Welcome to the December edition of the Foundation Years newsletter


With Christmas fast approaching we hope that your preparations for the festive season are going smoothly. While it is undoubtedly a very busy time of the year, hopefully most of you will have holidays and seasonal celebrations to look forward to!

This has been another busy and eventful year for the early years sector. The Early Years Pupil Premium came into effect from April, with providers getting up to an additional £302 a year for eligible 3 and 4 year olds.

In June the government introduced the Childcare Bill to bring in 30 hours of free childcare for employed families of 3 and 4 year olds. The DfE carried out an extensive review of childcare costs to determine the current costs of childcare to providers, and the current demand and supply of childcare places for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds. At the same time a review was carried out into how much it costs for childcare providers to manage the free early education entitlement for children aged 2 to 4. Following the reviews, the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, announced the new average funding rate for the early years.

The new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework came into effect from September. The framework is designed to bring together the inspection of different education, skills and early years settings to provide greater coherence across different providers that cater for similar age ranges.

Let’s see what 2016 has in store for the sector!

Wishing you all the very best for Christmas, and a 2016 that brings you all that you hope for.

Best Wishes & Merry Christmas
The Children’s Partnership
Updates from the Government
Updates from the Sector
Latest Resources

Updates from the Government

Childcare Bill: Policy Statement
The Department for Education has published an updated policy statement on the extension to free childcare entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds.
Consultation on wraparound and holiday childcare – parent and childcare provider ‘rights to request’
Delivering on the government’s commitment to help parents access affordable and flexible childcare, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced new plans to give families the ‘right to request’ wraparound and holiday childcare for children from Reception up to the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9). Childcare providers will also have the ‘right to request’ the use of a school’s facilities when the school is not using them – opening up good quality, affordable childcare when they need it.

The new consultation, on departmental advice on how schools should respond to the ‘rights to request’, was launched on the 7 December 2015 by the Prime Minister. It seeks views from parents and carers on making a request, and from schools, childcare providers and others on how they can work together to deliver this commitment for hard working families.

The departmental advice aims to avoid imposing unnecessary burdens on schools and maintains school autonomy, whilst ensuring schools understand the basis on which they should be responding constructively to requests for wraparound and holiday childcare.

The consultation closes on the 29 February 2016.

We look forward to hearing your views on the proposals in the draft departmental advice document. The consultation can be found here.

If you have any questions about the consultation please contact David Aickin at the Childcare Providers and Regulation Team at
Early Years Foundation Stage Profile: 2016 Handbook
The Standards and Testing Agency has published guidance to help practitioners complete and moderate EYFS profile judgments so that outcomes are accurate and consistent across all early years settings.
Early Years Census 2016: Guide
The DfE has published a guide to help local authorities and early years providers, who receive direct government funding, prepare and return the 2016 census.

Funding available to train as an early years teacher
Funding for both early years employers and trainees is available, to find out more please visit

If you want to apply for an early years initial teacher training place starting in September 2016, accredited training providers will be confirmed shortly. Complete the early years registration form and we’ll send you regular updates.
Healthy beginnings: Giving our children the best start in life
Giving children a healthy start in life is one of the most important jobs councils do and we all have a duty to make sure that children, along with their mums and dads, have access to the services they need. That's why the transfer of public health commissioning responsibilities for under-fives to local government marks such a tremendous opportunity. It brings a new momentum for developing and driving forward a shared vision for local children, young people and families. Read more here.

Updates from the Sector

All Party Parliamentary Group on Children’s Centres – Call for Evidence
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Children’s Centres is currently running an inquiry examining the future of Children’s Centres. Entitled “Children’s Centres: Fit for Families of the Future”, the Group is looking in particular at Centres’ potential role as hubs for local services and family support.

As part of its inquiry, the Group is currently running a call for evidence, and would welcome submissions from all those with an interest in Children’s Centres’ future. Further information about the call for evidence, including the questions that the Group would like your views on and guidance on composing submissions, is available on the Group’s webpage and can be accessed here.

