Early Years Bulletin 30.05.2018

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Early Years Bulletin

30 May 2018

Ofsted updates


The Early Years and Childcare leadership team met with Ofsted Regional HMI and Regulatory Inspectors earlier this month as part of our ongoing partnership working with Ofsted.

The inspectors praised Portsmouth early years providers on the high level of good and outstanding provision across the city and recognised the support and training offered by the Early Years and Childcare Service. In the last 12 months, 33 providers have been inspected in the city and 28 of these were good or outstanding!

Ofsted provided some very useful updates that we want to share with you:

Agency staff and suitability

When recruiting agency staff, Ofsted have found that some settings are assuming the staff have been checked for suitability to work with children by the agency. However, inspectors have found that in some instances, agency staff have been disqualified by association and have not disclosed this information. 

EYFS 3.11 states, "Providers must tell staff that they are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders, reprimands and warnings that may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received before or during their employment at the setting)…"

The inspectors advised that all staff (employed and agency) must be clear on this expectation and that managers should have this conversation on a regular basis and record the outcome as evidence. If a member of staff does not disclose anything that affects their suitability to work with children, Ofsted reassured us that as long as the provider had done all they could and could evidence this through clear records, the provider would not be at fault. If you become aware that a member of staff or an agency worker is unsuitable to work with children, this must be reported to Ofsted (EYFS 3.16-3.18).


Ofsted Themes and Priorities

The inspectors identified three themes which they are focussing on during inspections as a result of inconsistencies found across the country:

  • How providers record meaningful starting points, share these with parents, and can evidence the progress children make
  • How managers monitor and develop the quality of teaching
  • How providers make use of data for particular groups of children, e.g. if your assessment data shows that boys are not progressing in line with girls in PSED, what is being done about this, etc.

Look out for the new Training and Development Programme which has new workshops around using data and evidencing progress. If you would like any input in the meantime, please email eydelivery@portsmouthcc.gov.uk and we will be happy to speak to you about your setting's requirements.

Updated Inspection Framework

A new inspection framework will be in place from September 2019 (a draft version will be available next year) - further details to follow.

Ofsted on Facebook

Ofsted have a Childcare Facebook Page which is a really useful place for updates and top tips for inspection.

Like Ofsted's Childcare Facebook page  

Positive Feedback - working with FIS and Childminders




The Family Information Service (www.portsmouth.gov.uk/fis and www.facebook.com/portsmouthfis) is a valuable resource in the city. Many families approach the service online, through Facebook and in person at the Family Hubs for support on returning to work, accessing benefits, and finding childcare, as well as many other aspects of family life. We work in partnership with many agencies within the council and local childcare providers to find solutions for families, and I wanted to share this feedback with you all from a family recently supported.


"Around a month back, my husband and I realised that we needed help with taking care of our children - picking them up from school, taking care of them until we could pick them up - when I am out travelling on my work. Without this help, things were getting very difficult for my family. I reached out to the council, and they provided me with Mohammed Islam's (FIS) contact details. He was very helpful - keeping in touch with me via email and phone, trying to find childminders who I could work with. He guided me to the Portsmouth Find a Childminder Facebook group, where I have finally connected with a childminder. She has been great with my kids these past few weeks, and we have seen how smooth the transition has been for my children.


Thank you for the wonderful service you provide, and thank you for the wonderful team you have put together - always responsive, polite and helpful!"

A FREE Staff Cost Calculator is now live on the Early Years Business Zone

The Staff Cost Calculator, created by Foundations, will help you with:

  • Calculating staff ratios
  • Exploring different staffing possibilities
  • Generating your occupancy rates.

You can also access a free Financial Management Tool, Business Appraisal Tool and suite of downloadable business resources on the Early Years Business Zone.

Login and access the tools here 


Transfer Record

The Transfer Record will be available after half term, so that you can complete as close to point of transfer as possible and send to the receiving school by Friday 13 July. Please ensure you have parental consent to complete the record and that parents understand what the record is for and how the Year R Teachers will use the information.


We will notify all settings through a bulletin email when the Transfer Record is published and provide a link for you to access the record.

Early Years Engineer

STEM for Reception & Early Years


Course confirmation and registration form now available!

