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5 July 2019
By Bev Johnston and Heidi Foster

Early Years and Childcare Bulletin July 2019

Welcome and Introduction Alex Gamby

Dear Providers

Welcome to the summer – I hope at the point at which you are reading this we are enjoying sunshine and warmth. As this academic year draws to a close, I would like to say thank you for all that you continue to do for children and families in Kent and hope you get some well deserved rest and relaxation with family and friends over the coming weeks.

In June, Nadhim Zahawi, MP and Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, wrote to Directors of Children’s Services stating the ambitious goal to halve by 2028 the percentage of children leaving Year R without the communication, language and literacy skills they need to thrive. The measure for this is the proportion of children achieving the expected level or above for both the Communication and Language and Literacy Early Learning Goals. Kent is achieving 76.2% on this measure, placing us joint 19th out of 152 local authorities nationally and second out of our eleven statistical neighbours.

Whilst I am very pleased (and know you will be also) that Kent children are in this strong position, there is always, of course more to do, for the children that are not included in that 76.2%. It is in this context that the Early Years Professional Development Fund sits. If you were able to be at our recent Briefing and Networking Sessions the following information will be familiar to you.

Early Years Professional Development Fund (EYPDF)

In December 2017 the Government published ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, its plan to improve social mobility through education.

Following this, the Department for Education (DfE) provided a £20m fund to support local authorities to establish training and professional development for early years staff in areas of greatest need – The Early Years Development Fund.  The funding is awarded to support the administration of the programme and to provide backfill costs for early years practitioners to attend this training, plus any agreed associated logistical costs.

The aim of the programme is to improve the quality of practice within settings to ensure that children are better prepared for moving into school, particularly through improved language, literacy and numeracy skills.

Kent has been invited to establish four early years CPD partnerships. Each partnership will have four CPD champions and up to 15 providers.

The DfE has now appointed The Education Development Trust (EDT), who will work with Elklan, to manage the programme and deliver the training. The EDT is due to provide details of the training package and how the programme will be delivered as per their cascade model.

To start to take this forward in Kent, the criteria being used to determine the location of partnerships is the Free School Meals Achievement Gap. This will also help provide a Kent-wide geographical spread of providers.

The Partnerships will be in:

  • Tonbridge and Malling
  • Sevenoaks
  • Dover
  • Canterbury

Please note, providers who meet the criteria in these four localities will be contacted and asked if they are, in principle, interested in being involved in the programme. Once we have received more details from the EDT, we will pass this to providers so they can make a final decision. For those providers not in the localities we will make sure we are sharing the key learning/findings.

Hungry Little Minds

Also in the context of Nadhim Zahawi’s letter, on 2 July the DfE launched a new three year campaign to ‘encourage parents to join in activities that support their children’s early learning and help set them up for school and beyond’. More information about this will follow later in July and beyond; however the key messages integral to the campaign are:

New Education Inspection Framework (EIF)

The new Early Years Inspection Handbook for Ofsted registered provision has been published.

The handbook describes the main activities inspectors undertake when they conduct inspections of early years providers in England registered under sections 49 and 50 of the Childcare Act 2006.

The handbook also sets out the judgements that inspectors will make and on which they will report. This handbook applies from September 2019. In addition, Ofsted has published ‘Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings’ This is guidance for inspectors carrying out inspections under the Education Inspection Framework from September 2019.

The Education People’s Early Years and Childcare Service will be providing funded briefing sessions in July and September followed by workshops related to the NEW Ofsted judgements. Please book your places through CPD online.

For any providers unable to attend one of these sessions the presentation will be circulated in due course.

Missed Headcount

We are still experiencing instances of providers missing headcount. At the last headcount 29 April to 3 May 2019, 13 providers did not submit a headcount.

Please ensure that you are aware of the headcount process and refer to the Headcount Guidance on KELSI and the latest Kent Provider Agreement.

Included below are a few extracts from the Kent Provider Agreement that relate to children’s attendance at headcount.

Kent Provider Agreement with effect from 1 October 2018    

6.7.2 In order to submit a claim for the term, providers must be open and offering funding during the designated headcount week.

  • Providers must also ensure that children are in attendance during the designated headcount week of the academic term unless they are known to be ill or on holiday
  • Providers must not make a settling in period a condition of a child taking up their place
  • Children must be able to access their full entitlement within their funded year
  • Failure to complete a headcount submission within the designated week, and not informing MI beforehand, will result in providers not receiving their funding
  • Amendments to an incorrect headcount submission will result in a fee being applied

15.4 Further funding criteria for three and four year olds – Universal and Extended Entitlement

  • The funded hours claimed for a child must be based on the hours they attend during the designated headcount week and cannot be increased until the next term’s claim
  • If an eligible child starts at a setting after headcount week and they have not claimed funding at any other Kent setting in the current academic term then funding can be claimed
  • Please be aware that funding is paid for complete weeks only.

Date for your diary

The next headcount is from the 9 - 13 September.

In addition, please refer to the Kent Provider Agreement with regards to the Parental Declaration which must be completed fully to support all children that you claim funding for through the Synergy system.

