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Britain’s Families: Thriving or Surviving?

4Children have this week released the findings of an inquiry Britain’s Families: Thriving or Surviving?, looking at the daily lives of Britain’s families in 2016. The report shows that parents’ efforts to make ends meet are taking their toll on family time:

  • Over 1 in 4 working parents (26%) say they are missing out on family activities every weekend because of work commitments
  • Almost half (46%) of mums say they are losing sleep over money worries
  • Almost 4 in 10 dads (38%) miss dinner time at least once a week because of work

Childminder Agencies

4Children has been asked by the Department for Education to work on supporting the effective implementation of childminder agencies across England. What are childminder agencies? Introduced by the DfE in 2013, childminder agencies are ‘one-stop shop’ organisations that register childminders and provide them with training, advice, administrative support and marketing to families. They also provide a valuable service for parents looking for high quality flexible childcare.

We will work closely with a number of organisations that have already expressed interest in registering as an agency and guide any prospective agencies through the registration process, providing ongoing post-registration support, as well as helping with marketing tools. For more information, visit here.


Family Action

‘Developing inclusive childcare practices for 0–5s with SEND’

Family Action is being funded until end March 2016 by the Department for Education (DfE) to support school-based early years childcare settings to develop inclusive practices for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

If your childcare setting is interested in developing wraparound provision on a school site, take a look at the wide range of resources (guide, case studies, templates, video clips etc) produced as part of our 2013-15 Childcare in Schools programme.



Be a maths pioneer

Would you and your nursery like to be at the cutting edge of early years research? Why not become a Maths Champion with National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)?

Nurseries in some areas of England are eligible to sign up for a free year-long research project, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, starting this summer.

NDNA is looking for 120 nurseries caring for at least ten children aged three to three-and-a-half by July. They must be new to NDNA’s Champions programmes.

Maths Champions supports children and staff by embedding maths into play and activities and building confidence in maths through the nursery.

Interested? Call Kathryn Moses on 01484 407070 ext 242 or email [email protected].


National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust’s hugely successful early years conference is back for its 12th year on 29 February 2016 at The Royal National Hotel in London. Talk To Your Baby will be chaired by education expert Jean Gross CBE, who will be joined by a high-profile speakers including the Scottish Government’s Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality Naomi Eisenstadt, who will deliver the keynote speech. This year’s conference will explore the three areas of focus from The National Literacy Trust’s HELLO programme: skilled practitioners, partnerships with parents and enabling environments. Find out more and book a place 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 3 levels of Portage training:

  • 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)

The NPA Stamp of Approval Scheme

The award is available to early years settings (including childminders and foster carers) 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 the Portage Support Hub:

Come and meet us at the Nursery World Show – London 5th & 6th February, 2016

The NPA will have a stand at this exciting early years exhibition at the London Business Design Centre.

If you would like more information about Portage training or the Stamp of Approval scheme, please come and talk to us at Stand 8.


PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years)

PACEY sets out how early years practitioners can be better supported to deliver high quality care

PACEY has set out how it believes early years and childcare professionals can be better supported to deliver high quality care and early education, and encouraged to stay and progress in the profession.

Its policy briefing Towards an Early Years Workforce Development Strategy for England has been produced in response to Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah’s firm commitment in December to work in partnership with the sector to publish a workforce strategy during 2016.

The briefing makes clear that this workforce plan must not only encourage new entrants into the sector but also support and motivate current early years practitioners to stay and progress their careers in early years. It builds on the findings of PACEY’s sector-wide Building Blocks report published last year which highlighted a sector at tipping point: with many providers unsure they will be operating in the future.

The briefing makes a series of practical recommendations for how to support and motivate practitioners to continuously improve their skills, gain higher qualifications and progress their careers. The recommendations cover three key areas that PACEY believes the strategy should address:

  • Increasing qualification levels
  • Career pathways and progression routes
  • Recognising and encouraging Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Read the full policy document outlining PACEY’s aspirations for a workforce strategy here


British Heart Foundation National Centre

Being active regularly is good for all of us, but for the under fives it can be vital to their future health and wellbeing. 91% of children aged 2-4 are currently not meeting the UK physical activity guidelines for their age group of three hours of activity a day. This means that they are missing opportunities to positively benefit their health and establish healthy behaviours that carry on into adulthood.   Being physically active at a young age is proven to support brain development, enhance bone health and muscular development as well as have non-physical benefits to social and cognitive skills development and emotional wellbeing.   In order to ensure that every child has the opportunity for the best start in life the British Heart Foundation National Centre (BHFNC) and its Early Years Advisory Group has today launched its manifesto for physical activity in the early years. This sets out the Centre’s key asks to ensure every child has access to high quality physical activity opportunities from birth. Read more about the manifesto here.



The effect of childminder agencies on local authorities

4Children is pleased to be hosting information sessions providing local authorities with vital information on how to successfully work with local childminder agencies (CMAs). Senior officials from the Department for Education and Ofsted, as well as a local authority childminder agency, will be speaking at this event.

Events will be held on the following dates and locations:

London: Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre

10 February 2016 Time: 10am to 3.30pm


Leeds: Hilton Leeds City, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4BX

Thursday 11 February 2016 Time: 10am to 3.30pm

Space is limited, so please RSVP as soon as possible to [email protected], indicating your preferred event location.


Early Education

EYPP project dissemination event

Book a place on one of our six dissemination events to hear the outcomes of our DfE funded project on how to make best use of EYPP and demonstrate its impact.  Each event includes a knowledge café-style event, keynote speaker, “top tips” booklet and lunch, for just £25 per head.

Book now here


Sightlines Initiative

5 March:

Reggio-inspired early childhood practice in the UK: Sightlines Networks Showcase day, Croydon

Sightlines Initiative members working together to bring and discuss with you examples of their work over recent years:

  • Recognising children as competent from birth, how ought we to act?
  • How can we learn from young children’s fascinations?
  • How can we transform living and learning environments?
  • What have we already learnt? What are the challenges?

17 – 22 April

Reggio Emilia Study Week

A one-week study visit to learn about and be inspired by the world renowned educational approach of the preschools and infant toddler centres of Reggio Emilia. This course will explore the key principles underpinning the Reggio approach to early childhood education including:

  • Creativity and expressive languages of children
  • Listening to children
  • Parents as partners
  • The environment as the ‘third teacher’
  • Observation, interpretation, documentation
  • Professional dialogue

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