Welcome to the April edition of the Foundations newsletter.

The Easter break is almost upon us and will provide a welcome break after the busy time we’ve had in the last month.

In that time we have brought you six newsflashes, the Children and Families Bill has become law and the revised EYFS has been published for implementation in September 2014.  And today this newsletter brings you news of Ofsted’s first ever Annual Report on Early Years.  In March childcare made front-page news as the government announced in its budget the proposals for new ‘tax free childcare’ support and 85% of childcare costs to be covered under Universal Credit, and some additional expenditure with the introduction of a new early years pupil premium from 2015.

This newsletter also brings you all the latest news from the early years sector, including new research from NDNA and the National Literacy Trust, progression tools from the Communication Trust and details of 4Children’s regional seminars on Children’s Centres. There are also two consultations running this month so be sure to submit your responses.

We enjoyed hearing from you directly at the recent round of Learn Explore Debate events and following feedback are working with the DfE’s Special Educational and Disabilities team in producing a early years resource to support the SEN and disability reforms.

As ever we hope this information is useful and if you have any questions, comments or examples of practice you would like to share then please get in touch:  You can also join the debate by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

From all of us we wish you a very good Easter.

Best wishes,
The Children’s Partnership
Thursday 10th April, NDNA Free Member Event, Cardiff

Monday 14th – Tuesday 15th April, iHV Domestic Violence and Abuse Training, Guildford

Tuesday 15th April, NDNA Ofsted Inspection Workshop, Durham

Tuesday 15th April, NDNA Free Member Event, Durham

Wednesday 23rd April, 4Children Learn Explore Debate, Taunton

Friday 25th – Saturday 26th April, Nursery and Primary Show, Bournemouth

Saturday 26th April, NDNA Working with babies training, London

Wednesday 30th April, NLH Partnership workshop: Effectively tracking Children’s Centre impacts, London

Wednesday 30th April, NDNA Free Member Event, Edinburgh

Thursday 1st May, Working with babies training, Kendal

Tuesday 20th May, Early Years Mathematics Conference, London

Friday 23rd May, NDNA Advanced Safeguarding Training, Huddersfield

Saturday 24th May, NDNA Working with babies training, London

Monday 26th May, NDNA Working with babies training, Huddersfield

Thursday 5th June, 4Children seminar: Childrens Centres - What Next, London

Friday 6th June, NDNA Working with babies training, Huddersfield

Tuesday 10th June, 4Children seminar: Childrens Centres - What Next, Leeds

Tuesday 10th June, Westminster Education Forum seminar – ‘Next steps for child development policy’, London

Wednesday 18th June, NLH Partnership workshop: Effectively tracking Children’s Centre impacts, Birmingham

Thursday 19th – Friday 20th June, NDNA essential nursery conference, Manchester

News from the Department for Education 

Early Years Foundation Stage 2014
The Government has published an updated version of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to take effect from 1 September 2014.  This follows the Government’s response to the consultation on ‘The Regulation of Childcare’ which was published on 13 February 2014.
The 2014 version of the EYFS reflects those changes which apply to some of the areas within Section 3 on Safeguarding and Welfare.  There have been no changes to the areas of learning and development themselves (including the early learning goals). 
The 2014 EYFS can be downloaded from our website and you can view a simple summary of the changes here
Children and Families Act
The Children and Families Bill - including provisions for establishing childminder agencies and making it easier for schools to offer wrap-around care - has received Royal Assent and becomes law. 

The Department for Education will be working to commence the Act’s provisions over the coming weeks and months.  More information will be available in upcoming issues of our newsletters.
You can read more on the Children and Families Act here
Childcare support
The government has announced a package of extra childcare support for families, including increasing tax-free childcare, introducing a £50m early years pupil premium and covering 85% of childcare costs for 300,000 of the most disadvantaged families.
Tax-Free Childcare
The new tax-free childcare scheme will be increased to £2,000 per child and extended to all children under 12 within the first year.
This new childcare package will benefit almost 2 million families and will help parents to go out to work if they want to and provide more security for their families, while directing extra support to those children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The government will provide 20% support on childcare costs up to £10,000 per year for each child via a new simple online system.  The limit had previously been set at £6,000.  This now means support of up to £2,000 per child per year.

The scheme will be introduced much more quickly than previously announced with all working parents covered within the first year from autumn 2015.  Previously children under 12 would have gradually qualified for the scheme over a 7-year period.

