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19 March 2020
By The Early Years and Childcare Service

Early Years and Childcare Bulletin March 2020

Welcome and Introduction from Alex Gamby

Welcome to this term four and spring edition of the Early Years and Childcare Bulletin. We are hoping (as we are sure you are also hoping) that some of the very wet, windy and altogether challenging weather is increasingly behind us and that warmer and more pleasant climes are ahead.


We trust that you have been receiving and able to find time to read our regular Public Health England and/or Department for Education updates providing guidance and advice in relation to the Coronavirus. We are endeavouring to get these out to you very quickly after being sent to us, and, whilst we appreciate that the updates are coming frequently (and seem likely to do so for the foreseeable future), we want to keep you as up to date as possible so that you are fully informed and in the best possible position to respond. We do appreciate that this is a worrying time for you (and indeed for all of us) but please be reassured of our best possible intentions in keeping you up to date.

For ease of access, the most recent advice, issued by on the 16 March 2020 is in this link.

A letter from Matt Dunkley, KCC Children, Young People and Education Corporate Director to all providers will shortly be available on KELSI. We will also update you as soon as we are able following the recent Government announcement regarding the closure of schools and nurseries.

If you are not receiving these updates please let us know by emailing [email protected] and we will check the email address we are using for you.

Temporary closure of settings

Just a reminder that if your setting has to close due to circumstances beyond your control Management Information and your Childcare Sufficiency Officer (CSO) at The Education People must be informed otherwise funding may need to be returned (Kent Provider Agreement page 11 point 8.11). This could include instances such as fire, flood and infection control, for example.  Ensure your policies and procedures reflect your process for informing parents, staff, Ofsted, Management Information and your CSO.  Are you registered to use the Kent Closures website?  You can register your open or closed status on the website. Go to the following link to register or change your status.

Usually unplanned closure of your setting would be no more than a day or two but in situations where this could become longer you need to consider the impact on the setting’s short-term sustainability as a result of the income loss.  Review your insurance policies and whether they cover any income loss and if the cover is sufficient.

Eligible childminders (ECMs) delivering funded places to children are also requested to advise KCC’s Management Information and The Education People’s Childminding Adviser for their area of any unplanned closures.

National News and Updates

Minimum and Living Wage

The National Minimum and Living Wages are set to increase on 1 April 2020.

The following rates will apply:

25 years+ to rise from £8.21 to £8.72
21 years – 24 years to rise from £7.70 to £8.20
18 years – 20 years to rise from £6.15 to £6.45
16 years – 17 years to rise from £4.35 to £4.55
Apprentice to rise from £3.90 to £4.15.

If you are concerned about the impact of these increases on your sustainability please contact your Childcare Sufficiency Officer for free support and guidance.

Changes to Ofsted's post-inspection processes and complaints handling: proposed improvement

This consultation on Ofsted’s proposals for revisions to their post-inspection arrangements, including how they handle complaints about their work opened on the 3 March and is due to close on the 31 March.

The proposals, if agreed, will enhance Ofsted’s current arrangements to deal with any queries or concerns about an inspection quickly and before an inspection report is finalised.

To respond to the consultation, click on this link.

Air pollution harms the health of millions but there are lots of simple things that we can do to improve air quality and look after our own and other people’s health.

Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and colleagues, and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.

Click on this link to find out what happened at last year’s event, and download last year’s ‘celebration and insights report’, if you are interested.

This free online course with a focus on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can be accessed here.

The course takes about 50 minutes and provides a good introduction and overview about ACEs.

Additionally, this video provides a short introduction to ACEs that might be useful for staff training.

Ambitious About Autism has created a free toolkit to help parents and carers of young children with autism to navigate their journey in the early years.

Kent News and Updates

Free Early Education funding reminders

30 Hour Audit

The midterm 30 Hour Audit was sent out to providers on Tuesday 18 February 2020. This audit will only include children on the headcount submissions that have been paid. If there has been an overallocation on a child’s extended hours, or a KELSI check was missing, or the claim was submitted as an adjustment, these children will not be included. If a child reaches compulsory school age in the summer terms 2020 they will also not be included as they will no longer be eligible for early years funding.

The midterm 30 Hour Audit will highlight to providers those children who will be eligible in summer terms and which children will enter their grace period before the start of term. This is an opportunity for providers to speak to the parents to encourage them to renew their details with HMRC in time for their code to be updated for a summer term claim.

