Print Friendly, PDF & Email



We are conducting a short survey to get feedback on the newsletter and the Foundation Years website. It will take you less than a minute to complete but will help us tailor the newsletter and website to suit your needs and we would be very grateful if you could complete the survey.


Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC)

MA in Education (Early Years) Modules

Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) will run new modules for 2016/17 which focus on a number of leading topic areas, such as Maths, Literacy & Phonics, Physical Activity, Leading Learning with Two Year Olds and Leading Multilingual Settings. These new modules will accompany our popular existing modules, such as Early Years Music, Integrated System Leadership and Coaching & Mentoring.

Designed for those leading and working in Early Years, CREC’s MA modules are accredited by Birmingham City University and will help you to:

  • Develop your professional knowledge and practice;
  • Enhance your research skills & career prospects;
  • Improve outcomes for children & your setting.

Click here for more information or call us today (0121 464 0020) to discuss studying options available to you.


Children’s Food Trust

Call out for recipes to include as part of development of new menus for early years settings in England 

Public Health England (PHE) has commissioned the Children’s Food Trust to develop new menus for early years settings in England to reflect current government dietary recommendations for children under five, and help demonstrate how settings can help meet children’s dietary requirements in practice.

We are looking for recipes for breakfasts, lunches, teas and snacks currently provided by early years settings to include as part of the new menus, to make sure that the recipes included are popular and practical for settings to provide, as well as promoting best practice in food provision.

If you have any recipes you would like to send us, please contact our nutrition team at [email protected], and we will send you a simple agreement document and recipe template to complete. All recipes will be attributed to the settings that submitted them.

If you have any questions, please contact the Trust’s nutrition team by calling us on 0114 299 6901 or emailing us at the address above, and we’d be very happy to talk to you.


Communication Trust

No Pens Day Wednesday 2016 Activity Pack is now live!

The Communication Trust are delighted to announce that our brand new No Pens Day Wednesday 2016 activity pack is now live on our website and available to download here! The pack contains lots of information about how to get involved and plan your No Pens Day Wednesday, whatever your setting!

For No Pens Day Wednesday 2016, we will have an increased focus on ‘No Pens Homework’, which will aim to encourage communication at home. A child’s home environment is hugely important in supporting development – a high quality home learning environment promotes intellectual and social development and parents have a vital role in supporting speech, language and communication development.

In 2014, we developed pens free homework one pagers for early years, primary, secondary and special schools and as a result of positive feedback in our 2014 and 2015 surveys, we aim to take this further in 2016 by ensuring all of our new lesson plans for this year have a homework element. We will also be adding homework components to a variety of our older resources. Ultimately, we want to ensure that pupils are communicating effectively in whatever environment they are in – whether this is at home, in school or with their peers.

In addition to this, we will be launching all of our new resources for this year in September, ready for the big day on October 5th 2016. To access these, as well as our huge suite of lesson plans and activity ideas from previous years, sign up and take part in No Pens Day Wednesday this October (or whenever works best for you)!


Early Intervention Foundation

What Works to Support Parent Child Interaction in the Early Years

An assessment of 75 programmes which aim to improve child outcomes through supporting positive parent child interactions from conception to age 5 has been published by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF). The EIF review ‘Foundations for Life: What Works to Support Parent Child Interaction in the Early Years’ has assessed programmes available to UK commissioners, as well as other programmes from around the world.

The quality of parent child interactions in the early years help lay the foundations for children’s ability to develop crucial life skills. For the first time, the EIF has rated both the strength of evidence of impact and estimated the resource costs of early intervention programmes available to commissioners in the UK.

The EIF’s review focuses on the following three key aspects of child development:

Behaviour: While aggressive and defiant behaviours in toddlers are normal, between 5 and 15 per cent are likely to carry on behaving aggressively once they enter school. The EIF found 10 programmes with good evidence of improving children’s behaviour by teaching parents strategies for managing and reducing their child’s aggressive behaviour.

Attachment: Around 15 per cent of toddlers tend to be classed as having poor attachment. Forming a secure attachment with a primary caregiver is a key to children’s social and emotional development. The EIF’s review found 5 programmes with good, evidence of improving attachment.

Cognitive development:  How children learn to think, understand and communicate is strongly influenced by their early environment and parenting. Within this category the review focused mainly on early language and communication. Some children are more disadvantaged – particularly those from poor backgrounds and deprived communities – or whose parents struggle to support their learning. The EIF found 2 programmes with good evidence of improving early language and communication.


Family Action

Developing inclusive childcare practices

National charity Family Action was funded by the Department for Education (DfE) between 2015–16 to support school-based early years settings to develop their inclusive childcare practices for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

While this project has now ended, we are delighted that the Learning Exchange website will be hosted for a further year, until end March 2017. This means that you can continue to view and download a wide range of free information and resources related to our inclusion project, as well as earlier work supporting schools to develop wraparound childcare and holiday provision (see below).


