30 September 2019
By Bev Johnston and Heidi Foster

Early Years and Childcare Bulletin September 2019

Welcome and Introduction Alex Gamby

Hello everyone and welcome to the autumn term and to the first edition of the Early Years and Childcare Bulletin for this academic year. I do hope that you all had a pleasant summer and managed to enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation with family and friends and are looking forward to the busy autumn terms.

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile 2019

In Kent this year, 74.1% of children achieved a Good Level of Development (GLD). To achieve this, children need to have secured Expected or Exceeding in all Prime Learning Goals and all Literacy and Mathematics Early Learning Goals. This figure is one percent less than 75.1% in 2018 and I know that you will all share with me a little disappointment that the figure has reduced rather than increased.

The (provisional) national GLD is 71.8%.

District outcomes are as follows:

Additional information available to date is the Achievement Gap data for gender and term of birth:

Term of Birth

  • Autumn 82.3% (plus 8.2%)
  • Spring 74.7% (plus 0.6%)
  • Summer (minus 8.8%)

Other Achievement Gap information (Free School Meals, Special Educational Needs, Ethnicity, English as an Additional Language, Children in Care and the national poverty measure) will follow in due course when available.

Brexit Guidance Information

The Brexit Guidance Information for Schools gives you clear information and we would strongly advise that you take the initial steps to judge how ready your school/setting will be in managing any challenges to maintain a full service to your children. It may be that there is no disruption but we believe that the suggested preparation would be beneficial in other areas of Resilience Planning, including the possibility of disruption from extreme weather as we approach winter. As part of Kent’s commitment to providing support to schools and settings in the event of disruption following the UK’s exit from the EU, we have set out a Frequently Asked Questions for Early Years and Childcare Providers document which has been emailed to all settings and will appear on KELSI in due course. These FAQs we hope will cover the queries that you, your staff and your parents/carers may have. However, if you do have further queries not covered in this document, please contact your Childcare Sufficiency Officer in the first instance. These FAQs are primarily to enable you to field questions and allay concerns. Wider distribution direct to parents/carers and other stakeholders is not recommended.

Kent News and Updates

Extension to Free for Two Eligibility

The Department for Education is piloting an extension to the eligibility for the Free Early Education Entitlement for Two Year Olds to include:

  • Children of Zambrano Carers
  • Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life
  • Children of a subset of failed asylum seekers.

The Guidance for Eligibility and a Question and Answer document will be available on the KELSI Free for Two page in the next few weeks.

If you are approached by a parent/carer in relation to this new eligibility, in the first instance please email eyfreefor2@kent.gov.uk, whereby you will be taken through the eligibility checking procedure.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 'Consumables' (for meeting the EYFS Statutory Framework)

The Department for Education (DfE) Statutory Guidance is clear that providers can charge for ‘consumables’; however, it does not provide anything definitive about what this can/cannot include. It also states that parents should be offered cheaper alternatives, for example, providing their own snacks. The Statutory Guidance is also clear that these types of charges must be voluntary.

Early Years Funding is given for the purpose of delivering the EYFS and early education places. The EYFS itself states that “The EYFS seeks to provide quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind” and also includes a statement about “equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.” (EYFS Statutory Guidance page five)

The absence of definition in the Statutory Guidance about what can/cannot have a voluntary charge attached to it has led to variable practice across the county (and indeed nationally) and on an increasing number of occasions to parental complaints at least in Kent. In this context the list below is provided by Kent County Council and The Education People to support the interpretation of the Statutory Guidance. The list itself is based on items that we have experienced at least one provider in Kent levying a charge for. The list has also been shared for comment with the Early Years and Childcare Provider Association.

Should you have a query relating to a cost not listed below please contact sufficiencyandsustainability@theeducationpeople.org for further guidance.

Kent Safeguarding Information

Under new arrangements the Kent Safeguarding Children Board is now the Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-agency Partnership.  You can find information on the website as follows:

Dental surveys are being carried out all across England to find out more about the oral health of 3-year-old children. The evidence collected will be used to inform future oral health promotion activity. The survey is being coordinated by Public Health England (PHE) and funded by Kent County Council. Similar surveys have been carried out across the UK since 1987. The information arising from them allows NHS England to plan dental services and Local Authorities to put in place tailored programmes for groups where oral health is poor. The overall aim is to support actions to improve oral health, reduce health inequalities and improve the provision of treatment services.