Extended eligibility criteria for the early education entitlement for two year olds

The Department for Education (DfE) has extended the eligibility for the free early education entitlement for the most disadvantaged children (the two-year-old entitlement) to the following groups of children where they meet equivalent income requirements:

1. Children of Zambrano Carers
A Zambrano Carer is the primary carer of a British citizen child but is not a British citizen themselves. Requiring the carer to leave the UK would mean the child would be unable to live in the United Kingdom. Although Zambrano Carers have no recourse to public funds, they are allowed to work in order to support the child. The children of Zambrano Carers will be eligible for a free place if their parents or carers meet similar low level income requirements to others eligible to receive the two-year-old entitlement (e.g. a net income threshold of £15,400).

2. Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
These families are entitled to work and so to be eligible for a free place the parents or carers must also meet the low level income requirements of the two-year-old entitlement (e.g. a net income threshold of £15,400).

3. Children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – ‘the 1999 Act’).
Children whose families receive support under section 4 of the 1999 Act are eligible for two-year-old funding because they are temporarily unable to leave the UK and would otherwise be destitute. These families therefore satisfy the low income requirements to be eligible for the entitlement.

To make an application under any of these criteria the family or the provider should email [email protected] and they will be sent an application form.

Dates for your diary

Three and four year olds

  • Final deadline for submission of adjustments for the spring term is Friday 24 April
  • Headcount for the summer term is Monday 27 April to Friday 1 May
  • The deadline for eligibility to be confirmed by parents for claiming 30 Hours in the summer term is 31 March.

Two year olds

The following are the next two rounds of submission and payment dates for Free for Two:

  • Term 4 to be submitted by 27 March 2020 for payment in the week of 6 April 2020
  • Term 5 to be submitted by 24 April 2020 for payment during the week of 11 May 2020.
Reminders for submitting three and four year old adjustment claims
  • Adjustment claims can only be submitted for late joiners or incorrect/missed headcount submissions
  • Funding is based on one claim per term per child. Universal hours cannot be increased part way through a term. Extended hours can only be increased if the parent has had a change to their contract/working hours
  • Adjustment claims can be processed for complete weeks only. If a child starts later in the term, you must work out how many complete weeks funding you can have based on the day the child starts and when you close for the term. If there are additional days that do not fit into a complete week, these cannot be funded, and the parent can be charged
  • The format for adjustment claims is different to headcount actual claims on the Synergy Provider Portal. The total hours for the term need to be input, not the weekly hours. The calculation for the total hours needs to be added to the reason box so MI can see if the calculation is correct to allow it to be processed for payment. Please see example below:

During your compliance visit, your Childcare Sufficiency Officer will check that you are updating your KCFIS information each old term.

The Kent Provider Agreement states:

4.5 Providers must update their details with the Kent Children and Families Information Service (KCFIS) at least three times a year, before the end of the spring, summer and autumn terms (not a requirement of schools).

All new and existing providers must now register or update their details with KCFIS on their Open Objects information system. This information can be accessed by parent/carers who are looking for childcare, including the Free Early Education entitlement of 15 and 30 Hours.

Information on how to do this can be found on KELSI.

You will need to provide Ofsted with an email address for your setting. If you are an existing provider, check that Ofsted holds the correct email address and that Ofsted has notified the local authority which email address they hold.

Then simply follow the instructions in the document on KELSI, in the link above.

If you need further support, please contact:

KCFIS direct on: 03000 412323; email [email protected]

Would you kindly let your Childcare Sufficiency Officer (CSO) know, as soon as possible, if a new manager has been appointed at your provision.

The CSO will then inform all the relevant teams within The Education People and Kent County Council and once we have this information, we can offer a new manager visit which will ensure the new appointee knows who to contact for advice, support and training and the process for claiming free early education funding.

Headcount submission for children accessing a Specialist Nursery intervention

This guidance has been designed to assist Private, Voluntary, Independent and Maintained Nursery Units with the hours they should submit at their headcount during the two terms that a child has a Specialist Intervention agreed.

Additional funding streams

Providers are reporting that Ofsted is asking how additional funding streams are being used, so this is a very good time to consider whether everyone is applying for and using the funding available. Whilst we are seeing lots of positive comments in Ofsted reports, there are also some which indicate that providers are either not applying for the funding, or not using it appropriately to ensure the best possible outcomes for children.

The links below offer advice and support regarding the funding streams. Providers are also able to contact an Early Years and Childcare Equality and Inclusion Adviser for further information. The link to the Request for Support form can be found here.

Eligible childminders can email [email protected] if they are seeking some support.

