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Learn Explore Debate Events – February/March

4Children are pleased to announce the next round of the free Learn Explore Debate events which we run as the Department for Education’s Early Years and Childcare’s strategic partner.

The topics covered include:

  • Early Years and Childcare Policy overview
  • The Early Years Pupil Premium
  • Updates on specific streams of work:
    • Assessment within the EYFS
    • Sector led improvement
    • Role of parents within the EYFS
    • Department of Health policies
  • An update by a representative from Ofsted

These events are aimed at organisations, local authorities, leaders and managers of all schools and settings and all involved with early years.  The sessions will give the opportunity for learning and sharing together, as well as giving the latest information in relation to early years and childcare.

The dates for the events are:

  • Manchester: 26 February 2015 (9.30am for a 10am start to 1.30pm)
  • Leeds: 27 February 2015 (9.30am for a 10am start to 1.30pm)
  • Birmingham: 3 March 2015 (9.30am for a 10am start to 1.30pm)
  • Bristol: 4 March 2015 (9.30am for a 10am start to 1.30pm)
  • London: 6 March 2015 (9.30am for a 10am start to 1.30pm)
  • Northumberland: 13 March 2015 (9.30am for a 10am start to 1.30pm)

To book your place please visit


Special Educational Needs and Disabilities LEARN EXPLORE DEBATE EVENTS

4Children and The Council for Disabled Children are pleased to announce a second series of free events which are being delivered on behalf of the Department for Education.   The dates for the events are :

All events are 12.30pm for a 1pm START to 4pm The topics to be covered will be :

  • Update on the work of 4Children and Council for Disabled Children and Partners in relation to SEND.
  • The importance of whole setting high quality Universal practice
  • Working in partnership to understand best outcomes for young children
  • Case studies of emerging practice in relation to implementing the SEND Code of Practice
  • Creating opportunities for a learning culture in settings through CPD.

Representatives of Dfe have been invited to attend the events.   These events are aimed to engage the broadest range of practitioners from across the sector. The topics will be of interest to all early years practitioners, and those supporting them, such as those in the role of Area SENCO, Inclusion Advisers, Early Years Specialist teachers.   To book your place, please follow the links on the relevant event and book online.


Early Childhood matters: Sector Led Quality Improvement – Innovative Next Steps

Tuesday 10 March 2015, Central London

Introducing the New Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being Scales (SSTEW) as used in the SEED research; the EYPP tool kit; and new material for parents to support their children’s learning and development.

Join 4Children and chair Professor Edward Melhuish in London for a unique opportunity to hear and experience the soon to be published SSTEW Scales and be one of the first to receive your very own copy of the scale and receive 5% off the SSTEW training course.

The Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being (SSTEW) is an exciting new scale which considers practice that supports children in developing skills in sustained shared thinking and emotional well-being, as well as developing strong relationships, effective communication and aspects of self regulation. It is designed to be used for research, self- evaluation and improvement, audit and regulation by the sector – for the sector.

The day will focus on:

  • The aspects of the scales – including sustained shared thinking and emotional well being
  • The SEED Project: Applying the Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being scale in practice
  • Supporting parents with their children’s learning and development
  • Latest materials to support the introduction of the EYPP

Speakers include:

  • Chair – Professor Edward Melhuish, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, University of Birkbeck, London
  • Professor Iram Siraj, Institute of Education, University City London
  • Senior Representative from Government -the Department of Education
  • Sue Robb, National Head of Early Years, 4Children
  • Dr Kevan Collins, CEO, Educational Endowment Foundation
  • Dr Gillian Paull, Senior Associate, Frontiers Economics
  • Dr Jacqui Hardie, Early Years Consultant
  • Nancy Stewart, Early Years Consultant

Find out more about the conference and how to book here.


Sharing Knowledge Seminars

Supporting and working with parents to narrow the gap

Regional practical seminars

Leeds – 24 March 2015, London – 26 March 2015

It is crucial for parents to have access to resources to help them support their children to flourish.  Evidence is robust in highlighting the importance that parents play in supporting their children’s learning and development.  It is therefore crucial that the early year’s workforce are confident in their knowledge, understanding and skills to enable parents and have knowledge of the resources available.

These seminars are aimed at those working with all children and families who work with parents, provide support to parents to ensure that we continue to narrow the gap.

Go to to book on one of these informative seminars.


Contact a Family

SENDirect – choice and control for families

SENDirect is an online service that allows families of children with additional needs to find, compare and buy activities, support and services. A ‘Tripadvisor’ type website for families trying to access local services. Launched on 21st January 2015, SENDirect will revolutionise the way services for children with additional needs are designed and commissioned. It will make it easier for organisation and providers like you to promote your services. For the first time, families will be able to find services like yours quickly – and feel confident that their child will be welcome. SENDirect has been set up in response to recent changes in legislation – the Children and Families Act and the Care Act. SENDirect supports local authorities to fulfil their local offer duties. It is funded by the DfE. Find out more and register your service at


SEND factsheets

The education experts on the Contact a Family helpline and the National Network of Parent Carers Forums have a series of factsheets to help you understand recent changes to the special education system in England. See or ring helpline on 0808 808 3555 for printed copies.


Family Action – Childcare in Schools

Free inclusion workshops

If you are interested in developing inclusion for children with SEND in your school-based childcare provision, please sign up for one of these free workshops:

  • Monday, 2 March 2015 (9.30am to 3pm) at QEII Jubilee School, Westminster, London
  • Wednesday, 17 March 2015 (9.30am to 3pm) at The Headway XCentre, Exeter

To find out more and to book your free place, please email [email protected].