The Oral Health Team, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, is contacting parents from a randomly-selected sample of nurseries to request consent for their child to participate in this survey. Participation is voluntary, although if lots of children take part then the information is more accurate, and so your help would be greatly appreciated.

A community dental team, including a fully qualified dentist, who is trained and experienced in carrying out surveys, will examine the children at their nurseries – the team want children to be in a familiar environment, surrounded by staff members they are comfortable with. The survey will be quick and easy, and delivered in such a way that all children will have a positive experience.

The team hope that you will be able to assist them by participating in the forthcoming survey. If randomly selected, the survey team will contact you between October 2019 and May 2020 to arrange a suitable time and date for the survey. Prior to the survey, the team would also like to visit the nursery to provide oral health guidance for young children and to deliver the consent forms for you to fill in.

Your participation is vital to the success of the programme and would be greatly appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact the Oral Health Team: kchft.oralhealthkent@nhs.uk Telephone: 0300 790 0158

CPD Online Course Evaluations

If you are attending a CPD Online course, you will now be able to complete an online evaluation the day of the course by logging into your account (via phone/tablet etc.) and going into Events Due to attend.  To access the evaluation, you need to know your log in and password to CPD Online.

You will also be able to complete the online evaluation at any point after the training.  Once the Training & Development team has received the register and delegates marked as attended on the system you will be sent a link via CPD Online reminding you to log in and complete your evaluation if you haven’t already.
Please note that delegates are only able to access certificates of attendance once an evaluation form has been completed and the register has been marked by the CPD Online administration team.

A reminder to those booking on courses through CPD Online to read the Terms and Conditions before agreeing to them.

SmarterPlay App for Families

Thank you to those of you who have been promoting the app with the families you serve and perhaps using it with your own families.  We wanted to make you aware that although most of the functionality is working well, some of the functions are in need of updating due to out of date technology and currently the app is not available for android users.  We hope to have the app updated as soon as possible, but in the meantime please continue to make use of this free downloadable resource and promote with families.  Once the upgrade has taken place we will make you aware.  Thank you for your patience.

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, please visit  https://www.threadsofsuccess.co.uk/gdpr-form.

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

The Education People Website

We would ask you to only view The Education People website using Google Chrome, not Internet Explorer.  Internet Explorer does not support The Education People website.

For settings to download Chrome click here.

Keep yourself informed

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.

National News and Updates

Ofsted – New Education Inspection Framework (EIF)

From the 1st September 2019 Ofsted will inspect all education provision under the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF). This applies solely to how Ofsted inspects, and at this time there have been no changes to the EYFS.

There are three main documents providers need to be aware of:

The new Education Inspection Framework sets out how Ofsted inspects maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and early years provision.

The new Early Years Inspection Handbook for Ofsted Registered Provision describes the main activities inspectors will undertake during inspection of early years providers and includes the new grade descriptors for each of the new judgements.

The updated Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years Education and Skills Settings sets out the key points inspectors need to consider when inspecting safeguarding arrangements.

Maintained schools and academies that take children from two years old will be inspected under the school inspection arrangements and therefore need to refer to the school’s handbook.

The current inspection cycle began on the 1st August 2016 and will end on the 31st July 2020; all providers will be inspected at least once in this period. For those inspected from the 1st September 2019 this will be under the new EIF.

The new judgements are:

  • Quality of education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal development
  • Leadership and Management.

The Ofsted grading system remains the same for early years providers; however, to achieve a judgement of outstanding providers must be securely and consistently meeting all the good grade descriptors and all the outstanding ones – this is no longer a best fit judgement. Inspectors will make a best fit judgement when giving a good or requires improvement judgement. Inadequate is likely to be as a result of one or more of the inadequate grade descriptors being applied.

There are changes for providers who only offer care exclusively for children at the beginning and end of the school day or in holiday periods. These providers will not receive a grade for each of the judgement areas but will receive a single grade on the overall effectiveness: quality and standards of the early years provision – this grade will be either ‘met’, ‘not met with actions’ or ‘not met with enforcement’. Further information can be found in Annex A of the early years handbook.

