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Anne Longfield’s Farewell

It gives me great pleasure to say “Thank You” to the early years sector for all of your support as I prepare to depart this week as 4Children’s Chief Executive! Thank you too for your commitment, dedication and hard work in all that you do in supporting our youngest children and their families.

I will continue to set sights high for young children and young people in my new role as the Children’s Commissioner for England. I am delighted and hugely privileged to have been appointed and ready to start next week. It’s a vitally important role with the potential to make a real difference for children in this country – especially for those vulnerable children who need our protection and support the most. It has been an honour to have been the Chief Executive of 4Children for over two decades and I am immensely proud of all that the organisation has achieved. I am delighted that Imelda Redmond CBE will be spearheading 4Children’s work and taking the lead as 4Children’s new Chief Executive.

Thank you again for your support.

Best Wishes

Anne Longfield OBE


The Communication Trust

No Pens Day Wednesday Evaluation and Date for 2015 Event

 No Pens Day Wednesday is an annual national event from The Communication Trust that encourages schools and settings to run a whole day of lessons focussed on speaking and listening activities. The Communication Trust provides everything needed to run the day, which can be downloaded for free from their website.

No Pens Day Wednesday 2014 was a huge success with over 3,600 schools and settings signed up in total. It was also the first year materials had been provided specifically for early years settings and saw them make up 22% of the total sign up numbers!

As part of the evaluation process, The Communication Trust have been working to capture stories about the innovative activities that were organised for the day and the impact it had. Twelve case studies are now available to access on a new dedicated evaluation page of their website, including three from early years settings.

The No Pens Day Wednesday 2014 evaluation report is also available on this webpage.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Over 95% of respondents said they’d do something differently around speech, language and communication as a result of taking part in No Pens Day Wednesday
  • Over 80% of respondents reported that taking part had raised awareness of speech, language and communication needs in their school/setting

If all this fantastic impact information catches your interest, you’ll be pleased to know the 2015 event will take place on Wednesday 7th October. However, schools and settings can run theirs whenever works best for them.

Register now to access the existing resources from previous years events and receive updates when The Communication Trust add new materials or functions to the page for the 2015 event in the coming months.


Family Action – Childcare in Schools

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:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Find out how other schools approach school-based childcare.
  • Sign up to our latest Learning Exchange e-bulletin.


Family and Childcare Trust

‘Parent Champions – Helping you deliver on the two-year-old offer’ – Family and Childcare Trust briefing sheet

Family and Childcare Trust has just published a new briefing sheet titled ‘Parent Champions – Helping you deliver on the two-year-old offer’.  It shows how this parent peer-to-peer model can help get key messages out to families, and also explains what support you can get to set up a scheme.  You can find the briefing sheet and further information on the Family and Childcare Trust website or contact Deborah Brodie, Project Manager.


National Literacy Trust

New results show impact of Early Words Together programme on children’s development

New research has shown that the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together programme is boosting children’s literacy development. Interim findings from experts at Coventry University have shown that the early intervention, which focuses on parental engagement, is creating a statistically significant impact on children’s receptive vocabulary.

Professor Clare Wood at Coventry University explains how they used the Pearson Pre-School Language Scale to determine the receptive vocabulary (the language that a child understands but which may not be evident in their own speech) of a sample of children before and after the programme.

“The average performance of children tested before taking part in Early Words Together was below that expected of their age; representing a cause for concern.

Three months later this average vocabulary score had increased by over five points, indicating that the children’s vocabulary levels were developing faster than we would predict from normal development.

Only 30% of the children were in the normal range at pre-test, increasing to 43% of the same children just three months later.”

Sector magazine, Children and Young People Now, have also reported on Early Words Together. Their Good Practice Case Study showcases how the programme enables parents to share books with their children and join in with other early learning activities. Read the article here for details on how this approach is having an impact on children’s readiness for school and ongoing attainment.

Early Words Together is a targeted programme that develops young children’s communication, language ad literacy and enables family engagement through the support of peer volunteers.

Discover how you can implement Early Words Together in your school or setting by visiting Here you will find details of costs and the programme’s outcomes. The final evaluation report will be available on the website from March 2015.


CARE Survey

The CARE project is funded by the European Union to develop knowledge about early childhood education and care in European countries, in order to provide information to improve services.

The study includes all kinds of out-of-home early education and care for children from 0-6 years, e.g. child minders, day nurseries, children’s centres, nursery class, nursery school etc. Part of the project is a study of the views of parents, policy-makers and practitioners. If you wish to take part, please fill in this online questionnaire.


