Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 6

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Welcome to the sixth issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

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

SEND Local Area Review

Essex has received the notification for the SEND Local Area Review.  This notification came through on 23 September and Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be on site in Essex week commencing 30 September – 3 October 2019. 

The Ofsted Lead HMI is Heather Yaxley.

Clare Kershaw, Director of Education sent an email yesterday to all providers with regard to this, if you have not received the email please contact schools.communication@essex.gov.uk and we will check the email address that we have on file for you.

Business support event for early years and childcare settings

business people and brain image

Our new half day training opportunity will enable you to receive information, advice and guidance around the following topics:

  • Funding
  • Section 106
  • Sustainability
  • Recruitment (information about our new early years recruitment service)
  • Any other business support queries.

The events are taking place on:

  • 17 October 2019, Wickford CLC 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • 18 October 2019, Weston Homes Colchester 9:30am - 12:30pm.

A small marketplace will be available where you can liaise with professionals about learning and development opportunities.

Tea and coffee will be provided on arrival and you will get the chance to have a mid-morning break to network.

The event costs £36 per delegate for Essex Ofsted registered providers and Essex Family Hub staff (including Southend and Thurrock).

Book your place by completing the booking form.

Celebrate Friendship Friday with Kidscape and Elmer

elmer the elephant

Friendship Friday is celebrated on Friday 8 November 2019, with Anti-Bullying Week, celebrated from 11-15 November 2019.

The focus this year is ‘Change starts with us’, encouraging everyone to see they have a role to play in creating a world that is friendlier and kinder.

Settings and schools can register for a free resource pack which includes ideas and resources using Elmer to bring Friendship Friday and Anti-Bullying week to life. The pack shares practical ideas to help build communities of support that will pay long term dividends and make our world better for everyone. These activities are aimed at early years and primary age children as you are never too young to make a difference!

Last chance to enter our music and rhyme competition!

alarm clock

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.

You can book your space by completing the booking form.

Are you offering your families tax free childcare?

piggy bank on books

Find out how to sign up to tax-free Childcare and get a childcare provider account to receive payments from parents using the scheme.

For full information about who can sign up, what you'll need and how you sign up, please see the HMRC guidance.

An effective room leader

paper people holding hands

We are excited to share with you a new learning and development opportunity which is ideal if you are new to the role of room leader or are an established room leader wanting to develop your skills.

You will explore:

  • strategies to support staff, students and new staff
  • managing change and maintaining quality practice
  • helping staff to manage transitions effectively
  • dealing with simple conflict situations within the room
  • coping with in-house promotion
  • getting the best from the team
  • effective communication with the team, parents and management
  • developing individual career progression paths.

The training costs £67 per delegate for Essex Ofsted registered providers and Essex Family Hub staff (including Southend and Thurrock).

The training will take place on:

Please complete the booking form to secure your space. 

Know your children and families

family talking to a woman

Many of you will be getting to know new families in the coming weeks, as their children start at your setting.  This transition provides the opportunity to establish the all-important triangle of trust between key person, parent/carer and child.  It is the time to gather information on the child’s previous experiences, knowledge and skills, so that we can provide a continuous learning journey for each unique individual.

 Parents/carers hold a wealth of knowledge about their child that we can tap into, enabling us to celebrate the experiences they arrive with, and to plan exciting ones for the future. 

Building trusting and respectful relationships lays the pathway for supporting the home learning environment and working together to support each child’s journey of development. 

There are free tools available to help you to have discussions with parents/carers, such as ‘What to expect when?’ found here on the Action for Children website , as well as the range of ‘All About Me’ templates on the Early Years and Childcare website. 

Brexit preparation

Essex County Council (ECC) have started a process to ensure readiness for Brexit.

The DfE Guidance on Brexit is available to look at online. ECC is also able to escalate issues you might experience via the ECC process. Please send any issues you would like to share to schools.communication@essex.gov.uk.

Inspiring practice case studies (equality and inclusion)

scrunched up paper lightbulb

“The leaders of early years settings, schools and colleges should establish and maintain a culture of high expectations that expects those working with children and young people with SEN or disabilities to include them in all the opportunities available to other children and young people so they can achieve well”

 SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years, para 1.31

  • What does this look like in your setting?
  • Have you made inspiring changes to your practice and environment to include children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?

We really want to showcase the great support and ideas that is in place in Essex early years settings and are asking for your help to do this.

You are invited to email in a short case study (just a paragraph or two) to andree.race@essex.gov.uk about the forward-thinking changes you have made to include children with SEND and ensure equality of opportunity.

Case studies must be anonymised and you must have permission from all involved to share.

These case studies will be shared with other settings and may also be shared with the inspectors at the anticipated Local Area SEND Inspection.

This is the first request for case studies, and we hope to collect them for lots of other areas of early years practice soon. 

Essex Safeguarding Children's Board (ESCB) learning and development opportunities

escb logo

ESCB have some new and exciting courses running this autumn, go to escb.co.uk/learninganddevopment to find out about courses on working with children of alcohol dependent parents, suicide prevention awareness, team around the family and early help, learning from multi-agency reviews workshops plus lots of other courses too.

The reducing parental conflict courses have been so popular they are now fully booked, look out for more dates coming soon!

Training opportunities

Training Venue Date
Safeguarding level 2 Various venues September - December 2019
Safeguarding level 2 Various venues January - March 2020
Safeguarding level 2 Various venues April - July 2020
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. 


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.