Online 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.

For example:

  • Find out how other schools approach school-based childcare
  • Look at our new section offering information and ideas about developing inclusion for children with SEND in school-based childcare and holiday activities
  • Look at our new web section on developing school-based provision for 2 year olds
  • Sign up to our latest Learning Exchange e-bulletin
  • Visit our Learning Exchange Facebook page for training suggestions, services, ideas, events and other information related to school-based childcare and holiday activities for children with SEND, particularly in the North West.


National Literacy Trust

Video highlights benefits of Early Words Together

A new Early Words Together video shows why 90% of parents who took part in the programme would recommend it to others. Early Words Together is a targeted, literacy peer education programme for families with children aged two to five that empowers parents to support their child’s early learning, through small group sessions.

“Early Words has meant that not only have the pupils and their families have benefitted from much needed support, but this has had the desired ‘knock on’ effect in the classroom in raising standards. Families now have the necessary skills to support their child’s learning development.” Head teacher, Ankermoor Primary School

Watch the new 3 minute video here and discover how you can implement Early Words Together in your school or setting.

Further information is enclosed on our website link above, including details of cost and outcomes and a short expression of interest form to complete, to request a call or a summary of the final evaluation findings in March.



NDNA Conference

The NDNA Conference will take place on 11th and 12th June at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. It’s a great opportunity to meet other nursery practitioners and hear sector experts and speakers including inspirational ‘Bionic Woman’ Claire Lomas, the first person to complete a marathon in a pioneering ‘bionic’ suit. Book your places HERE before 1 March and save up to 37%.

The NDNA Nursery Awards will also offer you the chance to showcase your nursery. Six awards include Nursery of the Year and you can register at  Remember, these are the only awards voted for by parents. Voting closes 22nd March.


OXPIP Conference 2015

Parent Infant Relationships: Past, Present and Future 

Friday 27th February, 2015

Speakers include: Tim Loughton MP on the work of 1001 Critical Days and PIP-UK. Prof. Anne-Marie Kilday on the history of infanticide, Pasco Fearon and the NSPCC’s Chris Cuthbert on what the future holds.

PLUS: Robin Balbernie chairing a session of updates from PIP-UK and the growing network of PIPs.

This conference is suitable for anyone working with parents and babies and interested in perinatal mental health. Tickets £75.

Our conference is taking place at Unipart Conference Centre, Unipart House, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2PG. Parking Available. Lunch included. Booking via Oxboffice.


Early Education

Conference: Achieving Excellence in the Early Years

On 12 March 2015, Early Education are holding a conference focused on helping primary heads, leaders and governors to raise the quality of foundation stage provision in schools, and celebrating the launch of our new book on the same theme: Achieving Excellence in the Early Years. The conference programme includes workshops and keynotes from contributing authors Marjorie Ouvry, Kathryn Solly, Amanda King, Linda Pound, Di Chilvers and Vicky Hutchin. Details of the book and conference can be found on the Early Education website.

Area of Learning booklets

In response to popular demand, we’ve relaunched our popular Areas of Learning booklets, which give up-to-date insight into good practice on a particular topic or area of learning and provide the key principles for helping children develop.  The first two “More than Numbers” and “The Great Outdoors” are available now, and “More than ICT” will be available in the next few weeks.


Early Education have also recently launched a new student membership.  Colleges, universities and training providers taking out group membership can obtain free membership for full-time students on relevant courses.

More details about all of these can be found at



I CAN’s Chief Executive Virginia Beardshaw awarded CBE in New Year’s Honours List

I CAN, the children’s communication charity’s Chief Executive, Virginia Beardshaw was awarded a CBE for services to children with special needs and disabilities in the New Years Honours list.

Ms. Beardshaw has been highly influential in the field of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) since her appointment as I CAN Chief Executive in 2005. She has especially championed the importance of all children’s early language development; during her time as CEO I CAN developed programmes and partnerships to ensure that more early years practitioners can support children’s early language and those children who struggle with speech, language and communication (SLCN).

Lady Elizabeth Vallance, I CAN’s Chair of Trustees, said, “Everyone at I CAN and all our partners will be as thrilled as I am that Virginia Beardshaw’s sterling work to raise the profile of SLCN and to ensure positive change for children and their families has been recognised in the New Years Honours list. Virginia has championed speech, language and communication as the fundamental life skill for all children and has tirelessly fought for the support needed for those children and young people who struggle.”

Read more here.


Teach First

Teach First has expanded to the Early Years

Teach First is a national charity committed to tackling educational disadvantage.

We find, train and support people to become brilliant teachers, inspiring the young people who need them the most. Our third cohort of Early Years (EY) participants will be entering the classroom in September 2015 and we place EY participants in settings throughout London, South East and the West Midlands. The incoming participants will complete the Leadership Development Programme whilst working full-time towards a PGCE in your setting.

As we continue to expand our work in the EY, we are looking to partner with schools looking to recruit driven, passionate people to train and teach in their school. All EY participants receive bespoke training to enable them to make the greatest impact within your school. To find out more about partnership, please visit our website or email Elizabeth McAuslan on [email protected].


Nursery World

Nursery World Show 2015

The Nursery World Show 2015, organised by the team at Nursery World, is for everyone in the early years community. The show will take place in London on 6th & 7th February. Please visit for all the information on the free exhibition & live workshops, plus booking info for the seminars and masterclasses, hosted by expert early years speakers. The Nursery World Show 2015 will be a great opportunity to share best practice, talk to the sector’s suppliers, network with your peers and find inspiration that will support and enhance your practice.

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