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Britain’s Families: Thriving or Surviving?

4Children have recently launched a major Inquiry into modern family life in Britain. Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving?” will take place over the next 6 months, and aims to uncover the challenges and opportunities families face in Britain today, and understand what can be done to better support family life. You can read more about the Inquiry here.

As part of the Inquiry, 4Children want to speak directly to as many children, young people, parents and carers as possible over the next few months. If you run a group or a service that 4Children could visit and hold a focus group with, or if you think you might be able to support the Inquiry in any other way, please get in touch by emailing: [email protected]

In addition, we are also running two surveys as part of the Inquiry, one for children and young people (aged under 21) in England, Scotland and Wales and another for parents and carers in the same areas. The surveys take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and to thank all those who participate for their time we are offering everyone who completes one of the surveys the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw for £50 of “Love to Shop” vouchers. The surveys are available via the following links: Children and Young People Survey and Parents and Carers Survey


4Children / Grandparents Plus

4Children has joined forces with Grandparents Plus, Mentor UK and the Childhood Bereavement Network to develop an exciting new project to support kinship carers – grandparents and other family members who are raising a child because their parents are unable to. Thanks to funding from the Department for Education, the four partners will develop an Early Help Model to reach more kinship carers and help them access vital information and support. The Model will include a bespoke training course for professionals who may come into contact with kinship carers to raise awareness of the particular challenges kinship families may face and the support that is available. For more information visit us here or call Grandparents Plus on 020 8981 8001.


Family Action

Family Action is supporting school-based childcare providers in England to develop more inclusive childcare practices for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). You can read more about our Childcare in Schools project, which is funded by the Department for Education (DfE), on the Learning Exchange website.

This autumn, our Childcare in Schools team will be running three FREE events, entitled ‘Developing inclusive school-based childcare practices for 0-5s’:

  • 10 November 2015 – South (London)
  • 17 November 2015 – Midlands (Bedworth)
  • 24 November 2015 – North West (Leigh, nr Wigan)

These sessions are aimed at all school-based childcare providers that wish to develop inclusion for very young children with SEND, such as schools, children’s centres, nurseries, and private, voluntary or independent settings. To find out more about the events and how to book, visit our website.


Family and Childcare Trust

‘Is your child two?’ leaflets

Due to the enormous success of our ‘Is your child two?’ two-year-old leaflets and flyers used by Parent Champion schemes, Family and Childcare Trust is very pleased to now have these available to purchase by any interested local authority or organisation.  They are aimed at families potentially eligible for two-year-old places, and explain the benefits and criteria.  Visit our website shop.


Champion Chatter Issue 7

Family and Childcare Trust has just published its latest Champion Chatter newsletter for its Parent Champions National Network.  It includes a case study on the Brent Parent Champions scheme, which has been getting out health as well as early education messages to isolated families, to particularly help tackle obesity and oral health outcomes for children.  For more information on Parent Champions you can visit the Family and Childcare Trust website.



Home-Start is launching a new project called Big Hopes Big Future to combat the growing problem of children starting school without the skills they need to start learning.

Around 600,000 five year olds started school for the first time this month, yet a recent study estimated that almost half will not be ready for education.

The result is that teachers are spending increasing amounts of time and resources helping children who do not have basic skills such as being able to hold a pencil, recognising their name when it’s written down, or being toilet trained.

To help reverse this trend, Home-Start has developed Big Hopes Big Future, a ground-breaking set of resources and training programmes for its volunteers that are designed to work with families where children may be lacking the skills they need when school begins.


National Day Nurseries Association

Early Years Factsheets on the Prevent Duty and Teaching British Values

The new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework now requires all early years providers and schools in England to demonstrate how they keep children in their care safe under the Prevent Duty and how British Values are incorporated into the daily programme.

These two new fact sheets from NDNA will help you understand your responsibilities. Prevent Duty (England) and British Values (England) factsheets are available on the NDNA website.


Book Trust

Register now for your FREE Bookstart Corner pack

Registration for this year’s FREE Bookstart Corner packs opens on September 1st, for Children’s Centres.

Bookstart Corner is one of Book Trust’s targeted reading programmes aimed at families with children aged 12-24 months, who need extra support to develop a love of stories and rhymes. This evidence-based FREE programme enables Children’s Centres to offer intensive support to parents and carers.

