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What to Expect, When? – Best Practice Case Studies

In March 2015, 4Children launched “What to Expect, When?” to help parents and carers find out more about how their child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation to the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Over 60,000 copies of the guide have now been downloaded and ordered.

4Children is now looking for providers to share examples of good practice around how they are using “What to Expect, When?.” to involve parents and carers in their child’s learning and development.

If you are interested in sharing your work, please contact [email protected]

2015 Children’s Centre Census

4Children is currently running the 2015 edition of its annual “Children’s Centre Census” survey, which aims to give an overview of the key trends and developments that taking place amongst Children’s Centres, as well as the challenges and opportunities for the coming year.

The Census is used by politicians, policy-makers and the media to understand what is going on in Children’s Centres nationally. Centre managers and leaders should already have received an email about the Census, but if you have not yet seen this and would like to take part please contact John Davies on [email protected] or 07823 321639.

This year, we are also running a Parents Survey alongside the main Children’s Centre Census, which we would be grateful if you could promote this to parents who use a local Children’s Centre. The Parents Survey, which has 12 questions and only takes a few minutes to complete, is available at:

SEND Case Studies

We have compiled a number of case studies which represent some of the work going on across the country which demonstrates responses to implementing the new SEND Code at Local Authority organisational level and also setting level. They can be accessed here.


The Communication Trust

SEND Reforms for SLCN Survey – June 2015

The Communication Trust is committed to supporting all those implementing the reformed SEND system to meet the needs of children and young people with SLCN and their families. As part of this work, they undertook two online surveys in June and November 2014 to find out how practitioners, service providers and commissioners were preparing for and implementing the SEND Reforms. They used the valuable information gained from these surveys to ensure they are able to offer relevant support to those working with children and young people with SLCN in the areas they report needing it most.

The Trust is now running a third survey  across June 2015, to find out more about the perceived opportunities and remaining challenges of the reformed SEND system for children and young people with SLCN, almost a whole academic year on from the Reforms coming into effect. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and we would be extremely grateful if you would take the time to complete it and pass the link on to your colleagues and networks to help get the broadest response possible.

The survey will be open from 29th May – 29th June 2015 and is available here


Communicating the Code 

A free resource helping you to support children and young people’s communication in the reformed SEND system.

The Communication Trust has developed Communicating the Code specifically for people working directly with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and should be of use to those working in early years, schools and post 16 settings.

Communicating the Code is set out in sections to reflect the Code of Practice, so that practitioners can access the information they require quickly and easily. It aims to:

  • Highlight key issues for SLCN in the new Code.
  • Identify key strategies (including evidence and examples) which may help to overcome these issues.
  • Signpost to useful resources, examples of good practice and further information.

How Communicating the Code can help those working with children and young people with SLCN:

  • It interprets the Code of Practice in relation to SLCN for all sections, something no other resource to date has done.
  • It sets out your responsibilities as a practitioner in the new Code of Practice for children and young people with SLCN.
  • It is practical and solution-focused – looking at the issues practitioners face, and then   suggesting strategies and approaches to address these. It signposts to further information, case studies and resources to assist.
  • It brings together research and good practice on effective working in all settings at a universal, targeted and specialist level for children and young people with SLCN.
  • It contains clear tips and guidance on how to enable the child or young person to participate in outcome/target setting if s/he has SLCN.
  • It considers how to work most effectively with parents, families and other professionals – a key objective of the SEND reforms.
  • And through this, it aims to increase your confidence in identifying and supporting children and young people with SLCN.

Communicating the Code is available free of charge on The Communication Trust website here.


Early Education

Learning Together about Learning:

Making effective use of Early Years Pupil Premium through sound early years principles and practice

Early Education is delighted to announce the launch of a new project to help settings and schools make best use of their Early Years Pupil Premium.  The project, funded by the Department for Education (DfE) includes both a national and a local aspect.  At a local level, 15 pilot networks will run in 15 local authority areas across England to work in partnership on how best to deliver and evaluate effective use of EYPP funds.  At national level, it will gather together examples of best practice and sources of helpful expertise from the pilot networks and beyond.  Our aim is to support the early years’ sector make the best possible use of the EYPP, and to demonstrate the impact it has had by exploring creative and impactful ways of utilising the funding and working within new and existing partnerships.  The focus of the spending is likely to be in three key areas: quality improvement which includes CPD, refining partnerships with parents thereby impacting on the home learning environment and broadening the wider experiences of the children.  If you are starting to develop interesting partnerships and ideas for making the difference with this funding we would love to hear from you as sharing helps everybody.  Look out for events throughout the year.