The government has released a list of top 10 things parents should know about tax-free childcare.  You can view that here
Early Years Pupil Premium
A new Early Years Pupil Premium will be introduced to help ensure children get the best possible start in life. £50 million will be invested in 2015 to 2016 giving early years providers more support to help those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.  This will help providers employ more highly qualified staff, for example, or to increase access to services such as speech and language specialists.
85% of childcare costs to be met under Universal Credit
To help more families move off of benefits and into employment, the government intends to cover 85% of the cost of childcare for all families receiving Universal Credit, which would be around 300,000 families.
Primary assessment and accountability
The Department for Education (DfE) have published the Government response to the primary assessment and accountability consultation.  Sitting alongside changes to assessment and accountability systems and structures for keys stages 1 and 2 there are changes to assessment in the reception year.
A short reception baseline will be introduced that will sit within the assessments that reception staff make of children during their reception year.  This will capture the school’s starting point from which the progress of a cohort will be measured.  The baseline will be age appropriate and schools will be able to use it from September 2015.  This baseline will sit within the teacher’s broader assessments of children’s development – which go wider than any single baseline assessment can accurately capture.  Teachers will continue to undertake on-going (formative) assessment during reception.  At such a key transition point, such as moving into reception, we expect teachers to liaise with a child’s previous setting in order to build on the child’s learning and development.
Read more
Consultation: Childminder Agencies and Changes to the Local Authority Role
On Friday 28 March the Department for Education has published a consultation seeking views on changes to the provision of early education and childcare as a result of measures in the Children and Families Act.

Part A of the consultation is about the introduction of childminder agencies and specifically new draft regulations, including key requirements for those organisations who wish to set up agencies, whilst Part B seeks views on draft regulations which make changes to the way local authorities discharge their duty under section 7 of the Childcare Act 2006 ("the 2006 Act”). 

The consultation will run until 22 May and can be accessed here
Any organisations interested in setting up a childminder agency in their area can register their interest by contacting
Time to invest, time to grow
The Budget announcements for 2014/15 are good news for childcare businesses, with the government creating better conditions for investment in businesses.  Here are three key changes that can positively impact your business:
  • From April 2014 you can benefit from a £2,000 employment allowance that will help you cope with the costs of employing extra staff. Find out how much you can save using the allowance calculator.
  • The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) has been increased to 500k.  The AIA is a type of capital allowance, which offers a 100% allowance on qualifying capital expenditure in the year of purchase.  This means you can spend up to £500k on equipment, computers, new fittings and furniture for your nursery and all of this expenditure is 100% allowable as a deduction when calculating the taxable profits of your business.  The increase in the level of AIA is time limited and likely to be reduced back to the standard level of £25k before the year is out.
  • If you are a Social Enterprise (including community and voluntarily run organisations) and looking for new sources of investment for your business you can benefit from an increased rate of income tax relief.  The government will set a rate of 30% income tax relief for the Social Investment Tax Relief.  This rate will allow eligible social enterprises to receive a maximum of around £290,000 investment over 3 years.
Planning Changes 
From this April, the government has simplified the process for opening nurseries in buildings not currently used for childcare.  This should make it easier for you to find suitable properties that can make excellent nurseries and not have to go through the long process of applying for planning permission to change their use class. 

The new regulations will come into force on 6th April.  These create new permitted development rights (PDRs) that will allow offices (B1a use class), hotels (C1); residential institutions (C2); secure residential institutions (C2A) and assembly and leisure (D2) to change use to registered nurseries providing childcare in non-domestic premises (D1).  The PDRs also cover certain types of residential buildings.  You can find the regulations here.
Read more
DfE website
The DfE website has transferred to GOV.UK, the single location for all online government information. You can find out more here.

News from Ofsted
Early Years Annual Report
Today Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has delivered his annual lecture alongside the publication of Ofsted’s first annual report on early years.  Read these here.
Consultation:  Separate Inspection Judgements for Early Years Settings
Ofsted has published a consultation setting out plans to introduce separate inspection judgements for early years settings.

The proposed changes, due to come into effect from September 2014, are designed to ensure inspectors place as much emphasis on this important stage of children’s education as on the quality of provision for 5 to 16 year-olds.

Ofsted wants to hear from schools, parents and other parties about whether they think the plans will provide a more rounded view of those academies and local authority maintained schools that provide early years education.

You can view the consultation here
The consultation closes on 13 May

News from the Sector

The Communication Trust
The Communication Trust has launched a new suite of resources called the Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools. They aim to support teaching staff to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills. The Tools provide a relatively quick way of determining where children are against where they should be for their age and provide more information about how these vital skills are progressing.

There are currently Tools available for those who work with ages 4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10.
To order the Progression Tools or to find out more please go to

Family Action
Childcare in schools

The childcare in schools team at Family Action is now starting to fill up its diary with dates between now and December on which they’ll be offering free ‘Dismantling the Barriers’ workshops.

Everyone is looking forward to enabling the schools we’ve been working with in London and the North West to share what they have learned during the process of setting up school-based childcare.

