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14 December 2023
By The Early Years & Childcare Service

Early Years & Childcare Bulletin - Term 2 2023

Page Content

Welcome and Introduction from Alex Gamby

Dear Early Years and Childcare Providers

As I am writing to you, we are just a few days away from the start of December and therefore (of course), all that December typically brings in the life of a childcare provision. I have no doubt that, amid the challenges that being a childcare provider brings in any and every month of the year, you are all already up to your knees in Christmas plans - trees, decorations, nativity plays, parties, you name it! I hope that for each one of you these plans come to fruition and go well, enabling lots of fun and enjoyment for yourselves and for your children and their families. Although my grandson is now five and in Year One, I am very much looking forward to seeing him play ‘Wise Man 3’ 😊.

New Entitlements
On the subject of challenges, in the last edition of this bulletin, I mentioned those that are specific and up and coming for the Early Years & Childcare Service and sector, being the delivery of the Government’s new Free Entitlements for two-year-olds and under and for Wraparound Provision. Hopefully you will have seen the communication we sent out to the sector at the end of last week in relation to the expansion of the Early Education and Childcare Entitlements particularly, to include children of working families from nine months upwards. We will (continue to) update you as soon as we are able as relevant information becomes available to us. I am/we are keenly aware that the information you want to know probably more than anything is what the funding rates will be with effect from April 2024. Please be assured that we will communicate this as a matter of absolute priority once the information is available and we are able. Our updates will be sent by email which will be titled New Entitlement Update and will be numbered, so please do look out for these.

Quality Leadership Supplement (QLS)
You should be aware that thus far, any communications about the QLS have been sent to all providers, by implication including any that are not actually in receipt of the QLS. In order to make a small contribution to easing the scale of communications to providers, going forward we will be including in bulletins anything that all providers need to know about the QLS, alongside anything that only those already in receipt of it needing to know being sent as a bespoke and targeted communication to those providers only.

I would like to close my message by wishing you all providers and your children and families a very happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas and new year, and look forward to seeing you in 2024.

Yours, as ever
Alex Gamby
Head of Early Years and Childcare

Kent Early Years and Childcare Provider Association

The Early Years and Childcare Provider Association has not met since the previous edition of the Early Years and Childcare Bulletin. It will next meet on 11 December, when representatives will feedback from discussions with providers at the recent round of Briefing and Networking Sessions.

National News and Updates

Department for Education Early Years Recovery Programme
The DfE’s document Early Years Recovery Programme: Supporting the Sector was updated in October as follows:
Updated information on early years child development training, including notification that Module 6 is now available and the title of Module 7 updated to 'An effective curriculum'.
Updated information on national professional qualification in early years leadership, including delivery partners, programme funding, and programme length (time spent per week).

Early Years Qualifications Achieved in the United Kingdom
The checklist for early years qualifications achieved in the United Kingdom has been updated.

EYFS Profile Assessments for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
The Department for Education has launched a new page on the Foundation Years website to provide teachers with support to complete the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Profile. This will be updated regularly throughout the 2023/24 academic year. Each update will cover a new area of the EYFS Profile, focusing on topics the sector has asked for more information on.

The first update provides information on how to complete the EYFS Profile for children with special educational needs and disabilities, and includes case studies and key information from the EYFS Profile 2024 handbook.

We are sharing this with you, so you are aware of the key messages being promoted to the sector regarding the EYFS Profile.

If you would like to be added to the EYFS assessment mailing list, please email the following inbox: [email protected]

Anti-choking Devices
We are aware that some organisations are promoting the use of anti-choking devices and some providers have contacted the Early Years & Childcare Service to ask questions in relation to these.  As a service we would not make any comments or recommendations in relation to the use of devices. We would, however, signpost you to Gov.UK and the NHS websites for suitable advice in relation to this issue.