Other Early Education and Childcare Entitlement dates to note

Estimate collection for the autumn terms one and two will be Friday 28 June – Tuesday 9 July 2019. Please ensure you check your numbers so that it is the total hours for all children per week input into the box, this will then calculate the total hours per term.

The government now has recommended application periods for a 30 Hour eligibility code. The table below is available to parents on and parents will be reminded of the current recommended application period through the KCC Free Childcare Facebook page. Parents must apply and receive a code by the deadline date to receive childcare the following term. Parents must also successfully reconfirm their details with HMRC by these recommended dates to remain eligible for 30 hours of free childcare.

Please remember to use the eligibility checker on your Synergy Provider Portal when checking continuing children’s codes to see if a parent has reconfirmed their details with HMRC in time for an autumn term claim.

Only codes for new 30 hour children or where parents have been given a new code due to technical difficulties need to be checked via the KELSI website.

The final Free for Two payment schedule for terms five and six is as follows:

The first Free for Two payment schedules for terms one and two are as follows:

Management Information Toolkit

The Kent County Council Management Information Toolkit (April 2019) has been updated. It contains useful guidance on the retention of records for early years providers.

Quality Leadership Supplement

An email has recently been sent out to all providers who are registered to deliver Free Early Education in Kent:

You are required to complete the online survey following the below link if there have been any changes to your eligibility for the Quality Leadership Supplement part of the Free Early Education and Childcare Funding since March 2019

  • If you are already in receipt of the Supplement and your circumstances have not changed since March 2019, you are not required to complete the survey
  • If there have been changes since March 2019 and you believe you are now eligible and meet the terms and conditions for the supplement, please can you follow the link below and complete the online survey, the declaration and send proof of the qualification for yourself or your staff member
  • If there been any changes to the status of your eligibility for the Supplement since March 2019 and your provision no longer qualifies, please can you follow the link below and complete the online survey where necessary.

To ensure we have the correct information and can allocate the correct rate to providers in September 2019, please can you complete the survey and send any additional information by Friday 19 July 2019.

Qualified Leadership Supplement (June 2019)

We are pleased to see that the uptake of the Early Years Pupil Premium has increased and that settings are using the funding to improve outcomes for the children who receive this additional funding. Please remember to ensure that you include information about this funding in your admissions packs so that all families are aware of this entitlement. Further information can be found on KELSI.

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare provides help with childcare costs for working parents. For every £8 a parent/carer pays into their Tax-Free Childcare account the government will add an extra £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. The take-up of the scheme has been less than expected with £800 million being given back to the Treasury since the scheme began.

If you’re an approved or registered childcare provider, you can sign up to get a childcare provider account. This allows you to set up your bank account details and receive payments from parents who use Tax-Free Childcare.

Sign up to tax-free childcare here.

To sign up you should be the main contact for your business. You’ll be able to set up a ‘delegate’ to manage your account for you during the process.

You’ll need your:

  • 11-digit user ID from your invitation letter – if you didn’t get one or have lost it, contact the helpline
  • Bank account details
  • 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re registered for Self- Assessment or Corporation Tax
  • National Insurance number, if you’re directly employed, for example, as a nanny

If you’re a school run by a local authority, you should contact their finance team to find out their UTR and postcode and use that to sign up. If your business is owned by another company, use their UTR and postcode to sign up.

SEND - Your Voice Online Questionnaire

The following article appeared in Corporate Director, Matt Dunkley’s weekly update at the end of June:

“As you will be aware, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted a joint inspection of Kent between 28 January 2019 and 1 February 2019 to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the disability and special educational needs reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.
The inspection identified a number of areas of significant weakness. These were set out in a letter published on the Ofsted website on 29 March 2019.
As local leaders from education, health and social care we were disappointed with this outcome but accept that we hadn’t progressed as quickly and effectively in meeting the expectations of the Children and Families Act 2014, as we should have. However, we are committed to working in partnership to make the necessary improvements for children and young people with SEND and their families.

As part of this we wish to fully understand parent, carers and children and young people’s views and concerns to ensure our actions have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people with SEND and their families.
With this in mind, we want to keep you informed of the actions being taken and seek your help in gathering these views. Please share this information with all parents and carers of children and young people with SEND; and all children and young people with SEND have the opportunity to complete the SEND - Your Voice online questionnaire

Disability Access Fund (DAF) Information for Early Years Providers

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is there to support children with disabilities or special educational needs.

The DAF aids access to early years places by, for example, supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their provision.

Eligibility for Disability Access Fund (DAF)

Three and four year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • the child receives universal or extended free early education and childcare entitlement.

Identifying eligible children

Early years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children by talking to parents in order to find out who is eligible for the DAF. Funding is paid at £615 per year and is paid to one childcare provider nominated by the parent. For more details and to download a claim form, please click here: DAF Claim Form.

We are looking forward to sharing the refreshed Best Practice Guidance book with you in September. There will also be a series of briefings, jointly delivered by Early Years and Childcare Equality and Inclusion advisers and colleagues from the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service, to support the use of the document and associated paperwork.
We will share the dates and venues for the twelve briefings in due course and advertise them on CPD Online.

