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24 January 2019
By Bev Johnston and Heidi Foster

Early years and childcare bulletin January 2019

Welcome and introduction Alex Gamby

Hello everyone

I hope that you all had a pleasant Christmas and New Year with family and friends and enjoyed some very well deserved rest and relaxation.

We would like to remind you that all our generic inboxes will no longer recognise the extension from the beginning of February so you will need to use the extension.

Good News Stories

We would like to build more ‘good news stories’ from providers into this Bulletin. Over the coming weeks and months our advisers and officers, whenever they visit you, may talk to you about things you could share for other providers to celebrate with you and to learn from. Please don’t be shy in suggesting things that you would like to share in this way!

Transition Matters

You will recall that in 2014 the Early Years and Childcare Service (which was within Kent County Council at that time) provided each setting and school with the Transition Matters pack which provides comprehensive guidance on how to effectively support children as they make numerous transitions to, within and between schools and settings.  Please follow the link below to access an updated and printable introduction to the document from The Education People, as well as an updated version of the My Unique Progress document.  You can also access an on-line (electronic) version of the My Unique Progress document here as well as all the other Transition materials.

News and updates

Early education and childcare funding reminders

  • To be submitted by 8 February for payment in week commencing 18 February
  • To be submitted by 8 March for payment in week commencing 18 March
  • To be submitted by 5 April with payment in week commencing 15 April
  • Please continue to only check new 30 hour codes through KELSI. If you want to check reconfirmed codes before making your headcount submission, you can use the 30 hour checker on Synergy to do so before entering the details into the child’s claim
  • The deadline for eligibility to be confirmed for the spring terms was 31 December 2018. If a parent did not contact HMRC until January, they will be unlikely to be eligible for the spring terms, please check the dates assigned to the code. To be eligible the start date must be before 1 January 2019
  • If a child was accessing the extended entitlement with your setting last term and had a grace period of 31 March, but their code now has a January start date, please contact Management Information if Synergy is not allowing you to submit extended hours. The child may still be eligible under their grace period but Management Information will need to investigate
  • If a parent is certain they renewed/applied before the 31 December and has a start date after 1 January, the parent must contact HMRC and question the dates assigned to their code. Management information are unable to support parents and are unable to fund a code out of the required date range

Management Information is currently collecting the EY Census and the deadline is 31 January 2019.

Committee news

In September 2018 Ofsted published its guidance for inspectors undertaking inspections under the common section framework called “Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings”.  Not only does this guidance set out key points that inspectors need to consider when inspecting safeguarding in early years, Annex 1 of this document clearly sets out safeguarding requirements for leaders and managers which includes management committees and states:

Governing bodies, boards of trustees, registered providers and proprietors (including management committees) must ensure that they comply with their safeguarding duties under legislation. In the case of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, references to the proprietor include the academy trust. They must ensure that the policies, procedures and training in their early years settings, schools or colleges are effective and comply with the law at all times.

The guidance clearly sets out the responsibilities for leaders and managers; therefore we advise you look at this document and share the content with the rest of the trustees. You can obtain the document here.

Compliance update


Recent compliance visits have raised a number of questions from providers about which insurance certificates need to be displayed.  To read more and clarify:

Employer's liability insurance

The law requires you to display your employer’s liability insurance certificate so that all your employees can access it.

In the past you had to provide a hard copy, but in 2008 the legislation was amended to allow businesses to display their certificate electronically. Childminders employing assistants or other childminders and who offer a placement to a student should hold this insurance.

Public liability insurance

The Kent Provider Agreement stipulates that providers must have the appropriate ‘Public Liability Insurance....

with a recommended minimum indemnity of £5m for each and every claim, which must be prominently displayed at all times in the setting’.

If you wish to display this certificate away from public areas, you must make it known to visitors to your site that this certificate is available to view if requested.

Creating artificial breaks in Free Early Education sessions

The Kent Provider Agreement and DfE Statutory Guidance make it clear that providers are able to charge parents for meals.

The Kent Provider Agreement and DfE Statutory Guidance make it clear that providers are able to charge parents for meals. There is also a recognition by the DfE that sessional preschools may want to offer morning or afternoon only sessions in order to make them sustainable. However, providers should be aware that a mandatory charge for consumables or time, or the imposition of paid-for breaks that make the free hours conditional on some form of payment is not permissible under either the DfE Statutory Guidance or the Kent Provider Agreement. Parents need to be able to clearly identify what the extras are and make a conscious choice to pay or not without it affecting access to their 15 or 30 hours.

