Welcome to the first Foundations newsletter of 2014.

We hope you all had a refreshing break and wish you a happy New Year ready for what 2014 has in store.

This edition of Foundations brings you news of a wide range of upcoming events, including the latest round of Achieving 2 Year Olds roadshows and a number of conferences.  The next round of Learn Explore Debate events will take place across the regions in the last two weeks of March.  We will update you further once venues have been confirmed.

We are pleased that the work on refreshing the foundations website has gone well and we are now just just waiting for the technical link ups before it goes live before the end of the month.

As in 2013 the aim of this newsletter is to keep you updated with the breaking and latest news in relation to early years and childcare as well as sharing effective practices, resources and your news.  Please do keep in touch through email or on twitter @foundationyears
Wishing you all the best for a successful and productive 2014,
The Children’s Partnership
Upcoming Events
Tuesday 14th January, NDNA Advanced Safeguarding Training, Blackburn

Tuesday 14th January, Slough CVS Maternity Care Workshop, Slough

Friday 17th January, 5th Annual Professional Development Event for the Play and Playwork sector, Gloucester

Saturday 18th January, NDNA Advanced Safeguarding Training, Maidstone

Monday 3rd February, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, Manchester

Tuesday 4th February, Slough CVS Positive Futures Planning Workshop, Slough

Wednesday 5th February, Children and Young People Now ‘The Outcomes Conference’, London

Monday 10th February, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, Bristol

Monday 10th February, NDNA Advanced Safeguarding Training, West Midlands

Wednesday 12th February, iHV Conference – Perinatal Mental Health: a priority for public health, London

Thursday 13th February, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, Liverpool

Tuesday 25th February, 4Children Conference – More Quality, Affordable Childcare 0-14, Leeds

Tuesday 25th February, The Communication Council seminar – preparing for September 2014, London

Friday 28th February, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, London

Friday 28th February, OXPIP Practitioner Conference, Oxford

Monday 3rd March, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, Exeter

Tuesday 4th March, 4Children Conference – More Quality, Affordable Childcare 0-14, London

Tuesday 4th March, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, Peterborough

Tuesday 4th March, NDNA Ofsted Inspection Workshop, Birmingham

Tuesday 4th March, NDNA Free Member Event, Birmingham

Thursday 6th March, 4Children Conference – More Quality, Affordable Childcare 0-14, Birmingham

Thursday 6th March, NDNA Ofsted Inspection Workshop, Leeds

Thursday 6th March, NDNA Free Member Event, Leeds

Friday 7th March, NDNA Advanced Safeguarding Training, East Midlands

Tuesday 11th March, Achieving Two Year Olds Roadshow, Birmingham

Tuesday 11th March, NDNA Ofsted Inspection Workshop, Liverpool

Tuesday 11th March, NDNA Free Member Event, Liverpool

Wednesday 19th March, NDNA Ofsted Inspection Workshop, Leicester

Wednesday 19th March, NDNA Free Member event, Leicester

Monday 24th – Sunday 30th March, Healthy Body, Happy Me 2014, Nationwide

Thursday 10th April, NDNA Free Member Event, Cardiff

Tuesday 15th April, NDNA Ofsted Inspection Workshop, Durham

Tuesday 15th April, NDNA Free Member Event, Durham
Look out for the new March dates for Learn Explore Debate which will be sent out in the next few weeks
News from the Department for Education

Early Learning Regulations

The Department for Education has laid regulations in Parliament to extend the entitlement to early learning from September 2014 to cover around 40% of two-year-olds in England.  Laying regulations well in advance of the entitlement coming into effect will give providers and local authorities certainty about which two-year-olds will be entitled to a place from September 2014 and enable them to identify eligible children and secure sufficient places.

The regulations are available here together with the explanatory memorandum here.

Autumn Statement 2013
The Autumn Statement 2013 delivered on 5th December contained two elements that are of interest to childcare businesses. Employers do not need to take any action on these announcements as they will take effect automatically.

National Insurance Contributions for under 21s
From April 2015 the government will abolish employer NICs for those under the age of 21, (with the exception of those earning more than the Upper Earnings Limit). All childcare business employing under 21s will benefit from this move.