The date has now been set for a workshop for mainstream schools in the Midlands.  Also, two workshops for special schools have been arranged – one in the North West and one in the Midlands.  You can download the schedule here.

Please remember to keep visiting the training and events page on the Learning Exchange, because the schedule will be updated as further training locations, venues and dates are arranged. 
Read more
Family and Childcare Trust
First ever Parent Champions Conference
On 27 March 2014 Family and Childcare Trust held the first ever Parent Champions Conference, with 80 delegates from various Parent Champion schemes across the country, and invited partners. 

Project coordinators and Parent Champion volunteers shared their varied and inspiring experiences from schemes, connecting with families missing out on important information.  Delegates came from all across the country.  Some volunteers were very experienced and now training up new volunteers, whilst others had only started a week ago! 

One Parent Champion said “I wish there was a Parent Champion there for my children” and another delegate summed up the day by saying “There are people who Parent Champions have spoken to, who wouldn’t have been spoken to by anyone else otherwise. They really change lives and it’s amazing. Well done!” 
Read more

Parent Champions newsletter
The second issue of Champion Chatter, the Family and Childcare Trust Parent Champions newsletter, has been published. 

In it you can hear from some of the Parent Champion schemes in different parts of the country, and hear the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.  Parent Champions are trained parent volunteers who help give information to families about childcare and local services.  If you are interested in learning more or would like to explore setting up a scheme, visit the website – - or contact Chloe Alexander,

National Literacy Trust
Technology offers a route into reading for disadvantaged three to five-year-olds
The National Literacy Trust and Pearson have launched the findings from their first annual Early Years Literacy survey.  The survey explored how parents and practitioners support children’s early literacy skills and the role that technology can play in this.

The findings show that technology is playing a large role in the lives of under fives, with three-quarters (72.9%) of three to five-year-olds having access to a touch screen at home.
The survey also found:
  • Twice as many children of lower socioeconomic status look at stories daily (16%vs. 7.2%) despite having less access to touch screens at home.
  • One in five early years practitioners say children use technology in their setting.
  • Three-quarters of parents and practitioners consider it important for a child to use technology from an early age in order to get on at school.
  • Two-thirds of practitioners feel their setting needs further access to touch-screen devices.
Read more

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has carried out a small scale study on how nurseries benefit from employing graduate staff.  NDNA carried out the Department for Education (DfE) grant funded project to identify best practice models in the deployment of graduates in early years education settings.

The study was carried out at PVI nurseries, maintained nurseries and academies to see how flexibility was used.  It highlighted the different ways graduates were deployed within settings whilst ensuring children’s individual needs were provided for and quality was retained.  The study also showed the difficulties providers faced with the different levels of funding from local authorities acting as a barrier to employing more graduates within their settings.

The 13 case studies from the project are available to download at
NDNA would like to receive feedback about the case studies and whether nurseries have found them helpful and are adopting aspects in their practice.
I CAN, the children’s communication charity have recently announced their 12,000th local practitioner has been trained as part of the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP).  ELDP is a Department for Education (DfE) sponsored initiative that skills up practitioners in early years settings to develop young children’s language.  Read more on I CAN’s blog.

The DfE will be funding ELDP for a further year due to the positive impact ELDP is having on practitioners, children and parents.  If you are interested in free training and resources to support the speech, language and communication development of the most vulnerable 0-3s and are based in England, contact the ELDP team at for more information and details on how to apply

Tot It Up

Experts launch app to monitor the food intake and activity levels of children aged 1 – 4 years
Do you think your toddler is a fussy eater?  Do you worry they may not be getting the right balance of foods?  Now there’s an easy way to keep track of their nutritional intake with the Tot It Up food calculator app.  

Created by the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF), Tot It Up provides a personal analysis of a toddler’s daily or weekly food intake compared against current recommendations, together with tips on how to make small changes to maintain the right balance.
Read more
Childminding Best Practice Newsletter
The Childminding Best Practice Newsletter is a recently launched newsletter which aims to help promote best practice to childminders with a focus on diversity awareness and childminding in the great outdoors.  The most recent issue includes a section on food safety and business implications of the coming changes in September 2014. 
4Children regional practical seminars
Children’s Centres – What next!
London – 5 June,  Leeds – 10 June

Children’s Centres are once again high on the agenda.  They are recognised as having “come of age”, now supporting as many as a one million families across the country and becoming a cornerstone for early intervention and prevention within our communities.  Bringing together services and co-ordinating support around the needs of children and families is at the heart of Children’s Centres delivery.  It is imperative for Children’s Centres to find ways to drive greater integration in the provision of local services if they are to improve outcomes for children and families.

Go to to book or call 020 7522 6966
Read more
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