Ofsted inspections

If an Ofsted Inspector arrives to conduct an inspection while an adviser or officer from The Education People is present at your setting, the adviser/officer will withdraw to enable you to lead your setting’s inspection.

An Improvement and Standards Adviser or Childminding Quality Adviser from The Education People may be present at your feedback meeting at the end of an inspection if applicable. At the feedback an inspector should explain that its purpose is to share the main findings of the inspection and any actions and/or recommendations for improvement. The inspector must make it clear that the findings are restricted and confidential to the relevant senior personnel or childminder and that they must remain so until the provider receives the final report. However, if the provision is judged to be inadequate, the provider must inform the local authority immediately after the inspection.

Ofsted online Early Years notification form

Ofsted registered providers are required to notify Ofsted of any significant events or changes occurring at or effecting your provision.  An online form is now available to report such events.

Are you eligible for the Quality Leadership Supplement? Don't delay in completing the online form to confirm eligibility

All Kent early years and childcare providers who are registered to deliver the Free Entitlement would have received an email on 17 January 2019 asking them to complete an online survey to confirm eligibility for the quality leadership supplement (page 17 and 18 of the Kent Provider Agreement).

If this applies to your setting, it is important that you complete this survey by 6 February 2019, to ensure we can allocate the correct supplement for the 2019 funding rate.

The following link will take you to the online survey: Qualified Leadership Supplement Questionnaire

Kent Early Years and Childcare Provider Association

At the Provider Association meeting held on the 10 December 2018 the following presentation slides were shared.

Space requirements for early years providers reminder

Providers must ensure that their premises, including overall floor space and outdoor spaces, are fit for purpose and suitable...

The presentation from Ofsted relates to the new Ofsted inspection framework which is due to be introduced in September 2019. All early years and childcare settings may find this information useful. In addition to the presentation slides, we have provided links to the documents referenced in the presentation.

Provider Association slides 10 December 2018

Are you ready?

Teaching and play in the early years – a balancing act?

Unknown children – destined for disadvantage?

for the age of children cared for and the activities provided on the premises. Providers must comply with requirements of health and safety legislation (including fire safety and hygiene requirements).

The premises and equipment must be organised in a way that meets the needs of children. Providers must meet the following indoor space requirements:

  • Children under two years: 3.5 m2 per child
  • Two year olds: 2.5 m2 per child
  • Children aged three to five years: 2.3 m2 per child

These calculations should be based on the net or useable areas of the rooms used by the children, not including storage areas, thoroughfares, dedicated staff areas, cloakrooms, utility rooms, kitchens and toilets.

EYFS Profile Handbook 2019

This handbook supports EYFS practitioners in making accurate judgements about each child's attainment in 2019.

Supporting children with medical needs

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe and the standards set out within this document should be met before other advice is considered on top of it.

Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (DfE) can be used as an advice document as it provides “best practice” information and is the most up to date reference point for the issues it covers. This document also provides advice on when to draw up an individual healthcare plan. (This is not the same as an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan).

It is best practice to draw up an individual healthcare plan when a child has an on-going medical condition and this plan should be drawn up in liaison with parents and healthcare professionals. There is a suggested format for a plan on KELSI along with a FAQs sheet.

For information on medical conditions you can refer to individual charity and organisations’ websites and the Health Conditions in School Alliance. For certain conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and cystic fibrosis a specialist nurse will be able to support and provide training to the setting.

Children, food and eating in the early years and the role preschools can play: TACTYC paper

TACTYC (Association for Professional Development in Early Years) has published a new occasional paper – Big, strong and healthy? Children, food and eating in the early years and the role preschools can play: Occasional paper 11.

The paper draws on interdisciplinary research to examine children’s food choices and the influence of parents, caregivers, educators and others. The paper also looks at children’s early learning about food and food brands.

Throughout, the author recommends how early years educators can support children’s and families’ learning, health and wellbeing.

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation

The Equality and Inclusion Team is delighted to announce that we now have team members who are qualified I CAN Early Talk Accreditation Mentors!