National Handwriting Day Tuesday 23 January 2024
National Handwriting Day was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) in 1977. The date 23 January was chosen as this is the birthday of John Handcock (the first man to sign the United States of America Declaration of Independence). His autograph became so famous that ‘John Handcock’ is sometimes used as another term for ‘signature’.

Think about the last time you used a pen and paper. In the modern world it is becoming increasingly common to use computers, phones and other technology with predictive text and autocorrect to start writing. However, there are still some convincing benefits of handwriting and putting pen to paper.

A few ways as adults to celebrate National Handwriting Day:

  • write a letter, card or postcard
  • write a shopping list or ‘to do list’
  • write a story or poem
  • leave a note for someone close to you
  • treat yourself to a new pen, pencil or notebook
  • start a diary or journal
  • learn what your handwriting says about you.

Children’s Mark Making
Mark making allows children to express themselves in a new way, giving them opportunities to express their feelings and ideas without relying solely on verbal communication. Mark making enables children to understand the purpose of writing as they begin to see how drawings and marks can communicate and allow them to share their ideas and feelings. Through mark making children develop their hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills which in turn enables them to practise holding a pen, practise their grip and make small, controlled movements towards handwriting.

What opportunities could be provided in your early years provision to encourage mark making and writing?

  • A range of physical opportunities to help develop gross motor skills, core strength, dexterity and coordination, for example, running, walking, crawling, climbing over and under, ball skills.
  • Lots of physical play to help develop fine motor skills, for example, threading, using tweezers, sensory experiences, playdough, gloop and water play.
  • Opportunities to explore many different types of media and materials to make different lines and shapes indoors and outside, for example, using sand, paint, chalk, shaving foam, whiteboards, mud, sticks, different pens, pencils, crayons, feathers, brushes.
  • Providing easy access mark making opportunities in all areas of your setting (not just in one area) using real life resources.
  • Encouraging expressive mark making through music and dance activities.
  • Providing children with lots of opportunities to communicate their ideas with others and have a reason to mark make and write, for example, drawing, pictures, painting, writing lists, cards, recipes, letters, office role play, signs.
  • Draw children’s attention to different types of print and handwriting around your setting, for example, signs, symbols, popular logos.
  • Do children see adults writing and drawing throughout the day? Think about opportunities to role model writing in front of the children. Talk about why you are writing things down and what you may be writing.

Ofsted Updates

Childcare: Application Review
Guidance for applicants on what to expect from Ofsted during the childcare application review process. Added guidance on reference and employment history requirements for childminder and childcare on domestic and non-domestic applicants.

Become a Childminder: Pre-registration Briefing
Guidance replaced with versions that include guidance on reference and employment history requirements for childminder and childcare on domestic and non-domestic applicants.

Apply to Join a Nursery or Other Daycare Organisation (EY2)
Added guidance to the ‘What information you will need’ section about the reference requirement for roles that involve working directly with children.

Update: People Connected with Ofsted-registered Childcare
Childminders and those with governance at childcare on domestic premises settings should be aware that the ‘People Connected with Ofsted-registered Childcare’ guidance has been updated twice this year and these changes could have a significant impact on your setting. The two updates are:
1. 6 February 2023. Update about caring for children whilst awaiting a suitability letter.
2. 4 October 2023. Clarified the checks we carry out on household members and visitors.

Update 1. Caring for Children Whilst Awaiting a Suitability Letter
In the section ‘Caring for children’ it states:
‘We will send you a suitability letter once we have finished our checks. If you will be caring for children as part of your role, you cannot be included in the ratios, or work unsupervised, until you have this letter. This applies to:

  • childminder assistants (including assistants in childcare on domestic premises)
  • the nominated individual, directors, partners, and committee members.’

This could have a significant impact on your provision when employing new assistants/staff. New employees or people with governance cannot be left unsupervised or count in ratio until they have their letter of suitability.

If a member of staff starts at your childcare on domestic premises provision and already has a letter of suitability from a childminding provision, they must check with Ofsted regarding their suitability. Ofsted may allow this person to care for children as they are already known to them.