Developing inclusive childcare practices

Browse the Learning Exchange website to see how schools and other early years providers across England are developing inclusion in their setting for children with SEND. You can also download:


Wraparound childcare

Discover more about developing holiday programmes and before- and after-school care on a school site, by visiting the ‘Wraparound childcare’ section of the Learning Exchange website. There you will find a wide range of resources, produced as part of our 2013–15 Childcare in Schools project (e.g. case studies, guide, video clips, and templates).


Family Action services

Family Action provides a wide range of training courses, bespoke consultancy and services for schools and other organisations, such as:

  • Family Support in Schools
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS)
  • Support for Young Carers
  • Our Space Service (social and emotional well-being in schools)
  • Targeted Mental Health in Schools
  • Children’s Therapeutic Services

Find out more, by visiting our website.


Family and Childcare Trust

Holiday Childcare Survey

Family and Childcare Trust has published a report into childcare provision during the holiday period. The results suggest that overall only 12% of local authorities have enough holiday childcare available for all age-groups. Key findings from the report show that:

  • Of those that responded with sufficient data, 88 per cent of local authorities in Britain reported not having enough holiday childcare.
  • Parents of children aged 12 or over, families who live in rural areas, and those with children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) face the biggest gaps in provision.
  • Not one local authority in Wales or the East of England reported having sufficient childcare places



A2YO comes to an end as two-year-old entitlement goes from strength-to-strength

In the month DfE statistics show a record take-up of the two-year-old entitlement, the department’s national support contract Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO) has ended.

There are now 166,920 two-year-olds accessing some free early years education, equivalent to 68 per cent of twos eligible for the offer, according to statistics published by the Department for Education.

Speaking on the end of the project, National Support Director, James Hempsall OBE said:

“Delivering for two-year-old children and their families, is something the early years and childcare sector has fully embraced.  It is something that should be acknowledged and celebrated.  We have raised the bar for outcomes for children, we have targeted resources for children who are the least advantaged, and we have forged new partnerships and collaborations.  This has required all of us to change some of the ways we have delivered our work to meet national policy, local strategy, and the individual needs of children and parents in our communities.  However, there is still work to be done.

A2YO began in June 2012, just before the London Olympics and at that time around 20,000 two-year-olds were in free early learning.  Now we are approaching nearly ten times that figure.

We were thrilled to see that the two-year-old entitlement continued to be supported following last year’s comprehensive spending review.  Everyone in government values this work and this is amazing to see.  And it is clear DfE wants take-up of the entitlement to continue to grow across the country so families that want it, can access it.  Something mirrored by comments by Sir Michael Wilshaw who focuses on the 32% not currently taking up their entitlement, and the estimated £200m of government funding unclaimed by providers as a result.

That said, we would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen.  The Government, the Department for Education, cross government departments (including DWP, Cabinet Office and HMRC), local authorities, providers, partner organisations, outreach workers, children’s centres, schools, childminders and families themselves who by getting involved have seen first-hand the difference this entitlement can make to least advantaged children and their families”.

Even though the A2YO programme has ended, it’s legacy continues through thriving informal networks across the country and a suite of films, tools and resources all accessible on the A2YO KHUB and Hempsall’s website

The work of Hempsall’s continues too, as James adds: “We are fast approaching twenty years of providing training, research and consultancy in early years, childcare and children’s centres.  And we are currently busy supporting many LAs to complete their childcare sufficiency assessments, prepare for 30-hours, and offer business support to providers considering the potential and the impact of new funding arrangements.  Our training carries on as well, only last month we delivered 70+ training events in safeguarding, EYFS, business skills etc.  And we’ve seen a growth in settings asking us to come and work with them for business skills and in-house training across all subjects”.


National Literacy Trust

New HELLO tool to raise literacy levels of pre-school children

The National Literacy Trust has worked with five nursery teaching schools and two local authority teams to create the Helping Early Language and Literacy (HELLO) tool and a range of accompanying resources. The tool supports settings to self-assess their communication, language and literacy (CLL) provision to create an action plan for improvement across three areas:

  • Skilled practitioners
  • Partnership with parents
  • Enabling environments

45% of practitioners who have used the tool have reported that they felt more confident that the activities they delivered support their children’s early literacy.

There are a range of accompanying resources to support practitioners in their action planning, these include:

  • Guidance for supporting boys and two year olds with their CLL
  • Guidance for supporting families with EAL
  • Support with baselining current assessments
  • Best practice case studies and templates for improving provision

Alongside this there are a range of new exciting resources to support practitioners use digital technology to support CLL, including:

  • Termly, weekly, daily and Possible Lines of Development (PLOD) planning templates
  • Observation frameworks
  • Activity ideas
  • Video case studies
  • A new app guide to help practitioners and parents choose and use quality literacy apps, available at:

These resources are all available on the National Literacy Trust website.


