple system to make sure you comply with the law, whilst keeping paperwork to a minimum.
  • Preventing allergenic contamination – prerequisites
  • Preventing allergenic contamination – service
  • Emergency first aid – with a bonus chapter featuring Helen Underwood, a leading expert on anaphylaxix and emergency first procedures including the use of EpiPens®. Most importantly, explaining what to do if someone has an anaphylactic reaction.
  • Bonus 1: A full chapter detailing the 14 allergens and where possible suggesting alternative ingredients.
  • Bonus 2: Suggests simple and easy ways to help you write ingredient panels, detail the allergens in your recipes, and how to set up a simple-to-use system to make sure you comply with the law whilst keeping paperwork to a minimum.
  • Bonus 3: Emergency First Aid, featuring Helen Underwood, who is a leading expert on Paediatric Anaphylaxis and Emergency First Aid procedures, including the use of EpiPens®. Most importantly, this chapter explains what to do if someone has an anaphylactic reaction.

High value, low cost: This course is fantastic value for money – just £11.99 for NDNA members and £14.40 for non-members

Contact Glenn Rothwell on 01484 407064 or email [email protected]



Hempsall’s announce their new leadership of the Children’s Centre Leader Reader Quarterly Journal

Early years training, research and consultancy organisation Hempsall’s has announced it is to take leadership of the FREE quarterly journal for children’s centre leaders the Children’s Centre Leader Reader (CCLR).

Director, James Hempsall says that adding the publication to their services brings an exciting and charitable dimension to their work in the children’s centre arena:

“Firstly, and on behalf of the readership of CCLR, I would like to thank Sue Webster, Vicki Lant and their team for their tremendous achievement of creating such an amazing resource and network for children’s centre leaders”.

“Hempsall’s are committed to the achievement of children’s centre aims, equality, and the highest standards of professionalism.  I first managed a children’s centre over 20 years ago.  And in more recent times, we have supported their creation, evolution and delivery. We led the West Midlands NPQICL consortium for the past two years, and we deliver parent volunteering programmes for centres in Leicestershire amongst other activities, reviews and consultations”.  He added.

“So we are delighted to take the baton and support its continued development for now and a bright future.  It is our aim to continue to publish, FREE of charge, on a quarterly basis, and maintain the strong editorial legacy.  We hope to continue with the amazing contributions from the group of dedicated writers and experts who have supported CCLR so far*.  Also, we want to invite new writers to get involved, especially those of you currently leading a centre or groups of centres, so please let us know your ideas and we will consider them for the next issues.  The first of which will be around February 2015 – we will let you know nearer the time”.

In return, both Sue and Vicki say they are thrilled about the new arrangements and feel the journal is in great hands.

To read CCLR, visit and to subscribe FREE click on ‘contact us’ to receive your issues direct into your email inbox.

*Previous contributors have included: Camila Batmanghelidjh; Lord Andrew Mawson; Naomi Eisenstadt; Professor Cathy Nutbrown; Annie Davy; Jamie Oliver; Neil Leitch; and Dr Maggie Atkinson.



Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy

Montessori Centre International is delighted to announce the new Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – Birth to Seven (Early Years Educator)

A training in Montessori education requires a breadth of understanding and varied set of skills as well as specific attitudes to children. It is with the aim of simultaneously cultivating of all of these that Montessori Centre International, Crossfields Institute and CACHE have developed this new qualification.

The development of interactive learning materials on MCI’s new virtual learning environment now allows all MCI students to communicate, reflect and collaborate with other students and tutors around the world, establishing an international community of Montessori learners fit for the 21st Century.

Next part-time and distance learning course commences in February 2014 – please email [email protected] to request further information. Or telephone: 020 7493 8300

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