Update 2. Checks Carried Out on Household Members and Visitors
In the section ‘Household members’ it states:
‘We need to check you even if you only live there for some of the time. For example, if:

  • you’re studying at university but come back during the holidays
  • you stay in the childminder’s home regularly (such as if you split your time between two households)

This applies even if you live elsewhere most of the time or are not there during childcare hours’.

In the section ‘Visitors’ it states:
‘The childminder is responsible for you while you are in the home and must ensure there is no unsupervised contact with the children.

We do not normally need to check you if:

  • you are a frequent visitor (for example, you are a relative or friend who comes round for lunch once a week)
  • you stay overnight with a childminder occasionally (for example, a friend sleeping over)
  • you’re doing building work or repairs in the childminder’s home
  • you’re working in the home outside childcare hours, so there are no children there (for example, cleaning in the evenings or at weekends).

This guidance also applies to those living or working with someone who is registered with Ofsted to provide childcare on domestic premises’.

This information provides clear guidance on whether a DBS is required for household members and visitors.

Further information can be found by following this link.

Early Years Practitioner Wellbeing Support
The Department for Education has published an Early Years Practitioner Wellbeing Support resource on the Help for Early Years Providers platform.

The resources bring together:

  • information on the benefits of investing in staff wellbeing in early years settings
  • case studies from four early years settings who have shared their insights on best practice to support staff wellbeing
  • a list of external resources for early years practitioners and managers.

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Five Data Protection Top Tips for Early Years Settings
It’s vital that early years settings have robust data protection practices in place to keep children’s information safe.

Following World Children's Day on 20 November, we’ve created five practical data protection top tips for nurseries, preschools, childminders and other early years settings.

If you need to refresh your data protection practices or you’re just at the start of your data protection journey, we’re here to help you get that right.

Our five tips cover the topics we’re most commonly asked about by the early years sector, including:

  • what ‘personal data’ is
  • how to deal with a request for personal information
  • what to do with your CCTV footage
  • sharing information when needed, and
  • keeping information secure.

By following our advice, you’ll not only be keeping the children in your care and their families safe, but you’ll also be keeping your business safe too.

Head over to the advice for small organisations section of our website to read the tips.

Christmas Creativity, or Is It?
Throughout the year the craft area might sometimes perhaps be overlooked, and its true and significant value underrated. What does your setting’s art area/corner resemble now? Does it have a good selection of mark making equipment, chalks, pastels, pencils and watercolours? Does it have organised containers for accessories, such as pipe cleaners, Sellotape and glue? Is paper presented well that suggests you value what the children are going to do with it?

Research on the value of expressive art and design is extensive, but like anything, the enthusiasm and engagement of children in these areas can very much be influenced by the joy and enthusiasm shown by the adults who engage with them. Some practitioners may not feel confident with expressive arts and design, or maybe they tend to gravitate more towards the safe outcome focused crafts, for example, handprints to create that special card?

As the festive time of Christmas fast approaches and there is sometimes the expectation for early years providers to create a wonderful array of cards and gifts, you may be thinking, “what shall we make this year?” However, should it be the adults deciding what to create? If we consider Harts Ladder of Participation (1992), where would you want your setting to be on this? The bottom rung or nearer the top giving children the space to initiate their own ideas?

Maybe think about what the youngest children may be learning as they have their hands gently manipulated to create the perfect handprint fairy or tree? What are they learning from sticking on pre-cut shapes? Activities with adult-led intent may only be teaching children that the adult is more skilled and capable than they are. Think about what it is you want the children to learn and let the children lead. We want children to experience the joy in the process, whatever they have created.

You may be familiar with a piece written by Helen Buckley about a little boy who was asked to draw a flower. He had all these wonderful ideas, but slowly the adult’s idea of perfection and what should be created squashed his creativity to the point he no longer had any of his own ideas and he just complied with the teacher’s ideas.

When considering your Christmas activities it is good to ensure that the children are active participants, and not just there for manipulation and decoration tasks to please an adult.

