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Childcare Works

The website is now up and running. This will be a great source of information and events for providers. Already here are briefings about eligibility, lunches and charges, and schools forum. There is the Childcare Works getting ready guide and the slides from last autumn’s LEDs too.


SEED Reports Published

Early years practitioners share good practice

A tailored curriculum and a skilled and self-reflective workforce are key to good practice in early years settings, reveals a new report published by NatCen Social Research.

The report from the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) brings together the experiences of early years practitioners, who identified these three main themes as essential to good practice in early education settings:

  • Tailoring the curriculum to the needs of the children, including using assessment data to identify and support the needs of individual children.
  • A culture of self-evaluation and an environment that encourages providers to reflect on their own practice and that of their colleagues.
  • A skilled workforce – settings with good practice worked hard to recruit and retain high quality staff and prioritised ongoing support for their staff’s development.

This report was based on evidence from case studies of settings across England which included interviews with managers and staff at early years settings of different types, with parents using those settings and with local authority staff in those areas.

Three other reports from SEED have been published as well:


Early Years Assessment Material

These observations were contributed by nursery schools across London to help practitioners to assess children’s learning and exemplify the progress they make, using the Development Matters guidance. They were particularly selected to show the Characteristics of Effective Learning in action. Every aspect of the seven prime and specific areas of learning is illustrated by real observations of young children’s learning in action, using a wide range of different styles and formats.

We hope that these materials will be useful for training and development purposes, both to develop the quality of assessment, and to improve the accuracy and robustness of assessment across the early years. If early years settings, childminders and schools come together for training and for moderation, that will improve transition arrangements and will help to ensure that children can build on their learning and deepen their interests. Higher-quality assessment information will also engage parents more, and prompt more discussion: fostering early learning is a partnership between parents and practitioners.


The Communication Trust

Last summer more than 1200 members of the children and young people’s workforce responded to a survey from The Communication Trust, which asked about their experiences of professional development in speech, language and communication. Their responses revealed that, although they were nearly unanimous in their belief in the vital importance of children’s SLC skills, there were significant gaps in their professional development in this area. The majority (53%) reported that they had had little to no initial training in typical speech, language and communication development, and 60% had little to no training in identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

The Trust’s findings and recommendations can be found in a report here.

Speech, Language and Communication Framework

The SLCF is a free online professional development tool which sets out the skills and knowledge that everyone working with children and young people need in order to support the speech, language and communication of those they work with. The SLCF self-evaluation tool enables individuals to highlight their professional development needs and to find training, resources or information to ‘fill the gaps’ identified by the SLCF.

What can you do on the SLCF?

  • Evaluate your skills, knowledge and confidence around SLC
  • Find training and resources tailored to your learning needs
  • Track your development progress over time
  • Try out online activities for on the spot learning
  • Assess the strengths and development needs of groups of practitioners, whole settings or organisations

Register for the SLCF for free today at

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences of using the SLCF, we would be grateful if you could spare 10 minutes to complete this survey:


Early Education

Early years pedagogy: blogs and resources

Have you seen our new blog series on aspects of early years pedagogy?  Read recent blogs at and follow @earlyed_cathy for more.  The blogs are available to all, with additional resources available to members only in the members’ area of our website.


Family Action – support for schools and early years settings

East Midlands Adoption Support Service

Browse the Learning Exchange to find out about Family Action’s East Midlands Adoption Support Service (EMASS), which is being funded by the Department for Education until March 2018.

EMASS is working in partnership with a number of local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to ensure adopted children and those with attachment-based difficulties and their families in the East Midlands receive the support they need when they need it. EMASS provides a wide range of attachment training, resources and support for schools, as well as supporting adoptive families and those caring for children and young people under Special Guardianship Orders.

Contact EMASS:


Childcare in Schools

On the Learning Exchange you can also find free resources produced as part of our previous DfE-funded projects. These will help you to: develop more inclusive childcare practices for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND); set up wraparound provision on a school site (e.g. after-school, breakfast and holiday clubs).

Training for early years and school staff

Family Action is also offering a range of open workshops across the country (e.g. aimed at early years, school and adoption/fostering professionals). These include:

Find out more about our open workshops:


National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)

Free online courses and quizzes

Supported by The Department for Education, NDNA has launched two free online courses and quizzes for early years professionals to support SEND provision in childcare.

Gain tips and advice on how to hold courageous conversations with parents in the most effective way and increase your knowledge and understanding of Education, Health and Care Plans.

A third course and quiz is to be launched at the end of February on working with parents and the importance of engaging and involving parents in the SEND process.

Find out more here


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



Forging the way to a multi-agency approach with Bookstart

Who should attend?

These events are aimed at key partners who are vital to delivery of the Bookstart programme. Partners include:

  • Libraries
  • Health
  • Early years settings
  • Children’s centres

It will be of particular interest to professionals working in management roles who are responsible for Bookstart within their settings or local authorities.

Event theme

This event will focus on key issues for participants on multi-agency working through delivering the Bookstart programme. This includes:

  • How a multi-agency approach to delivering the Bookstart programme has the greatest impact for families
  • How delivery of the Bookstart programme can support meeting wider local authority or organisational aims
  • Understanding the role of different partners who contribute to the delivery of Bookstart messages
  • Practical advice and support on how to establish a multi-agency approach within local authorities or organisations

Benefits of attending

  • Gain insight into how a multi-agency approach to Bookstart works across different sectors
  • Learn strategies to develop an effective early years Bookstart multi-agency approach
  • Learn how Bookstart can meet your organisational aims and objectives
  • Opportunity to network with other practitioners about any queries or support you need with Bookstart
  • Ensure that you have the tools to work with Bookstart using a multi-agency strategy to the benefit of families within your settings
  • Ensure that you have the tools to establish a multi-agency approach with Bookstart to support families in your community

Find more details here.


Early Education’s Annual National Conference 2017

Our Annual National Conference will be held at the University of Sunderland on the 5-6 May 2017, hosted by our Sunderland branch. The conference is entitled ‘Now there’s a thought: exploring the potential and power of children’s thinking’, with speakers Alison Gopnik, Iram Siraj, Kathy Ring and Elizabeth Carruthers. For more information, or to book a place, visit the conference page on our website.


National Literacy Trust

Talk To Your Baby 2017 conference: full programme now available

The programme for Talk To Your Baby 2017: Early Language in a Connected World has now been announced and is available to download here. With leading speakers from both academia and early years practice discussing research into communication, language and literacy in children from birth to age 5, this conference is a fantastic opportunity for early years professionals. Book now


NDNA Conference and NDNA Nursery Awards 2017

 Two fantastic streams of leadership and practice

Friday 30 June 2017

Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

  • Maths guru and TV presenter Johnny Ball will lead a session at the conference and host the awards in the evening!
  • Magical storytelling from author and Storysacks developer Neil Griffiths
  • The latest early years updates from the Childcare Minister and Ofsted
  • Entrepreneur, coach and ambassador Dr Sam Collins

From £110 plus VAT for practitioners and £210 plus VAT for leaders.

To book, go to email [email protected] or call 01484 407070 with your card details ready.

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