Cap on increases to Business Rates
With no policy change, business rates for 2014-15 would have risen by 3.2%, in line with September 2013 RPI. The Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement that the government will support all businesses by capping the RPI increase in business rates to 2% in 2014-15. All childcare businesses paying business rates will benefit from this cap.
Local authorities have the ability to grant discretionary relief, under defined schemes.  Childcare businesses should contact their local authority to see if any such schemes are available in their area.
Early years in schools
Last month we mentioned a demonstrations project that the Department for Education is running to gather learning and good practice, and to develop case studies on schools providing care for two-year-olds. There are now around 50 schools involved in the project, drawn from across the country in rural and urban settings, including LA nursery schools, community schools, voluntary aided schools and academies. The first outputs from the project, comprising the results of a survey of participating schools (delivery approaches, challenges, solutions and support needs), and other products will be available in early February. We will provide links to these in a future newsletter.

News from the Sector

Foundation Years resources
We have added a link to a recently launched programme called Storycises, which is about developing physical skills in young children. The programme develops movement skills presented in a story format for 4-5 year olds.  The stories are assigned specific days of the week and there is one set to use per term.  It is designed so that the movements in Term 1’s stories are a lot easier than those in Term 3. 
You can view the Useful Links section of the Foundation Years website here 

Good practice case studies – Teaching and Learning
A new section on the Foundation Years website demonstrates good practice in the sector.  This month we have a case study showing how the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) in Birmingham is benefitting 0-2s by improving their language and communication skills.
View the case studies section here
If you have any good practice examples you would like to share then please email:

Sure Start Children’s Centres
The House of Commons Education Select Committee has published the fifth report of Session 2013-14 on Sure Start Children’s Centres.  It shows that Sure Start children’s centres are essential for families and must be seen as a priority and adds credible weight to the case for Children’s Centres becoming a one stop shop and community cornerstone where all families can find the help they need to flourish.

The report sets out ways to refine expectations around the role, performance, outcomes and accountability of Children’s Centres and Local Authorities.  To move forward, everyone should have a clear expectation of the integral role that Children’s Centres play in getting the very best for children and families in their communities and work together to make sure it happens.  It recommends that, as part of a firmer commitment to recognize the impact of role children’s centres a national outcomes framework be developed to ensure that the right areas are being measured and that the impact of individual centres can be evaluated. 
Read the report here

Family Action
If you’re thinking of setting up childcare in a school for the over 8s, visit Family Action’s Learning Exchange website.  There you’ll find a wide range of guidance, information, case studies and free templates to take you through every step of the process – from carrying out consultations with parents/carers to commissioning a provider, and from setting charges to evaluating your provision.
Keep an eye on Family Action’s ‘Training and events’ page.  They will soon be publishing details of the forthcoming free ‘Dismantling the Barriers’ seminars.  At events held across the country, schools and other childcare providers will have the opportunity to meet Family Action’s Childcare in Schools Team and learn how they can overcome the challenges they face, and offer flexible and affordable childcare that meets the needs of local families.
Read more
Family and Childcare Trust - Parent Champions newsletter launch
The Family and Childcare Trust are pleased to launch their first ever Parent Champions newsletter - ‘Champion Chatter’.  This will be appear quarterly and include information on support to the Parent Champions National Network, plus case studies from various schemes around the country.  You can see this and other latest news on their website 
NCB’s Early Childhood Unit would like to thank the 8 local authorities taking part in the DfE funded Making it REAL development projects.  Since September 2013 they have trained 109 teachers and practitioners from 66 primary schools, nurseries and children's centres in South Tyneside, Oldham, Sheffield, Blackpool, Haringey, Luton, Peterborough and Sandwell.  There are 522 children receiving early literacy home visits (and many more involved in events).  By the end of 2013, 276 home visits and 46 literacy events had already taken place.
The first network meetings were overwhelmingly positive with participants particularly enthusiastic about home visits and the response of children and parents: 
'Amazing - we are offering teachers in homes - I thought parents might be fearful but no one has said no! It is really positive.'
'It's helped us explain to parents why we do things the way we do and they are saying things like, 'I'd never have thought of doing that.'
Read more updates and stories from Making it REAL
Be a star - NDNA Nursery Awards 2014
The NDNA Nursery Awards are the only awards voted for by parents and carers and celebrate the fantastic care nurseries and practitioners provide to one million children and their families across the UK.
This year a new award – NDNA Healthy Nursery of the Year – will be awarded to the nursery which best promotes healthy lifestyles for children through play and fun.  The winner will receive £400 to spend on their nursery.

The NDNA Nursery of the Year and five regional and national titles will also be awarded and the NDNA Nursery Practitioner of the Year.  The NDNA Nursery Sector Champion award celebrates people and organisations working in or with the nursery sector and is open to NDNA members, volunteers, local authority staff and the media.
Voting for the awards closes on 20 March 2014.  The deadline for Nursery Sector Champion entries is 25 April 2014.  The winners will be announced at a celebratory awards dinner in Manchester on 19 June 2014.
For more information go to
I CAN, the children’s communication charity, are currently encouraging early years groups to register for the 2014 Chatterbox Challenge.  I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge: Sounds Like Fun with Humf is the annual fundraising singalong for children under 5 to develop their communication skills and raise money to help children who struggle to communicate.  Children will learn songs and rhymes related to sounds, noise and even silence and take part in activities linked to the EYFS.