Help us to get a clear picture of how we can help you to make EYPP funding make a difference by filling out our short questionnaire to give us your feedback and sign up for future updates.  For more information about the project, to sign up for future updates and tell us about your current needs in relation to EYPP go here.


Family Action

Family Action’s Childcare in Schools team is being funded by the Department for Education (DfE) to support schools to develop high-quality, inclusive school-based childcare for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Are you looking for support to develop inclusive childcare provision for 0-5s on a school site? If so:

  • Visit Family Action’s Learning Exchange website, to find news, tip sheets, templates, and case studies from settings across England.
  • Contact the ehelpdesk and a member of the team will get back to you.
  • Visit our Learning Exchange Facebook page for links to training opportunities, services, events and other information related to school-based childcare for children under 5 with SEND.
  • Sign up to our half-termly e-bulletin

If you would to tell us about the work you are doing to develop inclusive school-based childcare for 0-5s with SEND, please email us here.


Family and Childcare Trust

Champion Chatter April edition

Family and Childcare Trust has just published its Champion Chatter April newsletter for its ever expanding Parent Champions National Network.  With 2015-16 Department of Education funding we are pleased that we are able to continue support to new schemes, with a particular focus on two-year old early education take-up and BME communities.  Diversification of this peer-to-peer model now includes new pilots with Contact a Family, Family Nurse Partnership and primary schools.


National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)

NDNA is running a short survey for parents about the extension of free childcare to 3 and 4 year olds. We are keen to know whether parents will be accessing the extra hours and how they think this will affect the number of hours they work. The survey closes on June 7th and can be accessed here.


National Portage Association (NPA)

Providing training and support to the early years workforce to develop Portage practice and support children with SEND and their families. Having run a successful 2 year contract to ‘sustain and develop the Portage workforce’ the NPA are building on this work with a new project funded by the DfE VSC grant (2015-16).

The NPA Project offers:

  • Portage Awareness Workshops*
  • Portage Workshops* – training delivered by NPA accredited trainers and parent trainers.
  • Training for Trainers Workshop

*FREE in areas with little or no access to Portage

If you are interested in accessing the training and/or developing Portage in your area please contact

[email protected] (South) [email protected] (North & Midlands) or visit our website

The NPA and Project Team also offer ongoing support for the Early Years Workforce:

  • Follow up study days; available post-Portage training through the project.
  • NPA Stamp of Approval scheme; available to settings whose staff have completed Portage training and demonstrate that they deliver high quality, inclusive early years education, based on the Portage model and Portage principles.

For criteria and application information visit here

  • BTEC-3 Advanced Award in Portage Skills & BTEC-4 Professional Certificate in Portage Practice;
  • Access to new online Portage support Hub; provides new opportunities for Portage Home Visitors, early years practitioners and parents to share information, knowledge and good practice.
  • Peer to peer & service to service mentoring; developed to provide opportunities for the Portage and Early Years workforce to interact and support each other online.



Starting School Together

Starting School Together (SST) is an innovative approach to partnership working between schools, childcare providers, parents and the local community in areas of disadvantage. It will improve transition for all EYE children in the pilot due to start school in 2015, with a focus on disadvantaged children and children from BME communities. It will:

  • support school readiness
  • improve the skills and knowledge of the teachers, childcare professionals and parents involved.
  • develop a shared approach to transition between childcare settings and schools
  • share knowledge and experience across schools and early years, so further improving practice

An SST toolkit (delivered via a secure micro-website) will support best practice sharing and help parents, schools and childcare settings to share resources, update each other on children’s progress and celebrate children’s achievements as they get ready for school. This approach supports effective partnership with parents, who will receive regular written updates on their child’s progress as well as face to face updates and support on how to extend learning at home.

It will be developed by partners sharing current good practice and identifying further innovations. It will contain training, guidance and information including case studies as well as resources for settings to use with parents and children. Families will also receive a SST resource pack including books and toys to help parents extend learning at home.

The SST toolkit and approach will be disseminated to childcare settings via PACEY’s own member networks and in partnership with teaching organisations.


Book Trust

A message from Book Trust re: National Bookstart Week 2015

The theme for National Bookstart Week 2015 is ‘Jungle Adventures’, and the booklet that we will be giving to families around the country is ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. National Bookstart Week 2015 will run from Monday 8th – Sunday 14th June and events up and down the country will encourage families to read with their child every day. This year’s theme provides the perfect opportunity to read and enjoy all your favourite animal stories, books and rhymes and enter a world of adventure and imagination.

