Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 5

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Welcome to the fifth issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

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

Building tomorrow's childcare, capital opportunities now available!

calculator and paper

It is highly likely that you have seen a new housing development or retail park pop up in your area. The good news is that this new development may have generated some Section 106 funding that you could apply for to expand your setting, or even build a new one!

There are 23 ‘pots’ being published on the Early Years and Childcare website on Monday 9 September 2019. Funds available range from £4,500 to £284,000 and they are spread right across the county.

We are looking for imaginative applications that will create new childcare places within local communities.

So, what could you do with Section 106 funding?

  • Knock down a wall to open up some unused space or add a partition to create dedicated space for babies
  • Improve accessibility and make your setting more inclusive for children with additional needs or a disability
  • Add an extra toilet
  • Make more of your outdoor space. A log cabin could create more places and open up the potential for a forest school.

Possibilities are endless, get your thinking caps on and check  the Early Years and Childcare website from Monday 9 September 2019.

Early years children in care

mother father and child

Do you have a looked after child attending your setting?

Essex Virtual School would like to remind all preschool and school settings that a PEP1 form is required each term for Essex children in care, to ensure there is an effective learning plan in place to support these pupils in achieving their potential.

You will be contacted by the virtual school with information on completing the PEP1. If you have a looked after child in your care and have not heard from the virtual school please email virtual.school@essex.gov.uk.

The Early Years Pupil Premium/ Pupil Premium Grant for these children is not collected by head count but via completion of the PEP1.

Please note, this is a separate process to the Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting which is held with the social worker every six months. If you require any support with the PEP process, please email virtual.school@essex.gov.uk.

For further information please visit the Early Years and Childcare website.  

Does your setting comply with GDPR?

gdpr lady on pc

It’s been over one year since GDPR came into force, do you know what’s expected of you? Have you got everything in place to evidence your compliance with the law?

We are starting to see fines under the new regime, for example British Airways have been fined £183m and Marriot £99m. After having a year to embed the new legislation, the Information Commissioner (ICO) now expects organisations to be fully compliant with the requirements of The Data Protection Act.

Our 'GDPR one year on' training will take place in the autumn term and its aim is to increase your confidence in your ability to comply with the new legislation, avoiding regulatory action for non-compliance. The training will give you a greater understanding of Data Protection and how GDPR affects you and your setting; providing practical advice on how information should be handled, for example:

  • Managing security breaches
  • Handling a request for personal information
  • Sharing data lawfully
  • Evidencing your compliance.

Practitioners will be given a checklist to review compliance and track activities required.

This half day training costs £36 and you can book your space by completing the booking form.

New Ofsted Education Inspection Framework September 2019


From September 2019, Ofsted will change the way it inspects schools, colleges, further education institutions and early years settings in England when the Common Inspection Framework (CIF) is replaced by the Education Inspection Framework (EIF).

Ofsted is clear that ‘providers do not need to do anything specific to prepare for the EIF. However, the new framework does represent a shift in focus. The purpose of the EIF is to:

  • Put the curriculum at the heart of the new framework
  • Put more emphasis on the quality of education and care as a whole
  • Reduce the focus on data, particularly internal progress data.

The most significant changes are with the judgements and grade descriptors. Revised judgement areas are:

  • Overall effectiveness
  • Quality of education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal Development
  • Leadership and management.

Briefing sessions will be held in the autumn term, dates and venues will be available soon.

Revised documents can be found here:

Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted registered providers

For September 2019 onwards Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills

Cultural Capital article in July edition

Competition! How does your setting create the wow factor with music and rhyme?


You don’t have to be able to sing a perfect tune to offer the wow factor through music and rhymes.

To celebrate our new 'music and rhyme' training, we are running a competition to hear about how you (already or would like to) create the wow factor through music and rhymes in your setting. Let us know by emailing your ideas to workforcedevelopment@essex.gov.uk with the subject 'COMPETITION' before 10 October 2019. The winner will receive a free space at our upcoming training. 

The evening training session costs £36 per person and includes:

  • Opportunities to explore songs from various cultures and traditions
  • Auditing the music opportunities, experiences and activities you offer children in your current practice
  • Discussing the purpose and use of music and rhymes to support children’s communication and language development
  • Sharing practical ways to engage the children in the use of music and rhymes
  • Making a resource to support the "Wow Factor" in your practice.

This half day training costs £36 and you can book your space by completing the booking form.

Help Essex County Council reach out to parents

hands computer

Essex County Council needs parents’ feedback to help improve their schools and learning content and related online services.  Feedback from parents will help improve the way parents across Essex access services relevant to their child.

 What can you do?

Share this link with parents you provide services to, it has all the information you need about who we are looking for, what we are looking for, as well as how to sign up. Any way you can spread the word and help reach out to parents would be fantastic!

Can I give feedback?

To avoid biased results, we need to speak to parents who have no association with ECC.

But we would love it if you’d be happy to give feedback on another research topics.

Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll tell you what other things you can help us with.

Islands of intimacy (supporting babies and young children)

practitioner with children

When babies attend day care settings, much of the time can be spent undertaking routines. However, practitioners should follow the rhythm and pattern of each individual child and respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interactions.

Close and trusting relationships are essential to the well-being and development of young children. The day can be very long and tiring, practitioners need to be alert, insightful and responsive, however there needs to some time set aside for relaxing with the children, to play, think, reflect and grow relationships.

Goldschmied (2004 People Under Three: Young Children in Day Care. London. Routledge) suggests that the key person spends time with their children, to use the opportunity for unhurried listening, observation, to share something together only belonging to that practitioner, using a special area. This is a time to talk, extend learning and language, uninterrupted from the busy day.

For further information and reading:

People Under Three: Young Children in Day Care, Routledge

Working with Babies & Children from Birth to Three, Sage.  

Training opportunities

Training Venue Date
Safeguarding level 2 Various venues Various dates
Stepping into management Various venues Various dates
Supporting children learning English as an additional language (EAL) Various venues Various dates
The role of the ENCO Various venues Various dates
The role of the ENCO for childminders Various venues Various dates
GDPR - one year on Various venues Various dates
Creating the wow factor with music and rhymes Various venues Various dates
Youth Mental Health First Aid training Goodman House Harlow 12 November 2019
Youth Mental Health First Aid training County Hall Chelmsford 13 November 2019
An effective room leader Various venues Various dates
Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner Various venues Various dates
How to deck out your garden on a budget Various venues Various dates
Turning small spaces into amazing spaces Greenacres Chelmsford 28 March 2020
CERTSEY: Level 3 Certificate for SENCOs in Early Years (PVI sector) Various venues Various dates

For more information or to book a place on the above training, please follow each title link.

Our new training programme is now available on our website as we’re no longer using EES (CPD Online). This is a temporary arrangement until our online shop goes live.

Please note: The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is available for settings who support 8-18 year olds (such as after school clubs).

To improve our offer to you, our eLearning training is currently under review. We look forward to its launch on our new booking system. 

Learning and Development fees and charges

Our prices will increase from 1 September 2019, details of costs are in each booking form.


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.