EYPP and DAF Information for providers and parents

Early Years Pupil Premium – Frequently Asked Questions for parents and carers

Disability Access Fund – Guidance for early years and childcare providers in Kent

How to apply for Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and Disability Access Fund (DAF)

Message from Zenia Ford, SEN County Manager Early Years
In terms 5 and 6 centrally funded Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF) workshops will be available to attend in each of the 12 districts. These will be delivered by the SENIF Area Lead Practitioners and the Monitoring and Support Officers and will last approximately two hours. Opportunities will be available to look at how to make an appropriate application for SENIF and there will be time to ask questions. This will be a practical session aimed at supporting staff who haven’t yet applied for SENIF and for those who are finding it difficult to complete the form. Flyers will be sent to settings in term 4 and booking will be via the flyer. We hope to be able to deliver these workshops on a continued roll out basis each year.

Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund

How to apply for Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF)

Integrated Reviews for Two Year Olds
At the recent Briefing and Networking Sessions we updated the sector on Kent’s approach to an Integrated Review at Two.

All providers should have recently received an email entitled ‘Integrated Reviews for Two Year Olds’ with three attachments – an Integrated Reviews for Two Year Olds Briefing Note, the presentation slides from the February Briefing and Networking Sessions in specific relation to Integrated Reviews for Two Year Olds and a list of district based generic email addresses and contact numbers to enable you to more easily contact the Health Visiting Service.

If you have any queries please contact [email protected]

New providers and those who are re-registering can find the Ofsted registration process takes longer than expected. Kent checks are taking longer than most other local authorities as they use a paper-based system. However, Ofsted also advises that many providers fail to check the online portal regularly which means that any requests to supply further information are not being responded to in a timely manner.

A collaboration of health providers and specialists have put together a helpful visual tool to assist professionals to navigate the service offer for emotional health in Kent. It can be difficult to know the right level of support required for a young person. It is also hard to keep up to date with what options are available to young people. This graphic is designed to help you follow a set of questions to establish what might be the best response for someone and how to access the support identified.

The Early Years and Childcare Service recently conducted a small series of focus groups to update our understanding on your views on the Threads of Success offer. As only a small number of representatives were able to attend the focus groups, we took the opportunity to consult with 62 collaboration leaders at the recent Collaboration Leaders’ Day to check that the responses were representative of the sector.

Below is a summary of this feedback, along with information on how we are planning to develop Threads of Success to respond to these key areas.

Most advised your preferred communication channel is online, rather than through focus groups. Where we can, we always use digital methods of contact. However, focus groups enable a more conversation-based approach and were well attended in 2017, so that informed our choice to repeat these again. We can potentially use other new channels (including Collaboration Leaders’ Days) if we want to conduct focus groups in the future but we would also encourage you to sign up to our mailing list to enable us to contact you in a GDPR compliant way*.

We try to keep our prices as competitive as possible, whilst still enabling us to remain sustainable and offer you a full, and continually updating range of training opportunities. However, we have responded to your concerns around cost, by:

  • scheduling a range of targeted promotions across the year
  • looking to develop Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which will offer the option to purchase a ‘bundle’ of training at a reduced rate, with flexible payment plans, as SLAs seemed a very popular option at both the focus groups and the Collaboration Leaders’ Day
  • focussing on our webinar and e-learning offer, which are more accessibly priced.

We have put in place steps to assure quality across the Threads of Success offer, but your feedback is key to this process. It has been flagged that there is nervousness about the lack of anonymity of CPD Online feedback (as you need to put in details to get your certificate); therefore, we are investigating the possibility of a more anonymised, on the day, feedback system.

Range of training:
At the Collaboration Leaders’ Day, the clear response was that you wanted a bigger range of training – this was clarified as being more ‘differentiated’ training, e.g. ‘advanced’ courses. Therefore, we are looking to develop more ‘advanced’ training courses and ‘masterclasses’ in various content areas.

Method of delivery:
Most of you advised that you still preferred face-to-face as your main training method, but that cost was a challenge. Therefore, we are considering if any of our training could be delivered in a more ‘bite-sized’ way. This would obviously not have the depth of the full day or half day training but would give some highlights on the particular area.

Choosing trainers:
The message that you want to be able to choose trainers came through loud and clear. Therefore, we will look to develop an ‘expertise grid’ which we will put onto the Threads of Success section of The Education People website to inform your choices and change the group booking form, accordingly. N.B. if you choose a trainer who is not available for a period, they will contact you to ask whether a) you would like to reschedule to when they are available or b) discuss who else on the expertise list may best suit your needs.

