In case you missed it! Early Years Foundation Stage Practitioner newsletter - issue 25

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Welcome to the 25th issue of the EYFS Practitioner newsletter.

Email to tell us what you want to see in this newsletter.

DofE graphic

From September 2021, all early years providers must follow the new early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework

The key aims of the reforms are to:

  • Improve child outcomes at age five, particularly in early language and literacy, especially for disadvantaged children; and
  • Reduce workload, such as unnecessary paperwork, so that practitioners can spend more time interacting with the children in their care.

To support the implementation of the revised EYFS framework, the Department for Education has developed a new online service for private, voluntary and independent early years settings and childminders. This service provides resources, advice and support to help practitioners to understand the requirements for each area of learning and development and what these requirements mean in practice. The new service is now live on and can be accessed here – Prepare for changes to the early years foundation stage framework - GOV.UK (

We encourage you to use this online service to support your planning and implementation of the EYFS reforms from September 2021. 

Spaces available for the summer 2021 Early Years Safeguarding Forum


The next termly Safeguarding Forum from the ECC Education Safeguarding Team, led by Jo Barclay, Head of Education Safeguarding and Wellbeing, is on Tuesday 6 July 2021. The forum will cover key safeguarding updates and information for early years.

This free online forum gives you a choice of attending either the morning or evening session:

 •           9:30 – 11am for the day session

 •           6 – 7:30pm for the evening session.

The forum forum is for the Lead Practitioner for safeguarding, and we are offering one place per setting at each session. To book your place, please visit the Education Essex online booking system.

Please see our Safeguarding Briefings for more safeguarding updates, which are accessible using this link: Early years safeguarding forums and briefings (

Reminder! Portal updates now due (childcare sufficiency data)


Many providers submit information through the Early Years Provider Portal (self-update) and if you have an account you would have already received an email asking you to update your information for the summer 2021 term by 9 July 2021.

The information you supply will help us to understand the changing needs of the market, provide supporting evidence when seeking S106 financial contributions from developers towards expansion opportunities of current provision, and also enable us to signpost families to the services they need.

Should you need help with completing this task, which is a contractual requirement and linked to your funding, you can gain support from:

  • Accessing the step by step user guide for the portal 
  • Book onto our Drop in Session on 1 July 2021 to ask questions and see examples of how to update the portal. Please complete the booking form.

Good Beginnings parent workshop

Good Beginnings is a course for parents/carers of early years children (aged five or under), who have autism or social communication needs.

This is a 10 week course which runs every term, via weekly pre-recorded webinars for parent/carers to watch at home. Each webinar is followed by a weekly, live question and answer session, accessed via Microsoft Teams.

Please share this with parents you support and ask them to visit the Essex Local Offer website for more information.

EYFS Reforms – the learning and development requirements

children reading books

The seven areas of learning and development remain the same with the focus of the prime areas being a strong foundation for all later learning and development.

Knowing your children and considering their individual needs and interests through developing your curriculum and your key person approach remains vital.

There are lots of practical and useful resources to support you in this at Help for early years providers (

Play and quality interactions remain key. ‘Play is essential to children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by talking part in play that is guided by adults.’ (EYFS Statutory Framework 1.14)

It is what you do as practitioners through recognising each child’s uniqueness, establishing positive relationships, making the most of every interaction, and by creating a welcoming, stimulating environment that makes the difference to children in your care, enabling them all to thrive.

Contact your Early Years Education Partners if you would like further guidance.

The Local Schools Nature Grants Scheme

children playing outside

The Local Schools Nature Grants Scheme allows early years, infant, primary and secondary schools and settings in England, Scotland and Wales to apply for £500 worth of outdoor resources, and a two hour training session.

For more information, visit the website.

Certificate for SENCOs in Early Years (CERTSEY)(PVIs and Childminders)


Essex are working with Eastern Partnership UK (SEND) to deliver this DfE approved qualification which covers all aspects of the Early Years SENCO role and responsibilities specified nationally.

The course is designed to give participants confidence in how to achieve the very best practice and will result in a portfolio of work for your SENCO journey beyond the course. On successful completion participants will gain a Level Three Certificate for SENCOs in the Early Years and 13 Level Three credits from Gateway Qualifications.

Essex are currently offering an online and a blended version (two morning workshops) of the training. 

Registrations for the Autumn 2021 term run until 30 September 2021. The cost of the course is £175+VAT.

