Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 3

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Welcome to the third issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

If you have any good news stories or examples of good practice, please email workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk.

Keeping our children safe! Private fostering awareness

Child holding hands with adults

What do you know about private fostering?

Private Fostering is when a child/young person under 16 (18 if disabled) lives with someone who is not a close relative* for more than 28 days.

*The law considers a close relative to be a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or step-parent.

Who needs to know about private fostering arrangements?

The local authority must be advised of private fostering arrangements and it is a legal requirement for parents and private foster carers to notify the Local Authority. Examples of private fostering are: -

  • Young person living with the family of a boyfriend, girlfriend or friend
  • Child or young person living with an extended family member, example great aunt or cousin
  • Child or young person living with family friend
  • Child or young person who are in this country on an educational exchange programme and staying with a host family, longer than 28 days.

How can you help?

Private Fostering Arrangements are frequently under reported, so please let us know if you become aware of one. If you are concerned about anything affecting a private fostering arrangement, please contact us immediately.  

Phone: 0345 603 7627 to make a referral or visit: essex.gov.uk/privatefostering.

Speak to the Children and Families Hub or visit Essex County Council website. 

Coming soon! Online shop


As you may be aware we currently use EES (CPD online) as our online booking system. This enables practitioners to view our training offer, book places on face-to-face training and access our eLearning modules.

In order to improve our offer to you, we are currently in the process of procuring a new online shop.

If you would like to help us shape how the new online shop works, please email us your thoughts to WorkforceDevelopment@essex.gov.uk.  

For now it's business as usual and we will keep you updated of future developments via this newsletter. 

Successful partnership working aids children’s transition to school

school shoes

Following on from the article in last month's newsletter, two providers have shared their good practice transition arrangements.

Riventots Preschool in Rivenhall has had great success for children moving up to reception class by holding a school readiness meeting for parents.

Ruth Hassey (owner/manager) invites parents and teachers from three local schools to an information evening to discuss expectations from the school and by the parents.

Ms Hassey explains she used to hold these after the families knew which school the children were going to attend but found when it is run beforehand, the parents are more focused on the overarching message the teachers give. The three schools that attended this year all agreed that independence was the most important skill to have when starting reception including dressing, undressing, toileting alongside sharing and taking turns.

Feedback from both parents and teachers has been positive and although children are not invited to this evening session, Ms Hassey also holds sessions during the day for the children to meet teachers.

Cat, a childminder from Braintree, explains how she supports children to settle into her setting and transition. Cat has created a photo book which she gives to prospective families with photos of her home, garden, herself and her family so children become familiar with their surroundings and the people around them before they start.

“First of all, the family will visit my home, this gives the parents a chance to see me, my home and the environment and to check out my qualifications and training certificates etc.

I then make an appointment to visit the family at home, to sort out paperwork, such as contracts. I can then see the child playing and start to find out what they are interested in, their likes and dislikes. Then I leave my photo book with them, suggesting they share this with their child a couple of times a day.

I offer settling in sessions, which vary in length to make sure that this meets the individual needs of each child.

I have had really positive feedback from all of my families.”

Revised SET Child Protection procedures

ESCB logo

The revised SET Child Protection Procedures have now been launched. This document lists the updated chapters and any impact on practice.

In early October 2019 another updated version of the SET Child Protection Procedures will be published, these will take into account the new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements across Southend, Essex and Thurrock, as well as information sharing processes. These will reflect changes in legislation and statutory guidance.

Please note, there will be a further update later this year.

Summer Reading Challenge 2019: Launch at Cressing Temple Barns

Space chase

5,4,3,2,1 …. We have lift off!

This year’s exciting Summer Reading Challenge 2019 is Space Chase, an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Essex Libraries will be blasting off with a launch on Saturday 20 July at Cressing Temple Barns as part of their fun filled Space Day.

The day will feature a Mobile Library and Inclusive Communication Essex (ICE) who’ll have lots of interactive resources for children to enjoy.

Space Chase runs in all Essex libraries from Saturday 20 July 2019 to Monday 2 September 2019 and all Mobile Libraries from Saturday 29 June 2019.

It is free to join and children can read or share six books of their own choice to get sticker rewards and a sticker medal. Older children collect stickers and gain a special medal for completing six books. A special Space Chase early years folder with big safe stickers will enable children under three to take part along side their older brothers and sisters.