  • Date: Tuesday 2 October 2018
  • Time: 9.00am - 3.30pm
  • Venue: The Portsmouth Academy, St Mary's Road
  • Cost: £45 per delegate (subsidised by the Local Authority)

This course for reception and early years practitioners will introduce inquiry based learning through a series of practical projects in order to encourage early years pupils to become STEM investigators.

It will enable early years practitioners to support children in exploring a range of key STEM concepts at an early age. Teachers will cover three practical activities throughout the day and see these through the eyes of their children. The course will provide examples that can be easily developed in the school and use low cost readily available materials. Teachers will share their pedagogical approaches, skills and experiences.

This course will give teachers a range of activities that can be integrated into the curriculum. Learn how to apply simple experiments in STEM subjects to real life projects. Teachers will take away working models and have access to online classroom teaching resources.


Download the confirmation and registration form here



Visit the website

Early Years and Childcare Team


New member of staff

We would like to welcome Cat Gardner to our team. 

Cat joins the Business Support Team, supporting Tara Sutton's role in Workforce Development. Cat's working days will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.








A day in the life of an Early Education Funding Co-ordinator: Tracy Robinson

I joined the Local Authority in 2009 to develop the Two Year Old Funding programme, however, over the years my role has developed in line with the various new funding streams and now encompasses all Early Education Funding.


My three working days a week are full, varied and very rarely follow the same pattern. There are a team of people supporting delivery of the two, three and four year old funding and at the start of each week I try to catch up with them to explore any outstanding queries or issues.


As with any new initiative, the 30 hours funding has been interesting and a large part of my role recently has been to update processes and systems to support the delivery of this, especially managing parent's queries and expectations. This is an ongoing process and we are always looking at ways to improve communications with providers and parents.


It is important to me that I continue to consider the 'big picture' and look at innovative ways to embed Early Education Funding into other areas of work. For example, I work closely with colleagues in the authority who are supporting parents returning to work to understand what help may be available with their childcare costs. I also attend regular national events so that I can share these messages locally.


Another part of my role that I feel passionate about is how to identify communities with low take-up of Early Education – particularly for disadvantaged children – and provide bespoke support to improve this. The two outreach officers, Alison and Tracey regularly support parents to apply and access funding at providers, and increasingly offer this outreach support to parents of children with SEND. I am in contact with colleagues within the wider teams, such as Portage, Health Visitors, Family Nurses and the Family Information Service to make sure that messages about Early Education are regularly updated and shared.


I enjoy catching up with providers at the regular termly briefings and listening to your feedback on how things are going and hope to continue to see many more of you in the future. 

Big Hopes Big Future project

Suzy Gage is the Co-ordinator for Home-Start Portsmouth’s Big Hopes Big Future (BHBF) project. 

Big Hopes Big Future (BHBF) is a ‘school readiness’ programme (funded in Portsmouth for 3 years, until March 2020, by BBC Children in Need) which aims to support some of the most disadvantaged children prepare for the transition to school. Home-Start volunteers deliver this 12 week intervention, visiting families in their own home, once a week, for 1-2 hours.

Home-Start have 19 specifically trained BHBF volunteers. Since September 2017 they have supported a total of 27 families with children starting school in September 2018. They hope that with your help they will receive a steady flow of referrals for children who are due to start school in September 2019. Anyone can refer to the service; nurseries, childminders, health visitors, social workers etc. The deadline for referrals for children starting school this September is this Thursday 31 May so be sure to get the parents signature and scan or send it in to them quickly! They will accept referrals for children starting school in September 2019 from July onwards.

Please consider any children that you are working with who fit the criteria and could benefit from the intervention. Please contact Suzy on suzyg@hsportsmouth.org.uk or on 023 9273 4400 for further information on BHBF and a referral form. 

Completed referrals (with parental consent/signature) can be scanned and emailed to office@hsportsmouth.org.uk or sent to Home-Start Portsmouth, 17 Lake Road, Portsmouth PO1 4HA. 

Visit the Home-Start website

Contact us...


The Early Years and Childcare Service have a dedicated telephone number to be used if you need to speak to a member of the team.

The number is 023 9284 1974.

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