The accreditation programme is aimed at the early years workforce, in partnership with parents, and is designed to:

  • Create communication rich environments
  • Improve their knowledge of communication development and how to identify children with SLCN
  • Improve the speech, language and communication skills of the children they work with
  • Work collaboratively with speech and language therapists and other support agencies on education plans for individual children
  • Provide good information and practical strategies for parents.

If you would like further information about this accreditation, please email [email protected] or follow the link to the I CAN website

New Equality and Inclusion Request for Support form

We have reviewed our request for support form to make it simpler and quicker for settings and multi-agency colleagues to complete.

Once completed, the form should be emailed to [email protected]

The form can be found on KELSI, please follow this link to view.


The Early Years and Childcare Service has posted a blog on The Education People website which tells providers more about Makaton and the work of the two Makaton Regional Tutors within the Service. You can find the blog here.

Threads marketing information

We are delighted that so many people have opted in to receiving information from the Early Years and Childcare Service about the Threads of Success promotional and marketing opportunities we continue to offer.  However, we have not had a response from everyone yet and remember, unless you opt in, you might miss out!  To opt in, if you haven’t done so already, please visit

Lastly, if at any time you want to be removed from all non-statutory communications, just email [email protected] and we will remove you from our promotion and marketing list.


It is intended that some of The Education People Advisers/Officers who normally support group settings will be shadowing some of their Childminding Quality Adviser colleagues in the coming months. This will support both further integration of the Early Years and Childcare Service and the Childminding Team as well as raise the profile of childminding within the Service.
Childminding Quality Advisers will contact any childminders who might be involved in these visits to seek permission first. We hope you will support this opportunity to promote the profile and value of childminding and childminders and enhanced integration within the sector.

Recent research conducted by the National Literacy Trust has confirmed that language skills which start in the womb are then shaped and nurtured by the child’s ‘home learning environment’ (HLE)’.

When working with parents to support their child’s learning and development at home (which is an Early Years Foundation Stage requirement) it is important that we communicate to the parents the importance of their HLE on their child’s current and future achievements. A good HLE is not only an important factor in their child’s development of early language and communication skills; their attainment can persist until a child reaches GCSEs and A-Levels.

The research explains how the ‘Chat, Play, Read’ method (see report for more details) is effective in helping children reach a higher achievement in their learning. It states that ‘every day conversations, make-believe play and reading activities are particularly influential features of the home learning environment’.

Childminders themselves offer a home-from-home learning environment and many of the findings of the report can be seen in good quality childminding provision. When working with parents it is important to share the types of home learning activities that support language development. These are identified as:

Going to the library  
• Painting and drawing
• Playing with/being taught letters
• Playing with/being taught numbers
• Songs/poems/rhymes.

The report highlights that the activity that parents most frequently report doing with their child is looking at books or reading together. Many childminders enjoy a special membership with Kent libraries which offers several benefits for registered childminders, including extended loan periods. This provides an excellent opportunity for effective partnership working between parents and childminders. By sharing and exchanging information regarding children’s current interests and fascinations, books which provide consistency between the two learning environments can be loaned, allowing extension and consolidation of new knowledge. Remember, when undertaking an inspection, Ofsted considers the ability of the provider to successfully engage all parents in their children’s learning, both in the setting and at home.

Other points raised in the report are also relevant to the childminder’s home-from-home learning environment. Television can foster language and communication skills, but the quality of the programme is vital as exposure to high levels of fast-based cartoon viewing is associated with decreases in children’s language use. Remember televisions should not be left on when selected programmes have finished. There is also reference to parents being twice as likely to talk to children in face-to-face buggies, than in buggies where children face forwards; something for childminders to consider when purchasing relevant equipment.

The report is beneficial in reviewing a childminding setting and supporting parents to understand the importance of their home learning environment. To read the Improving the home learning environment report click here.

For more information on Ofsted inspections click here.

For more information on Kent Libraries memberships click here.

Briefing and networking sessions

Our regular Early Years Briefing and Networking Sessions provide a good opportunity to keep your setting and staff up to date and to network with colleagues from other settings.
The presentation slides from the October Briefing and Networking Sessions can be viewed here.
Evaluations were positive with comments such as:
“Lots of information and signposting to changes in process and reflection of impact on 30 Hours” and
“Good clear information easy to understand, opportunity to share information in table discussions and network with colleagues”

Why not book a place on the next round of Early Years and Childcare Briefing and Networking sessions and benefit from the opportunity to network and hear important updates?