Points to Consider
Are children actively involved in deciding what they are going to make?
Do they know what they are making and why?
Are they able to freely choose the resources they create with?
Does the creative area looked valued, and children given a variety of resources to problem solve and be creative with?

Some younger children may not be able to express what they want to make, but as practitioners, you will know what activities your children will enjoy, and what will allow them to be active participants. Consider the true learning intent rather than just the end result.

Activity Ideas

Christmas Cards
Have a selection of old cards for children to cut and stick (not already pre-cut), with a good selection of pencils or paints for them to add further decoration. You could have a selection already made to inspire their creativity if needed. Always have an adult (who is enthusiastic and confident) making a card alongside the child, role modelling techniques the children could use. Offer support when needed and explain the purpose of the activity.

Gingerbread Playdough
Make gingerbread playdough with children for them to explore and cut. Cookie cutters can be used and the cookies decorated with winter decorations. The activity could lead onto making edible gingerbread cookies.

Sensory Christmas
Have a tough spot on the floor filled with Christmas items for little ones to safely explore. Take photographs of the children exploring the items and share the festive images with families.

Let’s celebrate and value children’s individuality and creativity!

Harts (1992) Children’s Participation.

Kent News and Updates

Message from Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Partnership (KSCMP)

Safer Eating Campaign
As part of the Oliver Steeper Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review (LCSPR), KSCMP is currently working on a Safer Eating Campaign and is looking to work with a group of early years settings before the launch of the campaign to be a test group for us. More information about the Safer Eating Campaign is in the recently published LCSPR in respect of Oliver Steeper which is attached to this bulletin. If you are interested in being part of this group please email in to our [email protected] mailbox by 1 December 2023.

Autism Education Trust Training
The rollout for the Autism Education Trust Training began in earnest across Kent in September. Trainers from the Specialist Teaching Service and Kent Educational Psychologists are leading training for Early Years, School Age and Post 16.

Since September, we have trained 51 early years settings including childminders. We have received positive feedback from the training.

‘Informative and mindset changing’
‘Very informative. Learnt simple tools to support the children that require support.’
‘I now have a good understanding of the differences autistic people face.’
‘Very informative and I feel like I have a better understanding that will now help me in my role this next year and future years.’

The Making Sense of Autism training is free to all settings. We are running training sessions every month for childminders on either a Wednesday or Thursday evening. The next one will be on Thursday 25 January at 6.30-8.30pm. If you wish to attend then please contact [email protected].

Settings can access the Making Sense of Autism and Good Autism Practice training by contacting your local district Specialist Teaching and Learning Service Team who are facilitating training bookings or the AET Team at [email protected].

Committee News

In September, the Charity Commission launched the next phase of its trustee campaign, which aims to increase a charity trustee’s knowledge and drive a positive change in charities’ governance.

The campaign encourages trustees to check what they know about their duties and to increase awareness of the Commission’s five-minute guides. As part of the latest phase of the campaign, the regulator has released a new Trustee Quiz to enable trustees to test their knowledge of their duties and responsibilities.

The quiz is designed to engage trustees with a variety of questions based on everyday scenarios that they may encounter at their charity. The Commission says research shows the majority of trustees feel confident in their ability to manage their charities, but there may be areas of knowledge they can improve on. The quiz is intended to encourage trustees to think again about what they know, and only takes around three minutes to complete.

Charity News

The Charity Commission has recently produced guidance for charities and the use of social media. Below is an excerpt that is relevant for all trustees who use social media personally.

Content posted or shared by trustees, employees, or volunteers on their personal social media accounts

Trustees, charity employees, and any other individuals, have the right to exercise their freedom of expression within the law in their communications, including when using social media. This includes personally supporting a particular political party, or (during an election) a particular candidate, something a charity cannot do. However, trustees should be aware of the potential for content being posted by individuals in a personal capacity being associated with the charity.