Changes to Assessments in Primary Schools: DfE

DfE policy paper providing brief information on the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) that is scheduled to be introduced in all state-funded primary schools in September 2020.

The Role of the LADO

At the recent Briefing and Networking Sessions, the LADO team have been talking about their role. If you are not familiar with the work of the team and didn’t attend the Briefing and Networking Sessions, please make sure you read the presentation which will be posted on KELSI after the final session on 11 July.

Men in Early Years

Men make up approximately 3% of the early years and childcare workforce in England. This is a worryingly low number of male representations in our sector and therefore we are finding it more challenging to provide children with the range of positive role models they need.

To challenge the stereotype of men in the early years and childcare workforce the Department for Education (DfE) has awarded a £30,000 grant to the Fatherhood Institute to run a project that challenges pre-conceived ideas and encourages more men into the workforce.

The funding from the DfE will support the Fatherhood Institute to develop practical resources and offer support for careers advisers, employers, men already in the workforce and those looking at a career in the sector.

To find more information on the project, charter and access to resources please click on the Fatherhood Institute website

For information on funding click on DfE funding announcement. 

Global Goals Workshop

Teresa Foster and the Preschool Team at Bossingham Preschool provide some feedback on the impact of attending an Education for Sustainable Development Global Goals Workshop. If you would like to know more about the work The Education People is undertaking to support Sustainable Development in the Early Years visit our website.

“I just thought I would let you know some exciting news about the impact the Global Goals workshops are having on our children. Since attending the workshops we have been out and about in our community, we have taken bus trips to our local shops, The Windmill at Stelling Minnis and the library in Canterbury. The children have made a model of our village out of junk and have taken photos of local points of interest. The children have also made cards to share with the community and have given them to the local village shop to give out to people who may like them.
The children are all able to tell us their addresses and who they live next door to. They are able to explain to us why it is important to care for their environment. We have received lovely comments and emails from the community as they see the children out and about, commenting on how lovely it is to see children taking an interest.
From the last workshop our pledge from Sue, who attended, was to reduce the amount of cling film we used. We have talked to the children about this and the children have taken this on board and have asked their parents not to use cling film. We have noticed that the parents are now using reusable pots and paper bags to wrap lunches in.
We have also purchased a compost bin for the children to put their fruit and veg peelings in, we have explained we will use this to help new plants to grow.
We have talked to the children about paper and water wastage and they are all making a real effort. We have a paper snippets bin to put scraps in to use again. We have purchased recycling bins for paper and plastic and information and story books.
We thought you would like to know that the workshops are making a real impact.
Looking forward to the next one.”

Celebration Conference - CUE

Canterbury United Collaboration formed in 2014 and has 16 members from the Canterbury and surrounding areas.  The collaboration put on a celebration conference for all of the settings and their staff within the collaboration to network together and appreciate the rich learning that takes place when settings work in partnership together.

Manager Tracey Johnson said " I think many of us managers are surprised at how supportive belonging to our Collaboration has been. We meet regularly and also look forward to our Social evenings together and have really become a close group. That's why we felt a celebration was needed as we have been together for 5 years now and really value everything that being in our collaboration brings".
In her speech Jane Hicks (New House Lane Nursery) said "It's a chance for us to plan collaboratively for staff's continuous professional development by providing a wealth of excellent tailor made training opportunities. It also means we share the highs and lows of what life in the childcare sector can be like, making us realise that although we are all different, we face similar problems on a daily basis."  The event included input from The Education People about the role of collaborations in fostering greater family involvement in children’s learning, and a workshop by Margaret Murray on ”The problem with boys” discussing the differences in gender learning.

Summer Reading Challenge 2019 - Space Chase

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge introduces families to their library and encourages children to choose books freely and independently. It also helps address the “dip” in children's reading that can occur over the summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure.

For further information click here.

Threads of Success

We are delighted that so many people have opted in to receiving information from the Early Years and Childcare Service about the 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, just email [email protected] and we will add you to our promotion and marketing list. You can use the same email address to opt out of the service at any time.


Keep yourself informed

Two Briefing and Networking Sessions have been organised in November specifically for childminders. Details can be found in the section below.

The Early Years and Childcare Service’s Childminding Team uses a closed Facebook Group to share information with childminders. If you haven’t already joined the group you can do so 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.

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?

EYC 19/155 St Augustine's College, Thanet 9 October 2019
EYC 19/156 Inn on the Lake, Gravesend 10 October 2019
EYC 19/157 The Ark Christian Centre, Dover 15 October 2019
EYC 19/158 Tudor Park Marriott Hotel, Maidstone 17 October 2019

We are also running two additional Briefing and Networking Sessions (one in the evening and one on a Saturday) specifically for eligible childminders and out of school settings who find it difficult to attend the weekday afternoon sessions. These sessions will be opened more widely at a later date if spaces are available.

EYC 19/249 Kent Event Centre, Maidstone 2 November 2019
EYC 19/248 The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury 6 November 2019

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