Setting update 270 (Early Years Covid-19 Recovery Programme - autumn 2023; EYFS consultation - new supportive document; Free Entitlement funding rates 2023/24; New Post-Headcount/Exceptional Payment request form available; new consultation - changes to inspection complaints system; scam alert; hot weather advice and guidance; new oral health guidance; early years training)

Early Years and Childcare broadcast

The West Sussex approach puts the child first. We work with children, families, communities, our partners and schools in a restorative, strength based way. Strong relationships are at the heart of what we do.

Broadcast for Early Years and childcare providers in West Sussex from West Sussex County Council

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Wednesday 14 June 2023

Setting update 270 (Early Years Covid-19 Recovery Programme - autumn 2023; EYFS consultation - new supportive document; Free Entitlement funding rates 2023/24; New Post-Headcount/Exceptional Payment request form available; new consultation - changes to inspection complaints system; scam alert; hot weather advice and guidance; new oral health guidance; early years training)

Early Years Covid-19 Recovery Programme - Autumn 2023

The Early Years Experts and Mentors Programme provides bespoke support, face-to-face and virtually, to help meet individual settings’ needs and priorities. The support provided will include:

  • leadership support,
  • coaching for leaders,
  • mentoring for practitioners, and
  • whole-setting support.

Further information on the programme can be found on the Pen Green website and a recorded presentation is available from the Department of Education.

If you are interested in taking part in the programme, please email your local setting support inbox or you can self-refer using this form. Requests for the Autumn term must be submitted by Friday 23 June 2023

The Childminder Mentor Programme is focused on supporting childminders to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the youngest and most disadvantaged children. To find out more, please see Hempsall's website.  

Childminders can request support as an individual or as a group of up to four childminders. If you are interested in taking part in the programme, please email your local setting support inbox or you can self-refer using this form.  Requests for the Autumn term must be submitted by Monday 31 July 2023.  

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) consultation - new supportive document  

As mentioned in Broadcast #269 the Department for Education(DfE) has launched a consultation on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). It is their intention that these changes will support settings to deliver the new entitlements announced at the Spring Budget and alleviate known burdens.

The DfE has released consultation guidance that features a useful table of the current EYFS guidance and proposed changes. We advise all settings read this document carefully as this will support you in understanding the full scope of suggested changes to the EYFS. You can read the full document here.

The deadline for the consultation is 26 July 2023 and you can respond to the consultation via the Citizen Space platform. If you have any further questions please email

Free Entitlement Funding Rates Explained 2023/24

Please find a short video explaining how the funding rates for 2023/2024 were calculated in West Sussex, and the guidance we must follow. These revised rates commenced from the start of this Summer term 2023.

As you are aware, we are expecting the Department for Education to announce additional funding allocations to uplift the existing entitlements from September 2023 to support the expansion in childcare offer. Once published, proposals will be submitted to Schools Forum for review and once approved, the revised rates will be published and commence from the start of Autumn term 2023. We will keep you updated via these weekly broadcasts.

Reminder - New Post-Headcount/Exceptional Payment request form available

As Summer term Headcount Day has now passed, further to information in Broadcast #259, this is a reminder that our new Post Headcount/Exceptional Payment Request form can be found on our webpage (please go to section "5. Children requesting a place after headcount"). You do not need to set up an account to access and complete the form. 

For Summer 2023 term and onwards, the new form will be the only way to request a Post-Headcount and/or Exceptional Payment. Please delete any old copies of the form you may have stored, as we will no longer be able to accept these.

New Consultation - Changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection arrangements and complaints handling

Ofsted has launched a formal consultation on significant changes to the inspection complaints system. The changes would apply to all education settings, including early years providers. This consultation opened on Tuesday 12 June and will run until Friday 15 September 2023. The consultation aims to:  

  • enhance on-site professional dialogue during inspections to help address any issues before the end of the inspection visit,
  • introduce a new opportunity for providers to contact Ofsted the day after an inspection if they have any unresolved concerns,
  • introduce new arrangements for finalising reports and considering formal challenges to inspection outcomes,
  • replace Ofsted's current internal review process with a direct escalation to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted (ICASO), and
  • add a new periodic review of closed complaints, using external representatives from the sectors they inspect.

The consultation document, which includes a list of the proposed changes, is available here. You can respond to the consultation here.

Scam Alert - Childcare agency Education Dreams Limited

We have been made aware of a scam that some settings in other parts of the country have experienced. We wanted to alert you to avoid other settings falling victim to this, or a similar, scam. A setting recently paid the agency 'Education Dreams Limited' £1440 up front for a temporary member of staff. Unfortunately the practitioner never arrived. The setting then searched for the company on the internet and found that other settings have fallen victim to the same scam.

You may be contacted directly by this company through phishing emails or phone calls. We advise you make all staff members aware of potentially fraudulent businesses such as this. We want to remind settings that you must carry out careful checks when using agencies to recruit temporary or permanent staff. You must ensure that the agency is a legitimate business and is supplying appropriately trained and vetted staff to work in an early years setting.

