Primary Assessment Consultation
On 30 March 2017, the Department for Education launched its Primary Assessment Consultation, which is available at: https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/primary-assessment. This consultation, which closes on 22 June 2017, seeks views on the future of primary assessment, including how the department might improve the EYFS Profile to make it more robust and effective in measuring child development and school readiness at age five.
This follows the Secretary of State’s announcement in October 2016 that the EYFS Profile would remain in place for the 2017 to 2018 academic year while the department consults on assessment arrangements.
Business Sustainability Support
On 11 April the Department for Education published an updated series of business sustainability resources for early years providers.
The new support package has been designed specifically for early years businesses and has been updated and expanded in response to feedback. Additions include a new case study, a larger directory of finance and business support suppliers, and additional information about grants and loans that providers can access to strengthen their business. The resources are available on GOV.UK here.
£55 Million to Boost Childcare Schemes
Thousands of new childcare places for working parents around the country are being created thanks to a multi-million grant scheme, the Early Years Minister Caroline Dinenage has announced.
The £50 million capital grants double the government’s investment to help nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups invest in new buildings and upgrade facilities. This will deliver more than 9,000 additional childcare places – helping to deliver the government’s commitment to give working families 30 hours free childcare from September.
The money builds on the £50 million funding announced in January, doubling the total spend to £100 million and altogether providing nearly 18,000 extra childcare places.
Alongside this, nearly £5 million will go to organisations that are helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with additional needs to access high-quality early education, so that every child can reach their full potential, regardless of their background.
The 12 opportunity areas announced by the Education Secretary will also benefit from £5 million as part of the government’s latest capital investment. These areas, identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’, are already benefitting from a share of £72 million – today’s funding will be a further boost for families living there.
As part of its Plan for Britain, the government is working to create a society where success is defined by work and talent, not birth or circumstance. Supporting parents with the cost and availability of quality childcare to enable them to work if they choose to is an important part of this ambition.
Minister for the Early Years Caroline Dinenage said:
In my visits around the country I have heard from families whose lives have been improved by access to 30 hours. As part of our Plan for Britain we want to make this a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few, so that means removing the barriers facing parents struggling to balance their jobs with the cost of childcare.
This investment will deliver more childcare places to working parents, giving them the benefits of 30 hours’ free childcare while giving their children high-quality early education that sets them up for life. This is backed by our record £6 billion investment in childcare per year by 2020.
Up to £5 million of voluntary and community sector (VCS) grants will be shared among 13 projects working to improve the quality of early education and supporting professionals to deliver the 30 hours offer. This includes:
- more than £1.5 million for 5 organisations working with parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), delivering workshops and training that will raise awareness of the support available for these families
- nearly £1.7 million to directly support disadvantaged children by boosting outreach programmes in areas such as early literacy and home learning
- more than £1 million to groups working directly with providers, developing tools and resources to support the delivery of 30 hours
The government has also relaunched its Childcare Business Grant Scheme, aimed at supporting new childminders or childminder agencies who are looking to start their own businesses. Eligible professionals could receive grants of £500 or £1,000 to help with the costs of setting up, making it easier for those who want to offer 30 hours free childcare to prepare.
Childminders will also benefit from grants to Action for Children and PACEY, worth £370,000 and £381,000, which will help upskill and empower them to deliver 30 hours and make sure their businesses are sustainable.
The announcement is on top of the government’s record £6 billion each year investment for childcare by 2020 and follows the recent publication of a new fairer funding system for early years education. This formula will see the minimum hourly rate for councils increased to £4.30 per hour, ensuring the 30 hours free offer is sustainable for providers.
The government has recently launched its Childcare Choices website. This sets out details of all of the childcare support available for parents from across the government and allows them to register for email alerts that will notify them when applications for 30 hours open nationally.
Opportunity areas will see local partnerships formed with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Opportunity areas include:
- Fenland & East Cambridgeshire
- West Somerset
The priority of the council bid round, which closed in August, was to target grants to areas where there was a demonstrable need for additional places to support the delivery of the 30 hours offer. Each bidder was required to contribute at least 25% of the total funding they requested, in order to share the budget around the maximum possible projects around the country.
