Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 7

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Welcome to the seventh 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.

Does this newsletter work for you?

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Now that this newsletter has been live for over six months, we would like to ask for your feedback about whether this publication meets yours and your setting's needs.

Please complete our short survey to tell us how we can make this newsletter better for you.

eSafety in the early years training event

padlock in hand

Did you know that 52% of three - four year olds go online, for nearly nine hours a week? - Ofcom’s Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report 2018.

We are pleased to announce that on 26 February 2020, ‘The Two Johns’ will be leading our training event about the online world and how our children are being exploited. This training event will empower early years practitioners (in day nurseries, preschools, out of school clubs and childminders) to have a strong understanding of what online safety really means to us and the children we look after.

This informative training day will cover various issues including safe internet access, using apps and key safety features. They will also explore the influence of older children and how to manage social media, including professional and best practice for your setting. There will be the opportunity to ask questions around current online issues, as well as trouble shooting ideas with hints and tips.

‘The Two Johns’ have spent many years working as police detectives in various roles tackling online and offline child exploitation and are highly regarded as experts in their field. Every year they work in hundreds of primary and secondary schools interacting with children, teachers and parents.

To book your place, please complete the booking form . The course costs £67 per person (includes refreshments, please note is not lunch included, you will need to bring your own lunch).

10% Early bird discount (£60 per person) if we receive your booking on or before Wednesday 15 January 2020!

Revised SET Child Protection Procedures

ESCB logo

The revised Southend, Essex, Thurrock (SET) Child Protection Procedures were launched on 1 October 2019. This document lists the updated chapters and any impact on practice.

If you have any questions please email escb@essex.gov.uk or call 0333 013 8936.

Inspections trends from the new Ofsted framework


Feedback from a small selection of Ofsted reports for childminders and settings

The reports that have been published so far since the new Education Inspection Framework are set out in the following format:

  • Judgements (what the grades are)
  • What is it like to attend? (narrative across all judgements)
  • What the setting does well / needs to do better
  • Safeguarding
  • Improvement requirements / recommendations.

Setting details.The inspector completed a ‘learning walk’ with the setting manager/childminder. They explored how the setting organises provision and the rationale for curriculum. This included discussions about what and how children are being taught and what learning is taking place.

The inspector asked what is meant by ‘cultural capital’ (further article below).

The inspector asked to see certificates and training including safeguarding and First Aid. Discussions took place around qualifications, supervision meetings, staff training and CPD.

A full discussion took place with the key person about an individual child’s current development and their next steps. The children were chosen by the inspector. There is less focus on paperwork. The inspector completed an observation of practitioner’s interactions with children.

There is a strong focus on communication and language skills including reading stories and singing songs. Policies and procedures were viewed. All practitioners were asked about safeguarding procedures, Prevent duty and British values; including what these mean in every day practice.

Partnership working was also a key focus, the inspector spoke to and looked at references from parents. There were discussions around shared care and transition and the two year old progress check.

Update on cultural capital

In the July issue of the EYFS Practitioner Newsletter we published an article introducing cultural capital.

We would also like to share with you a webpage about cultural capital on eyalliance.org.uk for your information.

Over the next month we will be updating the early years and childcare website with guidance around cultural capital.

Essex Teaching Awards nominations open until 3 November 2019

eta logo

Nominations are still open for the 2020 Essex Teaching Awards, which aim to shine a spotlight on the education colleagues making a real difference to the live pupils across the county.

Visit the Essex Teaching Awards web-page for more details and to make a nomination before the deadline on   3 November 2019.

You can also follow @EssexTeachAward on Twitter for the latest news.

Effective interaction in the early years training

child and key person

This term, we are pleased to offer a new course for early years and childcare practitioners working in preschools, nurseries, nursery classes in schools and childminders which looks at how you interact with children.

The training will take place on:

  • Saturday 16 November 2019 at Greenacres, Chelmsford 9.30-12.30
  • Tuesday 19 November 2019 at Woodlands, Colchester 9.30-12.30.

You will explore the importance of communication skills and how to tune into the needs of young children. You can share ideas around adapting your environment as well as the tools that can support you to do this.

To find out more, check prices and to book your place please open the booking form.

A new support programme for parents


In Essex we believe that family stability is the key to delivering the best outcomes for children, and that good parental relationships (whether together or not) are at the heart of that stability.

Arguments and conflict between parents occur for several reasons and when they are managed and resolved there are few, if any, lasting effects on the relationship or on children. However, where arguments are frequent, intense and poorly resolved, children can be affected in many ways.

In July 2019, the ‘Parenting Together’ programme was launched for parents living in Essex. The programme can support parents where;

  • conflict exists, ranging from low warmth, not communicating or ignoring each other to more heated verbal exchanges and arguments
  • conflict is causing stress for the parent and affecting their child.

Any professional working with the family can refer into the programme.

For further information or to make a referral you can visit the website or email parentingtogether@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Music and rhyme competition winner!


To celebrate our new 'music and rhyme' training, we held a competition to hear about how you create the wow factor through music and rhymes in your setting.

The winner is Little Newts in Ashingdon!

Suzanne from the setting said "We adore music and rhyme in our early years daily curriculum as it engages every child in some way that we have ever cared for! It enables us to reach across many areas of the curriculum too!

Our wow idea we’d like to share (we have lots) is that little children can suffer from anxiety as much as an adult can - we find music can help an anxious child to calm down and transition much more happily. By transition we don’t just mean when they are new but also between activities. So we are adding songs / making up songs for any daily transition that can cause a young child stress / upset. For example:

  • We sing a ‘good night song’ for nap time and play sleepy music during nap times
  • We sing a tidy up song
  • We sing a snack time song
  • We sing a welcome song daily
  • We sing a song about how we feel today.

We love sending a Whatsapp video home of the children singing a new song so the parents can encourage the new language by singing it at home too (with permissions)."

Little Newts have won one free space at our upcoming training. If you didn't win the competition and would like to attend the training, you can book your space by completing the booking form.

Training opportunities

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 new booking system is live.

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
Effective interaction in the early years training 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
eSafety in the early years training event Danbury Outdoors 26 February 2020
Early years mental health – the role of the early years practitioner County Hall, Chelmsford 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.

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.