If you have fallen victim to this scam or receive any contact from this company you can report them via Action Fraud and get further guidance from Citizens Advice. As this company is currently on the Companies House register you can also use the governments company complaint guidance.  

Hot Weather Advice

As we are experiencing warmer weather we wanted to give a quick reminder of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advice and guidance.

Additional guidance and resources are available here:

New oral Health Guidance for Early Years Practitioners  

Nearly a quarter of 5 year olds in England have tooth decay but this is largely preventable. Tooth decay causes pain and discomfort, which can result in problems eating, sleeping, socialising and attending school. New oral health guidance from the Department for Education is now available to help settings promote oral health as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The guidance: 

  • explains the importance of good oral health for early years children,
  • helps practitioners to meet the oral health requirement in the EYFS statutory framework,
  • includes practical tips and activities to use in early years settings, and
  • links to further reading and resources.  

For more guidance on supporting children in the early years, visit the Help for Early Years Providers website.  

Early Years Training  

Sound and Secure - Essential early phonics for 3 and 4 year olds (Webinar) aims to promote an understanding of effective teaching of Phase one of the Letters and Sounds programme. You will explore and embed the principles and practices which underpin phonological development. This course costs £54 per place. To book search for the key word 'phonics'.  

  • Thursday 22 June - 9.30am to 3.30pm

Roll out the role play (Webinar) explores best practice regarding role-play, both indoors and out. You will develop an awareness of unconscious bias and the need to identify and challenge various stereotypes through meaningful, respectful and fun role play. This course costs £27 per place. To book search for the key word 'role'.  

  • Thursday 29 June - 9.30am to 12.30pm  

Domestic Abuse - Impact on Children (Webinar) is aimed at anyone working with children, young people and families, who may be experiencing domestic abuse. The aim of this webinar is to support you in raising your awareness of the impact that domestic abuse can have on children and the potential long-term impact on their future outcomes. You will learn about working directly with children and supporting parents who have experienced domestic abuse. The course will also explore tools and specialist resources for children, young people and their families who are affected by domestic abuse. This course is free to attend. To book search for the key word 'domestic'.

  • Tuesday 18 July - 9.30am to 2.30pm

To book any of the above courses please log on to the Learning and Development Gateway and search for the course using the corresponding key word. If you have not accessed the Gateway since it changed in March 2023, you may need to reset your password or create a new account. If you experience any issues, please email and we will book you a place.

Upcoming key dates

  • 21 Jun - Portal opens for Autumn term Estimates
  • 07 Jul - Portal closes for Autumn Estimates
  • W/C 17 Jul - Autumn term estimates payments due
  • 31 Aug - Summer term Sufficiency deadline (all providers)
  • 04 Sep - Portal opens for Autumn term Actuals
  • 29 Sep - Portal closes for Autumn term Actuals
  • W/C 23 Oct - Autumn term Actuals payments due

Information, guidance and support

To allow our Early Years and Childcare Advisors to focus their support to where it is most needed, we ask that you check for information online before you contact us.

COVID-19 guidance

Other information and guidance (WSCC)

For help to access information

To request additional support for your setting

What to do if your setting needs to close

Please inform the Family Information Service if your setting needs to close or is re-opening. Email and include your setting name, Ofsted URN, the date you intend to close/open, and any changes to your operating hours. If you inform us of re-opening, you will be reinstated on the public list and appear on our website

If closing due to COVID-19, please consult the guidance to check when to inform Ofsted.

In the event of your setting having a confirmed COVID-19 case, if Public Health or the Department for Education have stated you must close for any period of time you must inform the Family Information Service. However, if Public Heath have not explicitly stated in correspondence to you that the setting must close, we would expect you to make contact with your Early Years and Childcare Adviser (EYCA) to talk through your circumstances, where possible, before making the decision to close the setting. If you are not able to make immediate contact with your EYCA then please email your nearest Early Help Hub using the following email addresses:

Where there are not clearly evidenced reasons why the setting had no option to close, there could be implications for funding received as per the government guidance. 

Links to our most recent setting updates

  • #269 (Free entitlement summer term headcount payments; early years foundation stage profile information and guidance; EYFS regulatory changes consultation; Ofsted code of conduct; early years training; the Summer Reading Challenge)
  • #268 (Safeguarding focus: updated safeguarding letter for parents; Adverse Childhood Experiences - free online learning; Learning and Development Gateway help guides; A Better Start webinar; National Week of Play; new training module - supporting physical development; food safety and sensory food education webinar)
  • #267 (Ofsted blog - child ratios; updated government guidance; immunisations campaign; EYFS networks; West Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership professional zone; NSPCC - infant case reviews)       
  • #266 (Spring budget announcements and future planning; reducing parental conflict - new resources; Education and Learning strategy 2023 to 2025; safeguarding training - domestic abuse; SEND and inclusion newsletter; National Numeracy Day)
  • #265 (Reminder - new post headcount/exceptional payment form; FE administration fees and deposits; childminder grants scheme update; transition events; A Better Start research and articles; new Booktrust resource; National Week of Play 2023; infant mental health webinars)