There is no expectation that trustees monitor personal media accounts. However, if they become aware of content posted or shared by an individual being associated with, and having a negative effect on the charity, they should consider what action to take to protect the charity.

The likelihood of content posted or shared by an individual being associated with, and having a negative effect on the charity, may depend on who is involved. For example, there may be a greater risk if the chair of a charity posts or shares on a personal social media account which clearly states their role at the charity, or where they blend personal and professional content. In contrast, staff or volunteers with less of a profile online, or in their community, may represent a much lower risk that any content they post or share will be associated with the charity.

To help manage the risks and any impact on the charity, trustees should share guidelines with all trustees, staff, and volunteers, for example, through their social media policy. The guideline should be appropriate for your charity and how it uses social media.

The full guidance can be found here.

Focus on Out of School Providers

Kent has seen an increase in the number of newly registered out of school settings across the county and inspections are steady. Some of the common themes being identified during out of school inspections relate to the settings’ knowledge, understanding and culture around safeguarding. Safeguarding is everyone’s business. Staff should be receiving regular training, support from the designated safeguarding lead, coaching, mentoring and regular reviews of the setting’s policy and procedures (which should be in line with KSCMP guidance) to ensure that everyone is confident, which helps create an effective safeguarding ethos. During the inspection process, inspectors will take into consideration how leaders and managers ‘ensure that there is an open positive culture around safeguarding that puts children’s interests first.’ This is taken from the updated bullet point 59 in the education inspection handbook and means that providers:

  • protect children from harm, both online and offline
  • are vigilant, open and transparent, maintaining an attitude of ‘it could happen here’
  • are open and transparent, sharing information with others and actively seeking expert advice, when required
  • ensure that all those who work with children are trained well so that they understand their responsibilities and the systems and processes that the provision operates and are empowered to ‘speak out’ where there may be concerns
  • actively seek and listen to the views and experiences of children, staff and parents, taking prompt but proportionate action to address any concerns, where needed
  • have appropriate child protection arrangements, which:
    • identify children who may need early help, and who are at risk of harm or have been harmed. This can include, but is not limited to, neglect, abuse, grooming, exploitation, sexual abuse and online harm
    • secure the help that children need and, if required, refer children in a timely way to those who have the expertise to help
    • manage safe recruitment and allegations about adults who may be a risk to children
    • are receptive to challenge, and reflective of their own practices to ensure that safeguarding policies, systems and processes are kept under continuous review.

Snacks and Mealtimes
Snack time and teatimes are an important part of the out of school routine and are a fabulous opportunity for practitioners to support children with their independence, by encouraging them to participate in the preparation, serving and tidying up of their snacks and meals. It is an opportunity for children to sit together with staff, to enable staff to use these interactions to build trusting relationships, discuss healthy living and eating, use children’s opinions to plan the play environment, play opportunities, and discover how children can be supported further in the setting.

Providers must ensure that when providing meals and snacks that they meet the following safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Statutory Framework:
3.29 whilst eating, children must be within sight and hearing of a member of staff
3.48 where children are provided with meals, snacks and drinks, they are healthy, balanced and nutritious
3.49 there is an area that is suitable for the hygienic preparations of food and staff responsible for preparing and handling food are competent to do so. All staff involved in preparing and handling food receive training in food hygiene.

Below are a few healthy nutritious and well-balanced snack and teatime ideas. Remember it is about balance and there may be occasional times where some food is not as nutritious and healthy as your regular daily menu.