The capital grants are being matched by around £40 million in additional funding from various local sources across the country, resulting in a total investment of approximately £140 million.
Successful bids for VCS grants were required to demonstrate they met specific priorities: their positive impact on disadvantaged communities – including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or ethnic minorities – distinct ways of enhancing the quality of the early years workforce, or helping to boost the number of 30 hours places available. The grants run over 15 months to March 2018.
Childcare Choice Launched
Childcare Choices, the cross-government childcare brand and campaign has been launched, providing parents with a single point of information for all the government funded childcare offers, including the two new offers: 30hours free childcare and Tax Free Childcare.
Launch of new Childcare Choices website means parents are now able to find available government support. Millions of parents can pre-register for the government’s new childcare offers, with the launch of a new Childcare Choices government website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.
The Childcare Choices website includes a Childcare Calculator (www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator) for parents to compare all the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for their families.
Through the site parents can also pre-register for email alerts that will notify them when they can apply, as well as providing details of existing government childcare offers.
A toolkit has also been developed with information and resources that providers can use to help spread the word about the new website.
Childcare Business Grant Scheme
The Department for Education has launched the Childcare Business Grant Scheme. Its purpose is to help new Childminders and Childminder Agencies (CMA) to enter the childcare market. The scheme will award one-off start-up grants of either £500 or £1000 to support with the set up costs of new childminding businesses. Further information and details on how to apply can be found here: www.childcarebusinessgrants.com/
Early Years Inspections: Myth busters
Ofsted has produced this document to confirm the facts about its early years inspections and to dispel those myths that can sometimes result in unnecessary workloads for registered child carers. It should be read alongside the early years inspection handbook.
The aim is to expose misconceptions and highlight specific practices that are not required by Ofsted, so that we can make the inspection process as clear and straightforward as possible.
Ofsted Launches New Good and Outstanding Logos
On 6 April 2017, Ofsted launched a new logo specifically for use by early years, education and children’s social care providers that have been rated good.
All providers judged by Ofsted to be good can now download and display an official ‘Good provider’ logo. It has also redesigned the ‘Outstanding provider’ logo for use across all the areas it inspects.
Ofsted has also updated the system through which good and outstanding providers can obtain their copy of the logo.
Become an Early Years Teacher
The list of training providers for 2017/18 has been published and recruitment has commenced. Further details including training providers and financial support for trainees commencing in September 2017 can be found here.
Graduates in your setting who meet the entry requirements could study on the graduate employment-based route – a one-year part-time route for graduates working in an early years setting. Funding of £14,000 is available, this covers course fees of up to £7,000. The remaining £7,000 is a contribution to the costs incurred by the employer, for example, supply cover or salary enhancement.
If you require any further details please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
Promoting Healthier Food and Drink for Children and Families
Public Health England has published a toolkit to support local councils and independent food businesses to provide and promote healthier options, to help children and their families eat healthier food when they’re away from home, as part of its plans to fight childhood obesity. The Children’s Food Trust worked in collaboration with the Chartered Institute Environmental Health (CIEH) and London Metropolitan University to develop this toolkit.
The toolkit, titled Strategies for encouraging healthier “out of home” food provision: A toolkit for local councils working with small food businesses is evidence-based informed by a literature review, and practical, providing a really helpful ‘road map’ how to make the case for local action, choosing interventions, the importance of monitoring and evaluation as well as a series of informative case studies. The toolkit can be accessed from here. The evidence base, resources, examples and guidance can be accessed here.
Alongside the toolkit Public Health England have also published Healthier catering guidance for different types of businesses, which provides Tips on providing and promoting healthier food and drink for children and families. The healthier catering advice describes simple practical changes that different types of businesses can make when procuring, preparing, cooking, serving and promoting food. This guidance builds on previous work to support local businesses and reflects recent Government dietary recommendations for sugars, the Eatwell Guide and 5 A Day advice.