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Communication Trust

An online route to the Level 3 Award – Supporting Children’s and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication

The Communication Trust is delighted to announce that Platform 3 is now available to everybody who works with children and young people from across the workforce. Platform 3 is an innovative and cost effective online route for delivering and undertaking the Level 3 qualification: Supporting Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication. Find out more about the Level 3 qualification here.

In 2011, the Trust, in collaboration with City & Guilds, developed this qualification for people working with children and young people. In 2012, the Trust successfully applied to the Department for Education (DfE) VCS grant scheme to pilot an online model of delivering this qualification, responding to the recommendations of the Nutbrown Review, which highlighted the lack of access to high quality CPD for the early years’ workforce.

Based on the positive findings of the original pilot, the Trust was granted further DfE grant funding to tailor Platform 3 to address the specific needs of childminders. Find out more about the pilots here.

For more information on completing or delivering this Award through Platform 3, please visit


The Communication Trust is seeking feedback from anyone who has used any, or all of their Early Years resources which launched in 2015. Their dedicated Early Years page contains resources including an online short course around speech, language and communication, posters to help practitioners and settings get to grips with the SEND reforms, and a new Early Identification Framework to help practitioners to identify children who may be struggling with speech, language and communication. Please complete the short online survey here.


National Children’s Bureau

The Integrated Review: Experiences of Practice

The experiences of two local authorities putting into practice the new Integrated Review for two-year olds have been published by the National Children’s Bureau for the Children’s Partnership, enabling others to learn from their different approaches to the new way of working.

The Experiences of Practice series is designed to help both staff working directly with young children and those managing and designing services, to learn from work being done in Islington and Warwickshire, which were among the first to trial the Integrated Review.

Based on the experiences of service leads, practitioners and parents, each document in the Experiences of Practice series can be used as a standalone guide to one aspect of the Independent Review, or can be read alongside other published material.


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 have been building on this work with a 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

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

[email protected] (South)

[email protected] (North & Midlands)

Further information can also be found


The NPA Stamp of Approval Scheme

This 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



BookTrust will be running it’s bi-annual free Bookstart regional stakeholder events during March 2016 – ‘Bookstart Corner: Exploring good practice through Bookstart Corner’.  With the opportunity to share research, ideas and good practice, focus will be on the key outcomes of the programme such as reading for pleasure and how these can relate to your wider goals.

Places are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis, as we cannot guarantee that everyone will get a place.  To find out more about the events and to book a place please click here.


Contact A Family

Short Breaks Matter

Contact a Family has launched a month of features, advice and information about short breaks (or respite) services.  The aim is to help families with disabled children who might be missing out on this vital support service.

Families with disabled children describe short breaks as a ‘lifeline’.   Short breaks offer an opportunity for parent carers to catch up on everything things like shopping, cleaning or sleep! At the same time they give disabled children chance to try different experiences and make friends – just like their non-disabled peers. Despite these benefits, over half (53%) of the 2,000 families with disabled children who took part in a survey Contact a Family carried out last year, said they had never accessed any form of short breaks service. In many cases this was because the family didn’t know about short breaks. Contact a Family want to change this with your help.

As an early years professional you’ll be working with children with additional needs so you can get involved by signposting families to Contact a Family’s short breaks information. By following Contact a Family on Twitter or joining the charity’s Facebook community you’ll be able to keep up to date with #ShortBreaksMatter. For more information visit



With funding from the DfE, nasen has developed an offer of free online CPD for all mainstream settings across England. This offer called ‘Focus on SEND’ is based on sound principles, identified by various research, of what constitutes good CPD.

The CPD will take a practice led, enquiry-based approach and consist of approximately 9 hours of learning which will be available 24 hours a day.  There will be 6 modules, the first 5 of which will have knowledge based content, practical activities for the learner to work through in their setting and guidance for reflection in order to support the practitioner in consolidating their learning. Learners will record their reflections in a virtual learning log which could be used as part of their performance management process.

Modules will cover: high quality practice and what this means for SEND, identifying needs and the role of assessment, the process for arriving at meaningful outcomes, participation and engagement, both of children and young people and of their parents and families, meeting needs and how the cycle of assess, plan, do, review can be used to best effect.

As teachers and practitioners, we are in the business of aiming high. We must have the highest expectations and aspirations for all the children and young people (CYP) we teach. But desire and will is not enough. We also need to recognise that, as a profession, we have a responsibility to our learners to keep improving our own skills and knowledge by remaining learners ourselves. Within the SEND Code of Practice, the responsibility for high quality provision is clearly that of teachers and practitioners. They must use their ‘best endeavours’ to meet the needs of all the CYP they teach. And this is tough! All of us in teaching have our strengths and equally areas in which we may require support and education through effective CPD. See more here


Rotherham LA EYPP Funding Case Studies

Rotherham utilised its LA EYPP funding to develop two projects exploring effective ways of using EYPP funding. One project focused on engaging parents/carers in children’s learning and development, while the other project focused on supporting children’s communication and language development. Both projects included practitioners from school nursery provision and PVI provision, and culminated in the development of case studies and a celebration event which all Rotherham school and setting providers were invited to. The case studies can be accessed here.