Early Education

We are preparing a briefing for schools on the six baseline assessment providers approved by DfE, and issues to consider when choosing between them.  This is still under preparation at the time of writing but will be published on our website as soon as it is available, which should be by early March at the latest.

We will be publishing Every Child a Mover: a practical guide to providing young children with the physical opportunities they need, a new book by Jan White on physical development in the summer.  It is available to pre-order from our website now at a discounted price of £15.

There are still a few places available at our conference on 12 March 2015 for primary heads, leaders and governors, celebrating the launch of our new book on raising the quality of foundation stage provision in schools: 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.

Bookings are now open for our Annual National Conference on 12-13 June at the University of Plymouth, with keynote speakers Peter Moss and John Siraj-Blatchford.

More details about all of these can be found here.



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

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 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 distance learning course commences in May – please email Rupert to request further information, or telephone: 020 7493 8300



Baby Steps Evaluation

The NSPCC has been running a new antenatal programme for vulnerable parents called Baby Steps, which aims to support mothers and fathers during pregnancy and in the weeks after birth. It has been developed to support mothers and fathers as they transition into parenthood, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between parents and the development of positive parent–infant relationships. It is hoped that the programme will improve the capacity of parents to care for and nurture their baby. The programme also seeks to strengthen parents’ support networks.

The evaluation report for the programme has now been published and can be accessed here.



Early Childhood Matters

Sector led quality improvement – innovative next steps

National Conference – Tuesday 10 March 2015

This conference will address:

  • The latest innovative research, thinking and tools for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
  • Introducing the New Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being Scale (SSTEW) as used in the SEED research.
  • Early Years Pupil Premium Tool Kit and call for evidence
  • Parents information to support their children

To book on go here or call 020 7522 9670


Supporting and working with parent to narrow the gap

Regional seminars

24 March 2015 – Leeds

26 March 2015 – London

These seminars will address:

  • Policy update on the role of parents in their child’s learning development
  • Enabling parents as their child progresses through their early years and into school
  • Reaching and supporting the most vulnerable and hard to reach parents
  • Home learning and its importance
  • Supporting parents of children with SEND

To book on go to here or call 020 7522 6970


Family Action – Childcare in Schools

Developing sustainable and inclusive childcare on a school site

Free inclusion training

Family Action is running a free training workshop for schools, children’s centres and other childcare providers wishing to develop inclusion for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This will take place on Thursday, 12 March 2015, 9.30am to 3pm at the RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning, Wheelwright Lane, Ash Green, Coventry CV7 9RA.

The session will be led by Alison John & Associates and will focus on:

  • A parent’s perspective
  • Terminology in relation to disabled children
  • SEND Reforms and Equality Act
  • Barriers to inclusion and developing solutions
  • Practice and principles of adapting games and activities
  • Developing a personal action plan for change

Free teas/coffees and lunch will be provided.

Visit the Learning Exchange website for details or email [email protected] to book your place.



Book your place at the NDNA Nursery Conference 2015 before 1 March and enjoy early bird rates. Our exciting range of speakers includes Claire Lomas, the ‘Bionic Woman’, describing her experience after being paralysed from the chest down before finishing the London Marathon wearing a pioneering robotic suit. Also speaking, expert on brain development and relationships Dr. Janet Rose, Children’s Play and Early Development Specialist Dr. Andrew Lockett, Dr. Kevan Collins on making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children, Dr Joseph Lightfoot of the Department of Health’s Physical Activity expert group and the new Childcare Minister. For more information and to take advantage of the early bird discount, click here.


Curious Minds

Strong Voices Conference, 6th of March 2015

  • Do ALL young people have an equal right to access your work?
  • Could your work contribute to the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people?
  • Would you like to successfully target young people who find it harder to engage?

Then book your FREE place now at the Strong Voice Conference

If your work engages with young people who find engaging harder than most, this conference is for you.

Participate in person, or online (you just need a computer with a good internet connection and speakers or headphones).

Places are FREE and limited for both types of attendance, so click here now to secure your place.


NLH Partnership Event

Workshop: Effectively tracking Children’s Centre impacts

Thursday 19th March 2015. Voluntary Action Islington, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP

Details: Effectively tracking the impacts of Children’s Centre work for children and families is an increasingly important part of the assessment of Children’s Centres’ performance, and Ofsted requires Centres to provide high quality impact ‘tracking’ evidence in order to gain a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ grade. This workshop focuses on the various types of ‘tracking’ outlined in the latest Ofsted guidance, to provide attendees with a clear understanding of how to develop and implement effective systems and processes for tracking Children’s Centre impacts. Attendees leave the workshop with a thorough understanding of how to effectively meet key tracking requirements.

For more information email here, or call 0207 7292206. Visit us here for more events and workshops.

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