Make sure you let us know at Book Trust about events that you are holding, if you need any additional support or send in pictures to [email protected] to appear on the website. If you haven’t registered to receive our free resources, get in touch via [email protected] or go to the website where you can download lots of jungle-themed craft, baking and outdoor activities. Have a very happy National Bookstart Week!



Achieving Two Year Olds continues for another year

A2YO have been selected by DfE to continue to deliver support in 2015-2016 following a formal tender process that started in December 2014.

The new contract builds upon the contract the Department had in place to support local authorities and providers in delivering the early learning for two-year-olds programme.  The programme of support alongside the hard work of local authorities and providers has helped us all to reach take-up this term of over 150,000.

The new service will look slightly different to the arrangements that have been in place so far.  The new service will focus on a two tier level of support – generic support and targeted support. Generic support This will be available to all and will give access to the following:

  • K-Hub – knowledge and information sharing with peers.
  • Regular updates, query resolution and helpline support from the regional team.
  • Programme of termly network meetings to maintain momentum and the ability to share practice.
  • Support around the participation model of funding.

Targeted support This element of support will be targeted at the local authorities that have the most number of children to place and those below the take-up levels of their statistical neighbours. In addition to the generic support it will include:

  • Detailed action and support plans.
  • Detailed regional lead support and challenge to implement plans.
  • Provision of specialist support advisors to address specific issues (e.g. business remodelling of support).
  • Meetings with other statistical neighbours based on common issues (e.g. BME take up, capacity etc.)

Please do not hesitate to contact A2YO if you have any questions.  You can do so by contacting [email protected] or [email protected]



Montessori Centre International are delighted to announce a NEW Certificate in Higher Education Montessori Early Childhood Practice

1 Year Full-time – September 2015 Student Finance available

The NEW Level 4 MCI Certificate of HE Montessori Early Childhood Practice has been developed to meet the demand in the work place for well-qualified Montessori early childhood practitioners who can demonstrate high levels of professional competence. This qualification will allow graduates to work as Montessori practitioners with a full and relevant qualification after one year of study.

This new qualification has developed from the well-established Foundation Degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice and is validated by the London Metropolitan University. It carries 120 University credits. Students on the Cert HE will study with, and follow the same modules as full-time students on the first year of the Foundation Degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice.

For further information, email: [email protected] or telephone: 020 7493 8300


Read On. Get On. (ROGO)

Read On. Get On. is a national campaign to get every child in the UK reading well by the age of 11. At the moment far too many children are leaving primary school without this key skill – including, in England, one in three of our poorest children. Our mission is to change this for good so that all our children start secondary school as confident readers. Further information about the campaign is available here.

Developing a National Reading Strategy

On behalf of the ROGO coalition in England, the RSA has been commissioned to develop a national reading strategy for England, which will set out the action needed over the next decade to achieve the target goals for 2020 and 2025:

  • All children achieve good early language development by age five by 2020
  • Every child is able to read well by the age of 11 by 2025, with good progress made so that we are at least halfway towards this goal by 2020

Call for Evidence

To support the strategy, we are launching a call for evidence to invite submissions from all individuals and organisations with an interest in promoting children’s reading and early language development.   Your contributions will help us to identify key issues and strategic priorities for action, to help achieve the 2020 and 2025 target goals. To submit evidence, we invite you to respond to the questions on the response form, which is available here.

Completed responses should be submitted by 15 June 2015 to [email protected]



Free publicity and staff development opportunities for childcare, early years, short breaks 

The SEND Consortium is delighted to announce that we have secured further support from the Department for Education to support early years, childcare and short break providers to market their services directly to families, to work more closely with local commissioners and to access the population data you need to plan and tailor your services. This funding allows us to offer the following opportunities free until April 2016 for a limited number of services.

Organisations working with us will benefit from:

  • Free directory listings of up to 30 services an organisation with the facility to promote your organisation, make sales and receive feedback online.
  • Access to a personalised dashboard that tracks how people are finding your service, what they think of it and your enquiries and sales records.
  • Bespoke reports on availability of short breaks, childcare and early years services in your area alongside parental demand for services, benchmarked against the national picture (to be delivered in February 2016)
  • Access to 1 regional ‘commissioning round table’ bringing commissioners, social workers, parents and providers together to problem solve filling gaps in provision.
  • Access to 1 national ‘Working with families on evidence based commissioning’ conference (including opportunities to showcase effective practice from your area.)

