Newsletter 278 (Changes to the early years inspection handbook; Ofsted early years FAQs; support for childcare and the early years inquiry; reminder - changes to inspection complaints consultation; new vodcast - implementing evidence-informed practice in early years; safeguarding training - domestic abuse; online early years courses)

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.

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

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Wednesday 9 August 2023

Newsletter 278 (Changes to the early years inspection handbook; Ofsted early years FAQs; support for childcare and the early years inquiry; reminder - changes to inspection complaints consultation; new vodcast - implementing evidence-informed practice in early years; safeguarding training - domestic abuse; online early years courses)

Changes to the early years inspection handbook

On 14 July 2023 Ofsted published updates to the early years inspection handbook, effective from September 2023. In this update, Ofsted have amended and added information on the inspection process, including:

  • expectations for conduct during inspections,
  • how they judge safeguarding, including a definition of an open and positive culture of safeguarding,
  • what inspectors should consider when deciding if a provider has the capacity to improve,
  • who the inspection outcome may be shared with,
  • the link between the provider’s curriculum and the behaviours and attitudes of the children at the setting,
  • who can be present during meetings that take place on inspection, and
  • an amendment in the quality of education judgement to refer to how practitioners and leaders use assessment to plan suitable activities.

You can read the full list of current and historic changes on the 'Summary of changes' webpage.

Ofsted early years FAQs

Ofsted has published a new set of videos covering a range of questions about inspections, including paperwork, the learning walk and inspection notifications. You can watch all three newly published videos on Ofsted's Youtube channel.

Support for childcare and the early years inquiry

The Education Committee of the House of Commons has released a report publishing findings from its inquiry into government support for childcare and the early years. The report was published on 26 July 2023.

Key recommendations include:

  • The Department for Education should work closely and consistently with childcare providers and local authorities from across the country to set funding rates at a sufficient level.
  • The government should work closely with local authorities to identify areas where childcare provision is insufficient with a view to increasing provision in these areas.
  • HM Treasury should grant all early years providers an exemption from business rates. Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) settings should also be zero-rated for VAT.
  • The majority of respondents to the inquiry were opposed to the change in ratios for two-year-olds; the committee therefore recommended that this reform be closely monitored and reversed if quality and educational outcomes suffer.

The government generally provides a response within two months of a select committee report. We will share any further information once it has been published.

Reminder - Changes to Ofsted’s post-inspection arrangements and complaints handling consultation  

We wanted to remind you of the Ofsted consultation previously mentioned in our weekly newsletter #270. The consultation proposes changes to Ofsted's inspection complaints system. The consultation document, which includes a list of the proposed changes, is available here.

The deadline for the consultation is Friday 15 September 2023 and you can respond to the consultation via the online survey.

New vodcast - Implementing evidence-informed practice in early years – communication and language

How can you use evidence-informed practice to support children’s language and communication development?

The latest Foundation Years vodcast features the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and two practitioners from the Ideal Federation in Plymouth. The vodcast focuses on how you can use EEF tools to support your work with young children. They also discuss 12 questions and answers to help stimulate your own reflection and discussion.

Specialist Speech and Language Teacher, Caroline, says “Don’t be afraid of the evidence. The EEF videos are so accessible and such a good starting point.”

You can watch the vodcast on Hempsalls Youtube channel.  

Domestic Abuse Awareness training (webinar)

This webinar covers basic Domestic Abuse Awareness and is aimed at anyone working with children, young people, adults and families who may be experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.

The aim of this course is to provide you with a thorough understanding of the prevalence, nature and effects of domestic abuse. It also aims to increase your confidence in identification, risk assessment and safety planning. You will learn about the barriers people may experience when accessing support and increase your knowledge on where additional support and information can be accessed, nationally and in West Sussex. This is delivered as an interactive webinar, where you will be part of a group with direct access to a trainer who will be leading the session. Face to face sessions will be made available at a later date. This course is free to attend.

  • Wednesday 13 September - 9.30am to 1.00pm

The key word for this course is "domestic" and you can book through the Learning and Development Gateway.

Online early years courses

There are a number of online courses available on the Learning and Development Gateway. They are suitable for all practitioners working with children aged 0 to 2 years. The aim of these online courses are to support learners to understand the key features of an effective, high quality learning environment for 0 to 2 year olds.

Developing High Quality Learning Environments for Two year olds

  • Tuesday 26 September - 9.30am to 12.30 pm - course costs £27 per place  

Discovering Maths - Every day and everywhere

  • Wednesday 8 November - 9.30am to 3pm - course costs £54 per place  

Best for Babies

  • Tuesday 21 November - 9.30am to 3pm - course costs £54 per place  

Autism Awareness in the Early Years

  • Thursday 8 February 2024 - 9.30am to 12.30pm - course costs £54 per place  

You can book via the Learning and Development Gateway and locate each course by searching the course name.

Upcoming key dates

  • 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

  • #277 (New vodcast on the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP); customise your early years child development training; reminder - working together to safeguard children consultation; early years training)
  • #276 (Safeguarding Focus: keeping your safeguarding knowledge up to date; new consultation - early years funding formula; early education toolkit to support refugee or migrant children; Top 50 SME Apprenticeship Employers 2023 - Beech Tree Childcare)
  • #275 (FE - Autumn Term estimate payments; final reminder - EYFS consultation; revised EYFS from September 2023; Virtual School - free support groups; summer oral health; paediatric first aid)                                                                  
  • #274 (Contingency fund calculations; consultation from UK Health Agency - education setting guidance pack; final reminder - starting school questionnaire consultation; reminder - childminder mentor programme; Ofsted blog; summer network presentations; SEND and inclusion newsletter)
  • #273 (neglect questionnaire; reminder - EYFS consultation; National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership; supporting children's mental health and well-being in the early years; early years and childcare online courses; portable appliance testing)