After taking part in Bookstart Corner:

  • 96% of parents used services or attended sessions at children’s centres
  • 85% of parents felt more confident and knowledgeable about reading with their child

All centres that sign up get free online training and a number of free resources to help build on their work with families. They can also receive either 10, 25, 50 or 100 packs-which ever number is appropriate, containing two picture books and guidance materials, to gift to families. Those ordering more than 10 packs also receive additional resources including posters, a Rhyme Challenge pack and a Bookstart Bear.

To register email: [email protected] 


The Communication Trust

No Pens Wednesday

The Communication Trust is inviting early years settings to take part in its annual national event, No Pens Day Wednesday on the 7th October.

For 2015, The Communication Trust has more new and exciting ideas for developing your No Pens Day Wednesday even further! Feedback from previous years has indicated that many are really keen to see how others have put their own spin on the day. As a result, there is a new sharing function on the website, allowing settings to send in their No Pens Day resources, activity ideas and lesson plans.

The brand new 2015 Activity Pack has also been launched, which is available to download for free. The pack will tell you how to get your early years setting involved and how to plan your No Pens Day Wednesday! In addition to this, the Trust has also added more free early years lesson plans to the site, as well as a pupil evaluation tool that aims to capture the impact that the day has had by directly using the voice of the child.


Contact a Family

Take part in parent carer focus groups on 30 hour offer

Contact a Family are running three focus groups on the extend free offer for three and four year olds to 30 hours per week for parents of children with additional needs, find out more here. If parents can’t attend the focus groups there is still time to you can take part the early years survey.


Advice for parents with SEND children

Contact a Family has a new early years webpage and factsheet [PDF] which describes how children with SEN are supported in early years settings and what you can do if you are worried about your child’s learning and development.  For any issue, parents can call the free education helpline on 0808 808 3555.


Become a SEND parent champion

Contact a Family are working in partnership with Family and Childcare Trust on a pilot project in Greenwich, to develop a SEND Parent Champion scheme. We know that families of disabled children often find it difficult to access free childcare and may not be aware of the range of services available to them. Contact; Toni Rushton for an informal chat about training to becoming a SEND Parent Champion: 07920 654984 [email protected]


Early childhood Forum / Learning Through Landscapes

Everyone knows that getting outdoors is important for the healthy development of all young children, don’t they? The national Early Childhood Forum (ECF) and Learning through Landscapes (LtL) together with Early Education and other partners share a concern that ‘daily outdoor experiences’ enshrined in the EYFS may no longer be seen as a priority by early years settings, schools, policy makers and politicians.

We need the sector to work together to monitor the impact of policies on the ground and to ensure that the interests of young children are central to the way we model our education and childcare provision.

We are calling on all those working with and for young children to complete our State of the Nation survey, to help us get a clearer view of the impact of recent policy changes and where we need to influence change for the better. The survey closes on 15th October.


Early Education

Making best use of Early Years Pupil Premium 

Our DfE funded Learning Together About Learning project is in full swing, and you can view our dedicated section on our website with some helpful ideas for making best use of Early Years Pupil Premium. You can view this online, and sign up for our handy newsletters, on our website

We will be revealing details of upcoming EYPP events soon, but please check out our upcoming Autumn and Spring training programme in the interim.

Training and Events

For our full list of courses, including outlines and booking information, visit here. This includes our Achieving Excellence in the Early Years: a conference for primary heads and leaders which will be held in Sheffield on 2 December 2015.

Series of linked courses

New for 2016, we are offering a series of linked courses and sessions allowing you several opportunities to increase your knowledge in specific subject areas. We currently offer:

  • Developing early writing: a series of three linked sessions with Jasmine Pasch, Anni McTavish and Julie Cigman
  • Leadership: a series of three linked sessions with Jane Cook


Infant and Toddler Forum

A brand new resource for parents that combines the developmental stages of babies and young children and their relationship with food and feeding has been made available by the Infant and Toddler Forum. It is a practical guide to help parents and carers recognise and understand how growing infants and young children develop skills related to food and feeding – including taste, texture and food preferences – and how these impact on the types of foods they are willing to eat both now and in future life.