Many of those consulted advised they didn’t find it easy to navigate the Threads of Success webpages. Therefore, we are reinstating the popular A-Z Early Years and Childcare course, visit and product list and potentially looking to pare down the number of items visible on the webpages, but which could still be found by going into a training library, via keyword search or via forthcoming A-Z pages.

Taster training at Briefing and Networking Sessions:
Nearly all consulted agreed that you would like the opportunity to attend 15 minute ‘taster’ training at the Briefing and Networking Sessions; consequently we are looking to offer a taster training at our very next suite of events in the summer.

Purchasing products at training/events:
Many agreed that they would like the opportunity to purchase products at training sessions and Briefing and Networking/other events, therefore, we are investigating routes to enable this.

Training spread:
At the focus groups it was felt that training was very ‘Maidstone-centric’. To reassure you, below is a table demonstrating the CPD training delivered in 2019, by region.

Area of Kent and number of CPD training courses:

  • North - 27
  • South - 65
  • East - 60
  • West - 75
  • North/West - 10
  • Medway - 10

We hope you can see we are very keen to respond to your areas of concern and ensure we continue our partnership into the future.

This article in the bulletin has been featured under GDPR ‘legitimate interest’. If you are signed up to our mailing list, you will receive information about all Threads of Success training and any promotions.
*If you are not signed up, please send an email to [email protected] who will arrange this with you. You can also use this address to opt out of the list if you choose.

Good Practice

Education Inspection Framework - Personal development - part 3 of 4

To read more click here.

Climate change "What can I do?"

Climate change, polluted environments, loss of biodiversity, social division, pandemics; it can all feel very overwhelming and that you can’t make a difference. Well you can.

We may feel helpless to change things or believe our contributions would be insignificant but coordinated, concerted efforts by many people is the greatest force for change. Humanity faces a long-term challenge which we are more likely to overcome if we help and prepare emerging generations with the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) looks to do just this through three pillars: society, nature and economies guiding us in our actions and plans. Being aware of how our choices and actions affect people and the environment both now and in the future is the basis of ESD.

The Early Years and Childcare Service offers a Global Action Programme to introduce and help practitioners, children and their families understand and adopt ESD within the setting and the home environment. If you would like more information about the programme including up and coming workshops funded by KCC you can visit our website or email [email protected].

Committee News

Updated guidance on independent examination of charity accounts

If your charity’s income is over £25,000, the trustees must arrange for an independent person or accountancy firm to carry out an audit or independent examination of the charity’s accounts.  The purpose of this is to give the charity’s trustees, supporters, beneficiaries and the wider public, some independent assurance that the charity’s money has been properly accounted for. The trustees of most charities are able to choose to have an independent examination instead of an audit. Independent examination is a ‘light touch’ scrutiny that usually costs less than an audit.

To help trustees, the Charity  Commission has updated the guidance Independent examination of charity accounts: guidance for trustees (CC31), to make it easier to read and more accessible.  This guidance will help you appoint an independent examiner with the ability and practical experience needed to carry out a competent examination of your charity’s accounts.


What happens during a childminder early years non-graded inspection?  ..... To read more click here.

Notification to Ofsted – new adults in the home

Please be aware that there is a change in the requirements to notify Ofsted of new adults in the home. You must now notify Ofsted of those already living in the home who turn 16 within 14 days. You can find the information 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 of all types.
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 20/005 Mercure Dartford Brands Hatch Hotel 9 June 2020
EYC 20/006 Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa 11 June 2020
EYC 20/008 Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel 16 June 2020
EYC 20/007 Holiday Inn Sittingbourne The Coniston 17 June 2020

We are also running two additional evening Briefing and Networking Sessions targeted at but not exclusively for eligible childminders and out of school settings who may find it difficult to attend the weekday afternoon sessions.

EYC 20/156 Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel 22 June 2020
EYC 20/157 Howfield Manor Hotel 25 June 2020

Kent Early Years and Childcare Provider Association

The last Provider Association meeting took place on Monday 16 March.  Coronavirus Covid-19 was the main agenda item, with discussions covering the impact on providers (with particular attention to funding) and keeping children, families and staff safe.  This is all captured in the letter from Matt Dunkley (KCC Children, Young People and Education Corporate Director) sent to all providers this week and also attached by link earlier in this bulletin.   Representatives also gave feedback on issues raised at the recent round of Briefing and Networking Sessions.  Two main topics covered in the feedback were SEND and workforce issues.  Workforce will be an item for full discussion at the next meeting.  SEND was discussed in full as representatives from Kent County Council and The Education People were present.  We are now looking at what actions can be taken forward to support issues highlighted in these discussions.

Contact us