If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, or have any questions please send us an email at [email protected]  by 1st July 2015. In your email please let us know – the name of your organisation, which type of services you provide (short breaks/ early years/ childcare), and how many services you would like to list. More support to take advantage of this offer will be rolled out from 1st July onwards. For more information about this and what we do you can visit us here



Learn Explore Debate (LED) Events

As part of the work in continuing in their role as the DfE’s strategic partner for early years and childcare, 4Children are delighted to announce the next round of LED events. We know that you like to hear of these events as soon as we have booked the venues and agreed times and the summer events are as listed below.

At this point in time the DfE have not yet agreed the agenda however the day is likely to focus on the key priorities of the new government

  • 30 hours free childcare for employed parents
  • Early implementation of the EYPP
  • Health update
  • Progress on the Study of Early Education and Development
  • Support from the sector for the sector
  • Sector led improvement

In addition there will be an update from Ofsted on the common inspection framework.

The events will run from 9.30am through to 3.30pm. The venue will be confirmed to you via email once a booking has been made. Please be aware that refreshments will be available on the day, however on this occasion lunch will not be provided.

The LED events are always extremely popular with long waiting lists. We kindly ask that your organisation books a maximum of 3 places and informs the events team as soon as possible should someone not be able to attend.

The events are aimed at organisations, local authorities, leaders and managers of all providers, schools and settings and all involved in early years . The sessions give the opportunity to learn and share together, as well as giving the latest information in relation to early years and childcare.

We greatly look forward to seeing you there.


Re-connecting with maths – Engaging practitioners and parents in children’s mathematical development

Regional seminars London – 23 June, Leeds – 25 June ‘Don’t worry it’s okay to be no good at Maths…because I was no good at it either.’ The perception that being bad at maths is ‘OK’ is a myth which this set of seminars aims to dispel. This phrase may be familiar to many of us from our own childhood as an expression used to comfort a child when they are frustrated by numbers, problem solving and day to day activities. The day will begin by looking at what needs to be done and then delve into good practice case studies which explain how this might be achieved. Go to or call 020 7522 6970 to book


Early Education

Annual National Conference

Book now for the Annual National Conference, 12-13 June 2015, in Plymouth – places are still available including a special student day rate of £60. Just get in touch for the code, on 020 7539 5400 or on [email protected]

More information is available at this link.

Training Course: 29 June 2015: Music Matters – An Introduction into Early Childhood Music Making Location: London Trainer: Nicola Burke

This course is workshop style offering an introduction to music for early years and is fun and informative, exploring ways in which music compliments and contributes to other areas of learning and development. The course demonstrates how easily music can be incorporated into any early years setting without practitioners needing any previous musical knowledge or experience.

For more information and to book your place, please visit our website.

We are delighted to be able to offer a two-for-one deal for Members booking onto this course. If you are interested in obtaining the special offer, please contact the Office directly, on 020 7539 5400 or on [email protected]

If you are currently a non-member, it would be more cost effective to become one in order to take advantage of the discount and this special offer, as well as then having access to all of our Member benefits for the rest of the year. There is no better time to join!



The NDNA Nursery Conference and Awards 2015 take place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 11 – 12 June. Book before 31 May and save 10%. Book 2 places and save 15% or book 3 and save 20%!

Guest speakers include Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah, expert on brain development Janet Rose, Ofsted’s Nick Hudson, early development specialist Andrew Lockett, Kevan Collins on making a difference to disadvantaged children, Joseph Lightfoot, member of the Department of Health’s Physical Activity expert group and many more.

Network with Early Years Practitioners, find great offers on nursery products at our exhibition and attend a free one-to-one legal surgery with an employment law specialist (book at the Citation stand on the day).

To book, email [email protected] or telephone 01484 407070.


National Portage Association Annual Conference

Dates: Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd October, 2015

Venue: Hilton Hotel, Northampton

Our conference theme for 2015 is ‘Moving Forward with Portage’. The Conference is an opportunity for children, parents and practitioners to share ideas and practice, to explore the future of early years and the opportunities this presents for Portage and the NPA.

Delegates will have the opportunity to attend two stimulating seminar sessions each day, network, visit exhibition stands and hear keynote speakers.

This year’s keynote speakers:

Hayley Goleniowska – parent blogger and campaigner, founder of Downs Side Up

Wendy Joy (MCSP) and Jane Reynolds (MCSP) (Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapists) will look at skill acquisition and how to move children forward physically.

For more information:

Conference Costs:

£98 + VAT for day delegates (includes refreshments and lunch)

Accommodation at special rates for those wishing to attend 2 days (limited places).

Different rates offered for parents/families, attending either as day delegates or residential. Please follow link below and see application form for details. Children attend free.

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