Supporting SEND in the Early Years

13th October – Birmingham , 15th October – Leeds and 21st October – London

Following the successful release of the 4Children and the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) toolkit for SEN and disability in the early years, we are delighted to announce a series of seminars this October. These events will introduce you to this unique resource and give you the opportunity to hear from those who have used the tool in practice. Together, we will learn how it can be used to support children and settings who are affected by the new SEND reforms.   What is the SEN and Disability in the Early Years Toolkit? Each section of the toolkit provides a briefing on a particular aspect of the SEN and disability reforms as they apply to early years providers. Each section is based on the statutory requirements and the guidance from the early years, the SEN and the disability frameworks, and draws on a range of relevant practice guidance and other materials to provide an accessible guide to SEN and disability in the early years.

Towards the end of most of the sections of the toolkit is a useful tool, an activity or a reflective task to support practitioners in applying the particular topic to their own setting.

These seminars will provide settings with support to roll out the new SEND changes and offer opportunities to share good practice from those delivering services to children and families.


Early Identification in early language and communication

3rd November – London and 5th November – Leeds

Learning to talk is one of the most important skills a child will ever need.  They need to be able to communicate with people around them in order to learn, make friends, solve problems and have fun.  However, learning to communicate does not happen by accident, children develop their skills through supportive interactions from the adults around them.

It can be difficult to identify children who are not developing their speech, language and communication skills to the level that is expected for their age. There are an increasing number of children who are starting school without the communication and language skills they require; they are not ‘school ready’.  Therefore, early identification of speech, language and communication difficulties has become a crucial way of ensuring that children who are struggling to develop these skills, receive the support that they require as early as possible to minimise the potential impact of their speech and language difficulties.

At these seminars you will hear about:

  • Early language and communication in the context of the free 30 hours childcare
  • The importance of early identification of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and next steps
  • Upskilling the workforce and looking at what tools are available
  • Looking at how settings can support parents to encourage  their children’s  speech, language and communication development at home
  • Good practice case study examples



Be happy, be healthy: supporting wellbeing in the early years

7th November – York

An action-packed conference for PACEY childcarers. Held in York city centre, we’ll be highlighting the importance of wellbeing and keeping both your children and practice happy and healthy! Our exciting programme of presentations and workshops will also aid to develop and extend your practice.


Association for Infant Mental Health UK

16 September 2015 – Northampton

‘Infant mental health begins in the womb’, is one of the key messages from the Association for Infant Mental Health’s bi-annual conference, being held in September at the University of Northampton, and sponsored by the 1001 Critical Days collaborative, founded by local MP Andrea Leadsom.

The conference will explore a range of topics including the number of parents who experience anxiety and depression in pregnancy and the effect on the unborn baby, the impact of maternal trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder during pregnancy, and the role of the maternal relationship with the foetus in terms of later parenting behaviours, in addition to exploring innovative ways of working to support parents-to-be.

To book your place on the conference please contact [email protected]



A National FGM Centre Conference: FGM mandatory reporting – understanding your new duty

20 October 2015 – Central London

It will be mandatory to report known cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on girls under 18 to the police from October 2015. This conference from the new National FGM Centre, managed by Barnardo’s and the LGA and funded by the Department for Education, will help clarify the new duties for teachers and regulated health and social care professionals. Visit to book your place.



Watch, Wait and Wonder training

Tuesday 24 November – Oxford, Friday 4 December – London

These courses have tended to book up quickly, so please register your interest asap. We are holding the price at a very competitive £100 per training. Watch, Wait and Wonder is a proven and effective tool for supporting positive parent infant relationships. The principles of the intervention can be used in a range of early years settings with parents and children presenting with a wide range of issues and relationship problems. By using Watch, Wait and Wonder early years practitioners can:

  • Enhance parental sensitivity and attunement
  • Promote parental responsiveness and reduce intrusiveness
  • Increase positive affect and pleasure within the relationship
  • Encourage a more secure attachment

At the end of the course participants will have:

  • An understanding of the principles of Watch, Wait, and Wonder
  • An ability to use Watch, Wait, and Wonder
  • Knowledge of attachment and mentalisation theories

OXPIP therapists Joanna Tucker and Joanna Chapman will be leading this course.

To book on either of these two days please contact: Ursula Saunders on 01865 778034 [email protected]  or book directly at

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