The new framework places the curriculum at the heart of inspection and inspectors are moving away from looking at internal data; they do not expect to see any documentation other than that relating to the EYFS, for example, DBS records and two-year-old checks. Further information about what Ofsted may ask to see can be found in the handbook.

In addition, there is an increased focus on:

  • Staff wellbeing, ensuring leaders and managers are aware of the main pressures on staff and how they manage workloads
  • Staff’s continuous professional development (CPD) and the impact of this
  • The provider’s intent, implementation and impact of the curriculum
  • Practitioners’ knowledge of the curriculum and why they do what they do
  • Children’s vocabulary, including how providers use stories, rhymes and songs to promote language
  • Children’s understanding of early mathematical concepts
  • Children’s physical development particularly their physiological, cardiovascular and motor skills
  • Inclusion, specifically the support for children with SEND and those subject to child protection or child in need plans.

Inspectors will focus the majority of their time looking at what is taught – the curriculum, and will talk to staff to ascertain what they know about the children, why they do what they do and what is the impact of this. The majority of the inspector’s time will be spent observing practice and talking to staff.

As we begin to see providers being inspected, we will share with you their experiences and common recommendations being set. This information can be found on our ‘Headlines’ page on KELSI. Also on this page is a copy of Gill Jones – Ofsted Early Education Deputy Director’s guest blog, which shares her thoughts on preparing for inspection.

For further information on training and support opportunities visit our website.

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a public consultation seeking views on a proposed increase to the application fee and the annual fee paid to Ofsted by childcare providers on the Early Years Register, with a view to changes coming into force from April 2020.
The DfE is also seeking views on the principles that should underpin a revised Early Years Register fee model to be introduced from April 2021.
The consultation closes on 9 October.

In our July Bulletin we let you know about Hungry Little Minds. This is a newly launched Government campaign designed to encourage families to engage in activities that support their child’s early learning and help set them up for school and beyond. Families can find information about the campaign and associated activities here.

The campaign toolkit is available here. It contains suggested media posts and poster and leaflet templates which you can edit and use in your setting.

The Early Years and Childcare Service will be supporting the promotion of Hungry Little Minds by posting on our own and KCC Facebook pages and Twitter. If you are able to like, favourite or share these posts or retweet on Twitter it would be helpful. You can also do this with the Department for Education social media Hungry Little Minds communications too.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has published its independent investigation into the death of a three-year-old who swallowed a button battery.

Its report makes recommendations in three key areas:

  • Public awareness
  • Product safety
  • Clinical decision-making.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is working in collaboration with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and the British and Irish Portable Battery Association (BIPBA) on a national safety campaign. New and updated resources are available on the CAPT website.

Why outdoor play is so important

The benefits or working and playing outdoors are endless.  Read more here.

Intergenerational Care

Intergenerational Care is defined as 'planned ongoing activities that purposefully bring together different generations in shared settings to share experiences that are mutually beneficial'.  Read more 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? The agenda will include items on GLD results, Joint Review at 2 (Integrated Review at 2 year old between Health and Early Years) and Ofsted trends and issues.

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. The agenda will include items on GLD results, Joint Review at 2 (Integrated Review at 2 year old between Health and Early Years) and Ofsted trends and issues.

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

Kent Early Years and Childcare Provider Association

We are introducing a regular slot in this Bulletin for the Early Years and Childcare Provider Association. There will not always be something to report as the Association meets quarterly, whereas this Bulletin is issued six times a year.

The Association has recently reviewed its Terms of Reference which you can access here. You may recall that when the Association was set up some three years ago, at Briefing and Networking Sessions prior to that, we asked for volunteers to become members. Integral to the Terms of Reference Review, this is being changed to an election based approach, which we will be piloting imminently in Tonbridge and Malling, where there is a vacancy. Based on the effectiveness of this approach we will use it moving forward and implement a three year rolling programme of member replacement. We are also seeking childminder representative and if this can be secured, plan to hold two of the annual four meetings in the evening to facilitate this.

If you attend Briefing and Networking Sessions you will be aware that we typically introduce any Association members present and invite anyone in attendance to raise with them any strategic and/or significant sector related issues they think the Association should be considering. In order to develop this practice, we will be trialling handing over the last 15 minutes of each Briefing and Networking Session to Association members for this purpose.

The current membership is:

Contact us