Cold Items
Breakfast cereals with milk or yoghurt or fromage frais (plain or fruit flavoured)
Savoury muffins/bagels
Plain currant/raisin bread
Sandwiches – use a variety of different types of bread and fillings
Filled pitta, bagels, wraps or rolls
Pasta salads
Cheese, hard-boiled egg, houmous
A range of raw vegetables and fruit

Hot Items
Toast or bread rolls with various fillings
Toasted teacakes, crumpets or bagels
Toasted sandwiches, warm pitta, paninis or wraps
Tortillas, fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas
Toast with baked beans, cheese, eggs (scrambled, boiled or poached)
Pizza (you could use pittas to create quick pizzas), toppings eg vegetables or cheese
Jacket potato with toppings, such as cheese, cottage cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, chilli, vegetable chilli, curry, tuna, ratatouille
Pasta, rice or noodles with meat or vegetable-based sauce

Remember to share your activities, play opportunities, special events and celebrations on our Facebook page. This is a great place to showcase the wonderful things that are happening in your setting and share ideas with other settings.

Focus on Childminders

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirement is for you and (where applicable) your staff to “undertake professional development opportunities to ensure you offer quality learning and development experiences for children that continually improves.” As a childminder you may wonder how you will fit this into your day and how much it will cost!

All childminders are at different stages in their career and have different experiences of working with young children. Some childminders are also responsible for ensuring their staff are suitably trained. Your approach to your professional development in your setting will therefore depend on your own circumstances.

Whatever training or development you take it is important to review your current practice and reflect on your learning to consider how you will use your new knowledge to make changes to develop your setting. We all take nuggets of information away from training courses so don’t file them away for later; keep a training log of changes you want to make and refer back to it regularly to make the most of your learning and any ideas you, or your staff, took from their reading or training.

The following links provide information about the different ways you can access training to support both your own professional development and that of your staff. If you have any questions, please contact your Childminding Adviser.

If you have a full and relevant level three qualification, then consider taking a qualification that will help you to progress in your career. The recent information we have shared re the National Professional Qualification Early Years Leadership NPQEL may be the route for you.

The Education People’s Early Years Training Website offers a range of face-to-face training and online webinars; some of these are funded by KCC so are free to childminders and some are specifically for childminders. We also highlight training dates through our “spotlight on” emails so do look out for these throughout the year.

The Help for Early Years Providers Department for Education (DfE) website provides practical advice for supporting the development of children in your early years setting. The Early Years Child Development Training pages currently offer five training modules providing an overview of child development in different areas. Titles include “Brain Development and How Children Learn” and “Supporting Children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development” which includes advice on supporting children to develop self-regulation and resilience.

Many of the organisations supporting children and families with specific needs offer free training and advice to support parents and those working with children. This is another way of developing your own knowledge and practice. For example The Autism Education Trust offers a resource The Early Years Competency Framework to help you evaluate your own skills and identify areas where you could develop your practice.

The Communication Trust offers a free short online course An introduction to speech, language and communication.

Professional journals such as Nursery World and Early Years Educator EYE are a source of information and support around child development and fresh ideas to keep the environment and activities you offer engaging and challenging for the children you care for. The Kent County Council Libraries have a wide range of books on early education you can borrow in physical form; some are available online on the Libby app using your tablet or phone. Why not ask one of the librarians for more information next time you are there?

Accessing SEND Support
Although much of the information in this section is relevant to all providers, it has been included here as the Childminding Team has consistently been experiencing low numbers of SEND Support requests.

Knowing where to start if you have a concern about a child can be daunting; your Childminding Adviser is available for support and you can make a request using the Request for Support form. Please write Childminder in the box that asks for your role in the setting. Your Adviser can also provide information on the support available from the Specialist Teacher Service in your district.

The Education People and KCC provide a range of support for all settings across Kent.

The Graduated Approach for Childminders flowchart helps you to assess the development needs of the children you care for, then plan and put support in place for the child. The diagram at the bottom of the flowchart shows this in more detail.

The Best Practice Guidance (BPG) document was developed to support settings to ensure they are providing support at the appropriate level for the child. The Universal, Targeted and Personalised levels of support are discussed in more detail in the webinar Getting to know your Best Practice Guidance. Some childminders will have a booklet copy of the document, which was provided to Eligible Childminders (ECMs) in 2020. There is an updated version which is now available to all childminders in Kent as an online document. Whichever version you use we recommend that you use the BPG to evaluate your setting to ensure you provide support at the Universal level for all children. In some areas of development, particularly Communication and Interaction, the recommendations of Targeted support such as using visual timelines and choosing boards will help all children in the setting.