Please help I CAN to spread the word about the Challenge and encourage as many early years groups as possible to sign up!  Chatterbox Challenge week is 10-16th February but groups can take part in the Challenge at any time of the year.  To register for a free fundraising activity pack, or to find out about Humf and TTS prizes, go to

News from Montessori
This month we have an article from Barbara Isaacs on teaching and learning in Montessori schools.  
For further information on Montessori please visit
Families First Quality Award
The Families First Quality Award recognises Children’s Centres and Family Information Services that demonstrate excellence in providing information, advice and assistance to local families.

The Awards are administered by the Family and Childcare Trust and the National Association of Family Information Services (NAFIS) and are suitable for services at any stage of the developmental journey. Local Family Information Services and Children’s Centres can undertake the award at the same time or separately.  Undergoing the Award works as a quality improvement tool; in order to achieve accreditation participants are supported to develop any areas that need enhancing or further work to reach a gold standard.  Achievement of the Award recognises services that exceed the requirements set out in the Childcare Act 2006 and provide information and assistance of the highest quality.  

The Families First Quality Award for Children’s Centres launched in 2013 and builds on the success of the quality award for Family Information Services, which has been running since 2009, with 108 FIS’s having undergone the accreditation.
Read more
4Children childcare events
4Children are running a series of regional conferences on more quality, affordable childcare 0-14.
High quality, affordable childcare for 0-14s is a crucial part of life for many families in Britain.  This set of 4Children regional conferences highlights how you can build in continuous quality improvement to achieve more.

At these informative events we will explore the next steps in achieving more affordable high quality and continuous childcare for all children, 0-14.  We will share innovative and creative solutions to help you work towards continuous quality improvement to match the expectations of children and families in the UK today.
At these regional conferences you will hear from childcare experts who will address issues such as sustainability, marketing, partnership working and engaging with the PVI sector.  4Children conferences also offer an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues, sharing experiences and ideas with other professionals.

These events will be held on:
25 February - Leeds
4 March - London
6 March - Birmingham
For more info and to book your place click here
Learn Explore Debate
The next round of Learn Explore Debate events will be held in the last two weeks of March.  More information will be sent once specific dates and venues are confirmed.
Achieving Two Year Olds
Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO) is the national DfE support programme for providers and local authorities, delivered by Hempsall’s and Mott MacDonald.  A2YO’s aim is to support the implementation of free early learning for the least advantaged two year olds.  They are running a second programme of FREE nation-wide roadshows for group providers, children’s centres, schools and childminders.  Over 60 roadshows will occur over the next few months across daytimes, evenings and weekends, and you are invited to come along to the next dates in the diary:

In this spring programme all locations will offer afternoon roadshows (1.00pm registration-4.30pm) and  evening roadshows (6.30pm registration-9.30pm)
3rd February 2014 - Manchester
10th February 2014 - Bristol
13th February 2014 - Liverpool
28th February 2014 - London
3rd March 2014 - Exeter
4th March 2014 - Peterborough
11th March 2014 - Birmingham
Read more
Communication Council Seminar
The Communication Council is running a free seminar supported by the Department for Education and the Department of Health - Preparing for September 2014: Commissioning through the prism of speech, language and communication needs, supporting commissioners to respond to The Children and Families Bill.

The seminar will take place on Tuesday 25th February 2014 at the Abbey Centre in Westminster and aims to support local and national decision makers in commissioning cost-efficient, effective SLCN provision for children and young people in light of the Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) Reforms.
Read more
EY Talking
EY Talking are hosting a twitter conversation between 8pm and 9pm on Tuesday 21 January. 
The Department for Education has agreed to co-host and has set the following discussion points:
  • how to encourage schools to offer more Early Years and out-of-school childcare, including in partnership with PVI providers
  • how to encourage more childminders to enter the profession whether independently or as part of an agency;
  • how to help parents make informed choices about childcare, including knowling how to demand a quality service.
As well as these discussion points, there may be other complementary issues that the sector may like to raise with the Department.
On the evening use the hash tag: #EYTalking to share and connect with others on the debate.
For more information email: and follow @EYTalking on Twitter
Don’t forget to follow @FoundationYears as well for news and updates from the Early Years Sector.

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