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The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust (TCT) has launched a new web page, ‘Developing and Using Evidence’, a resource dedicated to helping the speech language and communication sector to take steps – big or small – towards understanding evidence and developing their own evidence base. It will bring together a number of tools, including TCT’s new guide, ‘Building an approach to self evaluation’ aimed at small organisations delivering children’s speech, language and communication services. Other key features on the page include, a blog sharing thoughts and approaches on what makes good evidence and a platform to celebrate mini triumphs in developing evidence. You can access the page here.

Please do get in touch if you would like to contribute a mini triumph or blog to the page at [email protected].

Early Education

New Level 4 Certificate on improving provision and practice for 0- to 3-year-olds
Early Education is partnering Key Times Professional Development to deliver a year-long accredited programme at Level 4, starting in January 2017.  The part-time course is designed to meet the specific professional needs of experienced early childhood practitioners working with or leading provision for children aged from 0 to 3, and is suitable for managers, room leaders, practitioners, family support workers and childminders.

This course, which is accredited at level 4 by Middlesex University is equivalent to half of the first year of a degree, and so provides a really cost-effective first step into degree level study. In addition to being an excellent opportunity for practitioners to reflect on delivering and leading practice for under 3s, it has been shown to make a really positive impact on practice and provision. Previously only available by specific arrangement with individual local authorities, it is now available for individual practitioners and settings to access directly.

More information about the programme can be found at

Family Action

Support for early years settings and schools
Visit the Learning Exchange to download a wide range of free resources (eg templates, case studies, guides, tip sheets, elearning module) to support settings to:

  • develop more inclusive childcare practices for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • set up wraparound provision on a school site, such as after-school, breakfast and holiday clubs.

The Learning Exchange, which is managed by Family Action, is being funded by the Department for Education (DfE) until March 2017.

Find out about our training for schools and early years settings (e.g. mental health first aid, FGM), new resources or volunteering opportunities:



Children’s Centre Leader
The next free issue of the quarterly journal for everyone involved in children’s centres and linked services is due out shortly.  To read previous issues and to ensure you get your copy click here or find us on Medium:

As a very small charity, we are always looking for writers for future issues of Children’s Centre Leader.  So, if there’s something catching your attention about policy or practice in children’s centres or early help and you’d like to share your views, let us know. Or perhaps you have a success story that deserves wider recognition.

Whatever it is, please email us to discuss your ideas: [email protected]

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

Millie’s Mark

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) guidelines, which childcare settings in England are required to follow, currently state that just one person with a current paediatric first aid certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present or on outings. (DfE 2014, page 21)

Millie’s Mark will be awarded as a special endorsement to childcare providers that go above and beyond these minimum requirements by having 100% of staff trained in paediatric first aid, and also ensuring that everything learned during the course is kept alive and in the forefront of practitioners’ minds so that they are confident, ready and capable.

When your setting gains the Millie’s Mark accreditation, you provide reassurance for your parents that all childcare practitioners know what to do in a paediatric first aid situation.

You can find out more about Millie’s Mark here


The Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) has launched its annual sector-wide survey which will provide a unique insight into the issues facing early years professionals.

In its second year, Building Blocks, is the most comprehensive research of its kind carried out amongst individual early years practitioners. The survey is open to all childcare professionals working in England, from childminders to nannies to nursery and pre-school staff and covers professional development; qualifications and training; working conditions; finances and future plans.

The results of the survey will form an in-depth report which will be published in Spring 2017. To take part in the survey go to

Early Education

Places still available to book for courses in the autumn (see our website for the most up to date list):
Characteristics of effective learning series:

  • 19 Oct – Creative and Critical Thinking: challenging children’s ideas and understanding -with Julie Fisher
  • 08 Nov – The Power of Play – Ensuring challenge and progression through child initiated learning in the EYFS – with Kym Scott
  • 17 Nov – Active Learning – with Nancy Stewart

Leadership series:

  • 18 Oct – What kind of a leader do you aspire to be? Inspiration, motivation and the power of emotional intelligence in leading for quality in the early years – with Fiona Kemp
  • 08 Dec – Effective supervision and understanding others, including the practical development of coaching and mentoring skills -with Fiona Kemp

Other courses:

  • 17 Oct – All you need to know about working in the EYFS – Session 1 – with Ruth Moore
  • 10 Nov – Schemas and the 2-year-old – with Stella Louis
  • 24 Nov – Ready, Set, Read! Inspiring reading in the early years foundation stage – with Anne Harding
  • 25 Nov – Growing the Child: PSE, well-being and cultural diversity in the foundation phase – with Marion Dowling
  • 29 Nov – Elemental Play and Learning Through Risk, Challenge And Adventure Outdoors – 2 Day Course – with Kathryn Solly

Further details and book

Sightlines Initiative

A Tangled Web: conference & seminar in dialogue with Reggio
University of Greenwich, London
26-27 November, 2016
How can educators:

  • Actually create places for learning in many expressive languages?
  • Learn how and when a new expressive language can be brought into children’s enquiries?
  • Explore expressive languages themselves?
  • Show the outside world how this interwoven learning practice works?

Both days will feature educators from Reggio Emilia & their work. The first day will be a presentation style conference, with lots of time given to the detailed exploration of enquiry projects; the second day will focus, seminar-style, on exploring participants’ issues in the development of their educational practice, with the opportunity for detailed exchange with our Reggio Emilian colleague.

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