The Milestone Assessment Toolkit helps settings to establish children’s starting points and strengthen the early identification process. The Toolkit also provides a proforma of the Progress Check at Age Two and the My Unique Progress/Transition documents which can help you to identify concerns and provide information for the Health Visitor, other settings the child may move to and as part of the evidence to support and application to the Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT) to request support for an individual child.

The NHS in Kent also provides resources to support you if you identify a concern about a child.
The Health Visitor service teams provide a telephone support line that you can use for a professional discussion around a child, with parental permission, or to seek general advice around a particular need. The teams offer support around specific topics including feeding, healthy eating, behaviour, sleep and toileting. The webpage also provides the contact details of the team in your area. You can also direct parents to the pages to find out more about the support available through the child health clinics.

The NHS Children’s Therapies Pod is a service for babies and children who present with an identified developing condition or disability. The website can help if you have a specific concern about a child and if you want to develop your own “toolkit” of strategies to support young children’s development across the prime areas of learning. The Pod provides information webinars and resources from the following therapy teams: Neurodivergence, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy. These are a great starting point to understanding the needs of the child and the resources and activities you can use to support them. You can direct parents/carers to relevant pages; be mindful not to overload parents with information at the early stages of a concern about the child. The Pod provides the contact numbers for the North, East and West Kent Therapy Advice line for both parents/carers and professionals. The Pod also provides a link to the referral form for the different Children’s Therapies services.

Other useful websites and documents for SEND support include the following.
The Kelsi website page Equality and Inclusion resources has links to the documents that have been written to support SENCOs and childminders in Kent. These include a useful document for Guidance on when to refer and which service is most appropriate and the One Stop Document for EYSENCOs which explains what the different teams offer to support children and settings.

KCC has a website Support for Children with SEND in Early Years which you may like to include in your policy and the information you share with parents if you are supporting them through a referral to one of the children’s therapies. KCC use the term SEND Local Offer to describe the help and support available. The KCC SEND Information Hub provides information and links to all the support available to parents/ carers, including a page dedicated to children under five, so do take the time to investigate the page and the links to other resources to develop your knowledge of the support available for parents and carers.

Information to Share with Families

Citizens Advice: Money and Perinatal Mental Health
The Citizens Advice Money and Perinatal Mental Health Service is for new parents or soon-to-be parents in Kent who are struggling with money and mental health. It provides free, confidential and impartial money advice and support to help people take control of their finances.

A dedicated specialist adviser provides support to:

  • deal with any debt
  • manage money better
  • identify and claim new benefits
  • improve mental health and wellbeing and more.

Support can be requested by emailing [email protected]

A poster was attached to the email through which the bulletin was sent out that can be shared with families.

Briefing and Networking Sessions

Our regular Early Years & Childcare 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. At the most recent round in October, across all sessions, 12% of delegates rated the sessions as ‘outstanding’ and 82% as ‘good’.

Why not book a place on the next round of sessions and benefit from the opportunity to network and hear important updates? In line with provider feedback and to maximise ability to attend, these sessions will continue to be held virtually via Zoom and you can access your place by clicking on the titles below.

Please note: We have changed the dates of the North and East sessions which are now combined with the West and South sessions respectively in order to be able to share with you the latest updates regarding the New Entitlements. We have also changed the date of the Childminders and Out of School session from 20 February to 6 February 2024.

EYC Briefing and Networking – West & North Wednesday 7 February 4pm – 6pm
EYC Briefing and Networking – South & East Thursday 8 February 4pm – 6pm

We are also running an additional evening Briefing and Networking Session specifically for eligible childminders and out of school settings who may find it difficult to attend the weekday afternoon sessions.

EYC Briefing and Networking – Childminders and Out of School Tuesday 6 February 7.30pm – 9.30pm.

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