For more information visit the Early years and childcare website

Register here -

For any queries, email  

English as an additional language

child pointing at world

This training will support practitioners in early years settings to consider the importance of home languages, ideas on inclusive communication for families and the key principles of learning English as an additional language.

The training will take place virtually on 14 July 2021 and 22 September 2021.

For more information and to book your place visit the Education Essex online booking system.

Free Entitlement funding reminders

light bulb on post it note

The Free Entitlement Team have the following upates and reminders for you:

  • Financial reports should be downloaded each term. They should be reviewed to check all children were included in the headcount submission and the amount of EYPP and Social Deprivation funding received. The reports will also support financial records and decision making.
  • Temporary closures, all providers who are claiming FEEE should email if they have to close. A decision will then be made as to whether funding should be paid back for the period of time the setting was closed.
  • The Early Years Pupil Premium criteria has been updated.
  • The Free early education entitlement for three to four-year-olds guide for parents has been reviewed.
  • If your setting is not able to meet requests for childcare, please signpost families to the FIS childcare search website. For families with complex needs, parents can contact the CCDL for support.

Essex Safeguarding Children Board Online Safety

childs phone

As soon as children begin using technology, parents and carers need to be thinking about online risk and how to keep young children safe online. Parental controls, password restrictions, supervision and time limits are crucial, but it’s also really important to start some basic conversations about online safety and what to do if they see something they don’t like online.

By beginning conversations at an early age, and making it as normal as talking about road safety, children will grow up with a better understanding of how to navigate the online world safely and will feel enabled to have open and honest conversations with their care givers. The 2 Johns E-Safety Training have made a really information podcast aimed at parents of young children (also really useful for practitioners) and there’s also a short animation and the ESCB website has further information.

Essex Early Help Virtual Drop-Ins


As teams are spending less time together and dealing with the return of services, the Childrens Partnerships would like to extend their programme of support to partners working with children, young people and families.

These weekly drop-ins offers peer support, signposting for anonymised cases and help to answer general questions.

The weekly session will be facilitated by the Leads for Partnership Delivery who are supported by the following colleagues:

  • Managers and Practitioners from the Children and Families Hub
  • Team Around the Family Support Officers
  • Senior Attendance Specialists
  • Voluntary Sector Representatives from Youth Service, ECFWS and other local services
  • Health Liaison Officers
  • Family Solutions Workers

Please drop in as needed, everyone is welcome. The purpose is to support each other, discuss early help provision for children and families in Essex, signpost to support and answer general queries. Sessions are held as follows:

These drop-in sessions do not replace work undertaken by the Children & Families Hub as outlined in Effective Support for Children and Families in Essex

Me, You and Us, emotional dynamics in relationship

child looking at camera

Contribution from Cath Stephenson Therapeutic Teaching

On 10 June 2021, I was privileged to present the Early Years Mental Health Conference on the theme of the role of the key person in the often complex emotional dynamic in relationship with child and family.

We noted that paying attention to our own and others’ nervous systems is our first priority in every interaction. We recognised how co-regulation happens at this biological level and reminded ourselves about the conscious and unconscious behaviours that make co-regulation effective in developing the child’s self-regulation. We considered the new personal, social and emotional development early learning goals in this respect.

Working with the nervous system enables us to support the child at a biological level first (universal provision) thus providing a clearer idea of a child’s individual needs. One delegate said "I have gained a lot of new knowledge thank you, I loved the session and look forward to delivering a training to my setting in the future".

We included practical strategies that support psychological safety and self-regulation and an observation checklist linked to the nervous system.

In addition to the conference Cath facilitated for us, she also delivers the Early Years Mental Health training which looks at the role of the early years practitioner.

Schools Forum Early Years Subgroup

We have reconvened the Essex Schools Forum Early Years Subgroup. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum to discuss the issues facing the early years and childcare sector and gather in feedback to be shared with the Essex Schools Forum. To be a member of the group providers will need to have a FEEE contract.

Meetings will take place five times per year, and initially these will be undertaken virtually via Microsoft teams from 7 to 8:30pm with the next one planned for Thursday 10 June.

There are currently vacancies for the following childcare sectors and districts:

  • Childminder – Maldon and Tendring
  • Day Nursery – Castlepoint, Harlow, Rochford, Tendring and Uttlesford
  • Preschool – Basildon
  • Maintained School run Nursery – one representative for the County
  • Academy School run Nursery – one representative for the County
  • Independent School – one representative for the County

If interested in being part of the group please email for the Terms of Reference.

Online training opportunities

You can view the online training opportunities available to the early years workforce on the Training Programme page.


Post it note

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