The deadline for submissions is 12 noon on Monday 11th January. If you have any questions, please contact John Davies at or by phone on 020 7522 6965.
Early Education
Learning Together About Learning EYPP project
Booking is open for our dissemination events in the spring.  Practitioners involved in the project will share their experiences, and each event will also have a well-known speaker on key topics relating to closing the gap. Events will take place during February and March.

For full details of events and speakers, and more about the project, go to here 

Publications and Resources
Browse our publications and resources here
Family Action
‘Developing inclusive childcare practices for 0–5s with SEND’
Family Action has been funded by the Department for Education (DfE) to support school-based early years childcare settings to develop their inclusive practices for 0-5s with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Read about our Childcare in Schools project.

What’s new on the Learning Exchange website?
National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
The National Day Nurseries Association Annual Nursery Survey 2016 is now under way!

It’s the most important piece of research NDNA does each year - so please take some time to share your facts, figures and points of view. As a thank you, all entrants will be entered into a draw to win £100 in supermarket vouchers! The results will be analysed in three reports for release during February.
The survey results will be key campaigning tools for NDNA during 2016, as it continues its work to influence politicians and policy makers for the benefit of families, children and the nursery sector across the UK.

Take the survey now
Closing date: Midnight on Sunday 17 January 2016
National Portage Association (NPA)

Do you want to increase your confidence and skills in working with children with SEND?
Portage Workshop training can help early years practitioners meet the needs of families and children with SEND using the Portage model and Portage principles. Portage Workshop training can also improve your everyday practice to support ALL children, not just those with additional needs.

Building on a successful 2 year contract, the NPA continue to work on a project supported and funded by the DfE  ‘to sustain and develop the Portage workforce’.

Portage is traditionally a home visiting educational service for children under 5 with SEND, working in close partnership with parents. The National Portage Association is the umbrella organisation supporting Portage services, Portage workers and parents.

Portage Workshops delivered by NPA Accredited Trainers offer training and support to the early years workforce to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence to support children with SEND & their families.

In areas with little or no access to Portage the NPA may be able to offer FREE training including a Portage Awareness Workshop and a Portage Workshop. For more information about Portage visit the Portage Support Hub.

If you are interested in accessing the training or developing Portage in your area please contact: (North & Midlands)  (South)

Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO) launch a new film: Learning from what works
Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO) would like to congratulate and thank the local authorities, providers, childminders, children’s centres and schools who have already embraced the two-year-old entitlement. The A2YO team has been working with each local authority and thousands of providers and partners to provide information sharing, and the support and challenge to make it happen since 2012.

To celebrate this success a film has been launched showcasing the particular achievements of everyone involved, and the factors contributing to such success. 

Watch it here, live streamed for FREE:
Working Families
Tax-free childcare and free childcare in England
You may have heard announcements from the government about tax-free childcare, which will help parents to pay for the cost of childcare via government top-ups. Unfortunately the scheme has been delayed, and now won’t start until early 2017. In the meantime, all the existing schemes continue, including the childcare element of working tax credit (WTC) and the salary sacrifice schemes which allow some employees to use childcare vouchers. Read more about tax free childcare here.
Preparing for Tax Credit Cuts in April 2017
We now know that the main tax credits cuts are for people starting their families, or having a third child, from April 2017. Tax credits will be frozen in April 2016, but be careful if your income is going to go up by more than £2,500 compared to 2015-16, as this could cause an overpayment. Read more about tax credit cuts here.

Latest Resources

DfE FAQs on free childcare entitlement

Early Years Census Guide

Children’s Food Trust Resources to Promote Healthy Eating


Early Education
Learning Together About Learning EYPP project
Dissemination events from the project’s local networks will take place at a series of events in the spring. These events will enable network participants to share their learning in an informal ‘Knowledge Café’ style. Some events will include visits or seminars in addition.  Dates and locations are as follows:
  • 9 February 2016 - Newcastle
  • 23 February 2016 - Stockport
  • 29 February 2016 - Plymouth
  • 3 March 2016 - Cambridge
  • 8 March 2016 - Birmingham
  • 17 March 2016 - London
Further information and details of how to book will be sent out in future project newsletters.  To sign up, see past newsletters and access resources go to
Early physical & sensory development
13th January
What kind of leader do you aspire to be?
2nd February


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