National Portage Association (NPA)

Would you like to develop your skills, knowledge and confidence to support children with SEND and their families?

The NPA provide training and support to the early years workforce to develop Portage practice.

Portage Workshop – A Small Steps Approach to Learning for Children with SEND

Recently updated to support the implementation of Portage principles within early years settings.

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

[email protected] (South)

[email protected] (North & Midlands)

Further information can also be found here


The NPA Stamp of Approval Scheme

This award is available to early years settings (including childminders and foster carers) whose staff have completed the Portage Workshop 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.



Welcome to Focus on SEND training.

Focus on SEND training is a free course aiming to help teachers and educational practitioners working across the 0 – 25 years age range to develop high quality practice in order to better meet the needs of their learners with SEND. It is based on the evidence of what constitutes good continuing professional development (CPD) and so takes a practice- led, enquiry-based and collaborative approach.

The modules explore: high quality practice and what this means for SEND; the participation and engagement both of children or young people and of their parents and families; identifying needs and the role of assessment; the process for arriving at meaningful outcomes; meeting needs and how the cycle of assess, plan, do, review can be used to best effect.  Focus on SEND training offers both online content and opportunities to carry out practical activities in your own setting.

Although it won’t make you an expert in SEND, it will help you to recognise your own skills and experience and use them to begin to unpick the needs of learners



New NDNA factsheet: Safeguarding and Child Protection

 Safeguarding and child protection is a vital element of all early years practitioners’ daily practice. As professionals who care for children every day, you need to be aware of any changes in their wellbeing, but what do we mean by ‘safeguarding and child protection’?

Find out in NDNA’s brand new factsheet. Free to NDNA members and just £3.50 to non-members.



PACEY research confirms early years recruitment crisis

Research conducted by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) reveals a worrying decline in the number of enrolments on Level 3 Early Years Educator (EYE) courses.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of further education colleges that took part in the survey reported that enrolments on Level 3 EYE courses have decreased this year (2015-16) compared to last year (2014-15). With 56% reporting that enrolments have decreased a lot.

GCSE requirements were highlighted as the main factor in the decline. In fact 94% said that if functional skills equivalents in Maths and English were allowed in place of GCSEs, more Level 2 learners would go on to Level 3.

Read more about the research here


Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Information Sharing Matters

Information Sharing Matters is a free education programme designed for the early years workforce and healthcare professionals about information sharing in early years. It is designed to improve your knowledge, skills and understanding of the benefits of effectively sharing information in a professional context. It is made up of online and face-to-face resources supporting the training of individuals and multidisciplinary teams.

On completion of this programme you will be able to:

  • explain what information can and cannot be shared in a context of integrated working
  • describe the range of benefits to children and families related to information sharing, with a focus on improving outcomes
  • use and share good practice with your colleagues and between individuals and organisations
  • support improved information sharing, helping to build trust between professionals and improving outcomes for young children and their families


Save the Children

A new report by Save the Children shows that boys are almost twice as likely as girls to be falling behind in language skills by the time they start school. The report found that overall, 25% of boys were behind in language at age five in 2014/15, compared to 14% of their female classmates. The gender gap has remained nearly constant over the past decade.


Early Education

Conference: Improving life chances: the role of the early years Friday 14 October 2016, London

What is the role of the early years sector in improving children’s life chances, and how can the sector respond to the government’s emerging life chances strategy?  This one-day conference will take a topical look at early years policy developments and research findings relating to the life chances strategy.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Helen Stephenson, Director, Early Years, Child Poverty and Children’s Services Strategy, Department for Education
  • Professor Kathy Sylva, University of Oxford
  • Naomi Eisenstadt, University of Oxford
  • Bernadette Duffy, Head, Thomas Coram Centre
  • Professor Ted Melhuish, University of Oxford

Full programme now available: to view and to book your place visit our website – early bird booking rate available until the end of July.


Early Excellence

Enabling Successful Futures: Developing a Reflective & Impactful Pedagogy in an Increasingly Challenging Climate

Keynote: Robert Winston

The evidence of what children require to be successful and the implications of what happens if these needs are not met have never been more apparent. We are reminded daily of the consequences of inappropriate Early Years provision and the impact that this can have on children’s health, well-being, academic outcomes and life chances.

More than ever, the children we work with need educators who are informed, reflective, and confident about providing a pedagogy that fully reflects and supports the reality of successful learning and development. Join us at this conference which will provide a unique opportunity to explore these issues from highly informed and respected perspectives.


North: Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford Thursday 17th November, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Midlands: The St Johns Hotel, Solihull Monday 28th November, 9.30am – 3.30pm

South: Early Excellence London Centre Tuesday 29th November, 9.30am – 3.30pm

South: Early Excellence London Centre 30th November, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Full information and to book today-

or call 01422 311314

No comments yet.