Setting update 271 (Free entitlement autumn term estimates open; 30 hour codes summer autumn deadline; childminder networks; reminder to submit - termly childcare provider update form; Screen in the early years - digital devices and online safety webinar; starting school questionnaire consultation; updated government guidance; transitions to school - transition summary template; retention of staf)

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 21 June 2023

Setting update 271 (Free entitlement autumn term estimates open; 30 hour codes autumn deadline; childminder networks; reminder to submit - termly childcare provider update form; Screens in the early years - digital devices and online safety webinar; starting school questionnaire consultation; updated government guidance; transitions to school - transition summary template; retention of staff; Childminder Mentor Programme; Fawcett Society - Equal Play campaign)

Free Entitlement Autumn Term Estimates Now Open

The Online Provider Portal is open for you to submit your Autumn Term estimates for Free Entitlement for 2, 3 and 4 Year Olds:

Key dates:

  • Headcount Day for Autumn term is 21 September 2023.
  • The deadline for estimate submissions is 7 July 2023.
  • Payments are scheduled to be received by providers week commencing 17 July 2023.

Please view guidance available on our website for support. If you require further assistance, in the first instance please email or phone the Family Information Service on 01243 777807.  

30 Hour Codes - Autumn Term Deadline In order for children to access an Extended Free Entitlement place in the Autumn Term, please advise eligible parents to:

The online eligibility checker is always available for you to check if a child’s 30 hour code is valid for the upcoming term. Remember, a green tick does not automatically mean they are eligible, you also need to check the dates. If, after viewing the guidance available on our website you have any questions, please email In order for us to deal with your query effectively, please ensure that you include the following details in your email:

  • Child's Name
  • Child's Date of Birth
  • 30 hours code
  • Parent's Name
  • Parent's National Insurance number

Please remember, parents must apply/reconfirm their eligibility by the above deadline in order for their code to be valid for Autumn term.  

Childminder Networks (Online)  

The Childminder Network meetings are now live and available to book. This is an opportunity to meet with other childminders to discuss practice, share ideas and receive up-to-date information about national and local developments that may affect you. These networks will be hosted online and are free to attend.  

  • Saturday 24 June - 9.30am to 11.00am
  • Wednesday 28 June - 7.00pm to 8.30pm

To book please log onto the Learning and Development Gateway here and search for the keywords 'Childminder' or 'Networks'. For guidance on how to access the Gateway please see the attached guide.

Termly Childcare Provider Update Form – Reminder to Submit

Please submit a provider update form on the Online Provider Portal for this term.

Important reasons for submitting termly updates:

  • When new businesses or housing developments are proposed in your local area, we use your provider and vacancy information to help identify if new early years provision is required. New settings may open unnecessarily if your information is out of date and wrong.
  • Your information helps families find suitable childcare for their children across the county.
  • Free advertisement on our website which receives, on average, just under 10,000 hits a month.

How your updates benefit families:

  • Families call us for help to find childcare that meets their individual needs.
  • One of the biggest complaints the Family Information Service receives from parents is that setting vacancy information is wrong. It wastes their time and is frustrating for parents when searching for childcare. Our information is only as good as the information you can give us.
  • They use our website to find childcare. The details you provide help them to make informed decisions on which providers to contact.

You should provide updates at least termly:

  • Update, even if you are full. Updating is about more than just free advertising. Out of date information can directly affect your business.
  • If you have not updated your details in the last year we will remove you from our public list. This is to prevent a breach to our data protection policy, which you agree to when submitting your profile update.

The Early Education and Childcare statutory guidance (June 2018) requires local authorities to publish setting information which is updated at least once a term.  

Early Years Alliance Training - Screens in the early years (webinar)  

The Early Years Alliance are hosting an event to discuss the steps that early years practitioners can take to keep children safe when using devices in settings and beyond. Recent research from Ofcom has shown that children are accessing devices and going online for more time, and from a younger age. Therefore, it is important for practitioners to understand the basic principles that keep children safe when using devices in your setting and at home.  

  • Wednesday 28 June - 6.30pm to 7.30pm  

This event is free to attend. You can find out more and book your place here.

Starting School Questionnaire Consultation  

As part of our support to children moving from pre-school settings to school, West Sussex have previously distributed the "Starting School questionnaire". Due to changes in recent years, results of the questionnaire are now only shared with the Healthy Child Programme for children not attending a West Sussex early years setting. If a child does attend a West Sussex setting, the questionnaire response only goes to the setting that the child attends.

To inform our decision as to whether or not to continue with the online questionnaire, we are consulting with providers to understand if the questionnaire supports them in meeting the needs of children. We also want to understand if the questionnaire helps providers prepare children for school or not.

The consultation closes on 21 July 2023 and can be found here. We greatly appreciate your feedback and we hope to hear from as many providers as possible.

Updated Government Guidance

The following webpages have recently been updated on GOV.UK:

Transitions to School - Transition Summary Template  

As we move towards the end of term, we want to highlight the transitions summary template that we recommend settings use to share information with schools children are moving to. As well as carrying out other transition activities, such as visits and supported or enhanced transitions, it is important to liaise with schools about how and when this additional information will be shared. We have developed this template as feedback from schools is that they value information being shared with them in a consistent format.

The summary template is different to the paperwork used for the Transition Events which gave a brief overview of each child. It is designed to give more detail to schools, so they have all the information they need to support each child. The information shared in this template should include the child's progress in each area of learning and information about any current or previous support provided to the child or family. Sharing this information will provide a protective factor as children move to a new setting.

Please make sure that the evidence you share is factual. If information has been shared with you but you have not seen evidence, such as evidence from a professional of a reported medical condition, then please make this clear. For more information, please read the early years universal transition guidance.

Retention of Staff  

With recruitment and retention of staff being a key issue in the sector, it is important that you consider a plan to ensure you can remain open if there are any changes to your staff team. We want to prevent restricting numbers as much as possible to ensure continuity of care to children and families. However, we fully understand this can be extremely difficult considering the current recruitment crisis.

It goes without saying that your staff team is a key asset in running a successful childcare setting, so considering the following points in this useful guide may help you in maintaining a consistent staff team.

Despite having great staff support in place, staff may still leave for reasons which may or may not be linked to the working conditions at your setting. If the outcome of any staff leaving means you need to reduce numbers in the setting, you must ensure you have a clear policy to identify how you will prioritise children in these circumstances. You must make parents aware of this and ensure is it included in your relevant policies and procedures.

Childminder Mentor Programme

In Broadcast #270 we let you know about the Childminder Mentor Programme and how to apply for the Autumn term. We can now share this useful leaflet that will provide you with further information on the programme.

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 31 July 2023.  

The Fawcett Society - Equal Play Campaign  

The Fawcett Society have recently launched an important new campaign to tackle gender stereotypes in the early years. The Equal Play campaign, aims to share small, practical ways to challenge stereotypes in our interactions with children. Research shows gender norms and stereotypes in childhood limit outcomes later on in life, resulting in fewer girls taking up science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and contributing towards the mental health crisis among children and young people.

Sign up here to be the first to hear from Equal Play and join their movement to close the gender play gap.

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

  • #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)
  • #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)