Learn Explore Debate

As part of their continuing work as the DfE’s strategic partner for early years and childcare, 4Children are delighted to announce the next rounds of Learn Explore Debate (LED) events.

The LED events will focus on the following:

  • New Early Years workforce strategy
  • Pre-consultation on 30 hours childcare
  • Information on the Model Agreement and Fair Funding
  • Social Investment in the Early Years


The events will start promptly at 10am, with refreshments provided from 9.45am. A working lunch will be provided due to the robust agenda and focus on gaining feedback for the DfE. The event will end around 2.30pm.

Additionally, the findings of the 4Children ‘Childcare and Early Learning Hubs’ project will be shared from 2.30pm to 4pm for those of you interested in staying to find out more in relationship to partnership working with a particular focus on the 30 hour entitlement.

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

* The event in Northumberland will start promptly at 1pm and finish at 4pm


Childminder Agencies Events

Next month 4Children will be hosting information sessions in London, Leeds and Birmingham for anyone looking to register as a childminder agency. Please stay tuned for more information including dates and locations.


Early Education

EYPP project dissemination events

After the success of our first event in Newcastle, don’t miss out on booking a place on one of our other 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.

Date                                       Location         Keynote speaker

29 February 2016              Plymouth            Liz Stratton

3 March 2016                     Cambridge          Stella Louis

8 March 2016                     Birmingham        Marion Dowling

17 March 2016                   London                Julie Revels

Book now


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).

‘The future of inclusive childcare’ conference

Thursday, 10 March 2016, 9.30am to 3pm

  • What? This free knowledge-sharing event will enable delegates to hear how schools and other early years providers are developing more inclusive childcare practices, and network with other childcare professionals from across the country.
  • Who? All those interested in inclusive childcare practices (eg schools, nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and policymakers)
  • Where? Swiss Cottage School, 80 Avenue Road, London NW8 6HX
  • Cost? Free, including lunch and refreshments
  • Booking? Visit the Learning Exchange website for more information and to download a booking form.

Please return your completed booking form by the latest on Friday, 26 February 2016 as places are limited and demand will be high. Your place will be confirmed by a member of the Childcare in Schools team during the week commencing 29 February 2016.  Further information about the event will be sent, including an agenda, nearer the time.



Working together: early years providers and schools in partnership

PACEY is inviting leaders from early years settings and schools to attend a unique event to discuss the benefits and challenges of partnership working, on 22nd March 2016.

Sam Gyimah, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education, will be delivering the keynote speech at the forum, which will be attended by policymakers from central and local government.

Early years provision in England is changing rapidly. Free childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds of working parents is being introduced from 2017. Schools are being encouraged to deliver early education to children as young as 2. The Government has introduced a range of measures to enable, and incentivise, schools and early years settings to work more closely together to provide a seamless, blended childcare offer for parents.

The event will highlight innovative models of shared care, and consider how schools and early years providers can work together to deliver high quality early education and care that both meets the practical needs of families and enables children to flourish. There is no cost for this event but places are strictly limited, to register your interest visit here.


NLH Partnership

Workshop: Effectively tracking Children’s Centre impacts

Thursday 10th March – Voluntary Action Islington, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP

Friday 18th March – St George’s Centre, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3DL

Wednesday 23rd March – BVSC, Birmingham B5 6DR

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’, 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 [email protected], or call 0207 7292206.


Sightlines Initiative

Loris Malaguzzi in the UK: what future for early childhood education?

Saturday 14th May, Institute of Education, London

This day provides a unique opportunity to explore the ideas and practices of Malaguzzi and the schools of Reggio Emilia; and to think critically about the current condition and future directions for early childhood education in the UK – and what we want for our children and society. The day is organised and led by leading experts on Reggio Emilian pedagogy, from Italy, Sweden and the UK.

To mark the publication of a new book of selected writings and speeches by Loris Malaguzzi, available for the first time in English, this day provides a unique opportunity to explore the ideas and practices of Malaguzzi and the schools of Reggio Emilia; and to think critically about the current condition and future directions for early childhood education in the UK – and what we want for our children and society.

The day is organised and led by leading experts on Reggio Emilian pedagogy, from Italy, Sweden and the UK.

A day hosted by Sightlines Initiative and the Thomas Coram Research Unit, including Sightlines seminar with Gunilla Dahlberg


Making a Start: with Environments of Enquiry & Learning in Nature

Sat 11 – Sunday 12 June

[Two linked professional development days for early years, foundation stage and primary educators across all sectors]

We know that young children are creative, strong, powerful learners; that children (and educators and parents) thrive in creative enabling environments; that early years and primary educators can be creative, critical and reflective.

However, it is not easy to turn beliefs, values and aspirations into practice: there’s often a gap between what we want to do and what actually happens. External pressures can push educators towards ‘delivering’ instruction rather than facilitating engaged learning; even when we encounter engaged learning, we often don’t know where to start in building an appropriate pedagogy and feel disheartened.

Our Developing Environments of Enquiry framework and the related Learning to Learn in Nature context is designed for everybody who wants to resolve these dilemmas. These days are designed for educators who want to begin!

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