The Summer Reading Challenge is created by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries.

Brexit: things your childcare business may need to know


Following on from last month’s update, our focus this month is the employment of EU citizens. The Business Management Consultants would like to draw your attention to the information that the Government website provides about your obligations as an employer.

Given the valuable contribution EU citizens make to businesses and organisations across the UK, employers may wish to communicate with their EU staff about the EU Settlement Scheme.

Please note: This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.

'Specialist hoists and their associated slings' audit


Essex County Council and Essex Cares Limited are carrying out an audit of the equipment that is currently out in schools and settings.

If your school or setting currently has any (used & unused) hoisting equipment, your help and support is required through the completion of this questionnaire which is in relation to specialist hoists and their associated slings.

Speech, language and communication

TLC logo

Essex have strived to highlight the importance of speech, language and communication in young children. We work hard to share this significant message from when the mother is pregnant all the way to school. Essex do this by having a designated speech, language and communication adviser, a Talk, Listen and Cuddle (TLC) facebook page and a Talk Listen and Cuddle website .

The government used significant research from Hart and Risley to put together their document Unlocking Talent and fulfilling potential. It has made us proud to think that Essex is leading the way with promoting the significance of having good language and communication skills from the beginning.

The Early Years Quality Improvement Team have had the opportunity to work with many practitioners across Essex to share training and  key messages to ensure that all those who are working directly with young children and families are acting as good role models and promoting good speech, language and communication skills in their practice and provision.

One teacher from Whitmore Primary school explained to us that some small changes in how adults interact with children can make a huge difference: ‘We have found it really beneficial to follow the 10 second rule both in reception and nursery, giving the children some thinking time, before answering.

We have also been very conscious of lessening the amount of questions we ask by giving children a narrative about what we observe instead. This has resulted in children using more extended sentences and adults being able to introduce new vocabulary into the conversations."

Top tips for supporting parents:

Family talking to professional
  • Share with the parents the Talk Listen and Cuddle Facebook page and website
  • Share specific links from the website with parents, such as 'Walk and talk out and about'
  • Share TLC resources with parents and explain how to use them. For example: send home a Rhyme Card and the object associated to the rhyme and invite parents to share the rhyme at home
  • Inspire parents by sharing the playful opportunities offered in your setting and the benefits of these. For example: share a photo of a small world area and highlight the benefits of this for children and the importance of play
  • Share with parents that commenting rather than asking questions can make a huge difference in developing a child’s communication skills and modelling new words to a child. An example could be: "Thomas you are bouncing the ball. Bouncing the ball up high"
  • Encourage parents to give children time to think, it takes time for a child to understand information and comprehend it, once you make a comment allow the child time to process the information.

Open University free courses

Lapotop on desk

The Open University website offers free online courses. All OpenLearn courses are free to study. There are nearly 1000 free courses on offer across eight different subject areas including 'Education and development'.

You may want to add a few relevant courses to your induction process or training and development plans. 

Training opportunities

Training Venue Time Date
Safeguarding Level 2 Wat Tyler Country Park 9:30am - 4:30pm 03 Jul 19
Supporting children learning EAL County Hall Chelmsford 9.30am-12.30pm 09 Jul 19
Safeguarding Level 2 Woodlands Colchester 9:30am - 4:30pm 13 Jul 19
Safeguarding level 2 Hamptons Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 10 Aug 19
Safeguarding level 2 County Hall Chelmsford 9:30am - 4:30pm 22 Aug 19
Youth Mental Health First Aid training Woodlands Colchester 9am - 4:30pm 04 Oct 19
Youth Mental Health First Aid training Goodman House Harlow 9am - 4:30pm 12 Nov 19
Youth Mental Health First Aid training County Hall Chelmsford 9am - 4:30pm 13 Nov 19

For more information or to book a place on the above training, please visit the EES website.

Please keep an eye out on our website for further upcoming 2019 training opportunities.

Please note: The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is available for settings who support 8-18 year olds (such as after school clubs). If the date you would like to attend is fully booked, please follow this link to express your interest in future dates.

Learning and Development fees and charges

Our prices will increase in September 2019 by the rate of the cost price index which is 3%.

Archive now available

Post it note

We now have an archive page on the Early Years and Childcare website which will host three terms’ worth of newsletters. This is to ensure that all of our information is current and up to date.