Newsletter 280 (Warning - Online Provider Portal downtime; Early Talk Boost programme from Kent Stronger Practice Hub; Foundation Years online event; East Sussex early years conference; early years safeguarding 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.

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

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Wednesday 23 August 2023

Newsletter 280 (Warning - Online Provider Portal downtime; Early Talk Boost programme from Kent Stronger Practice Hub; Foundation Years online event; East Sussex early years conference; early years safeguarding training)

Warning - Online Provider Portal downtime

Please be advised that the Online Provider Portal will be unavailable today and tomorrow (Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 August 2023) whilst we upgrade our technology. Please note that parents and carers will not be able to submit 2 year old Free Entitlement applications tomorrow, and our Family Information Service website will also be unavailable to the public.

Early Talk Boost programme from Kent Early Years Stronger Practice Hub  

The Kent Early Years Stronger Practice Hub (KEYSPH) is one of 18 hubs nationally. The hubs were set up as part of the Department for Education’s COVID-19 Recovery Programme. They aim to provide advice, share good practice, and offer evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners.

From the autumn term 2023, KEYSPH is offering the opportunity for five settings in each of the six local authority areas to participate in a funded Early Talk Boost (ETB) programme. These six local authorities are:

  • Medway,
  • East Sussex,
  • West Sussex,
  • Surrey,
  • Brighton and Hove, and
  • the Isle of Wight.

The ETB programme is a targeted intervention aimed at children aged 3 to 4 with delayed language development and aims to boost children's language skills to help narrow gaps. The ETB programme is delivered by Speech and Language UK and is fully funded. Settings participating will be required to:

  • identify at least two practitioners to receive five hours of training,
  • select up to eight children to take part in the intervention, using the ETB tracker,
  • run a workshop with parent/carers, 
  • run the ETB intervention with identified children, and
  • repeat the ETB tracker and upload results to the online scoring system (to support with analysis of the children’s progress).

The training will be delivered over one full day or two half days and participants will be provided with an ETB pack, which includes:

  • an intervention manual with session plans and resources,
  • a tool bag of toys/resources,
  • ten book sets containing eight specifically written books for the intervention, and
  • a paper version of the ETB tracker.

To find out more about ETB visit the Speech and Language UK website. If you are interested in taking part in this programme, please sign up via the online form. Once you have signed up you will be invited to an information session on 18 September 2023. If you are interested in taking part but are not able to make the information session, please email

Foundation Years online event

The next online Foundation Years event is being held on Wednesday 13 September from 6pm to 8pm. This event will include:

  • an Early Years Foundation Stage profile update from the Department of Education,
  • keynote speakers from London Early Years Stronger Practice Hubs on the ShREC approach, and
  • a discussion, led by Ofsted, on the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021 reforms and reflection on the last two years.

This event is free to attend and can be booked via eventbrite.

East Sussex Early Years conference  

East Sussex are running an early years conference on 5 October 2023 at the Amex Stadium. They would like to open the invitation to settings and schools within West Sussex. For more information and booking instructions, please see the attached flyer. Booking closes on 21 September 2023.

  • Thursday 5 October - 8.30am to 4pm - Falmer BN1 9BL
  • East Sussex Early Years conference flyer

Early Years Safeguarding Training  

The Early Years Training team have developed a range of safeguarding courses that are easily accessible, with both face-to-face and virtual sessions available. These courses have been developed alongside the West Sussex Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership and the Early Years trainers. These courses are suitable for all early years professionals and are designed specifically for the early years sector.

These courses will support early years professionals to meet their statutory requirements and ensure they keep their safeguarding knowledge up to date. The available courses for the autumn term 2023 are as follows:

Safeguarding and Child Protection for Early Years and Childcare Practitioners - costs £27 per person.

  • Tuesday 26 September - 9.30am to 3.30pm - Online
  • Thursday 19 October - 9.30am to 3.30pm - Worthing BN13 1NP

Safeguarding and Child Protection in Early Years Refresher - costs £17 per person.

  • Wednesday 20 September - 9.30am to 12.30pm - Online
  • Tuesday 16 September - 1.30pm to 4.30pm - Chichester PO19 1RQ
  • Tuesday 31 October - 6.30pm to 9.30pm - Online
  • Tuesday 21 November - 9.30am to 12.30pm - Crawley RH11 9BA
  • Friday 1 December - 9.30am to 12.30pm - Online

Safeguarding and Child Protection for the Designated Person in Early Years Settings - costs £17 per person.

  • Tuesday 26 September - 9.30am to 12.30pm - Chichester PO19 1RQ
  • Tuesday 17 October - 6.30pm to 9.30pm - Online
  • Thursday 16 November - 9.30am to 12.30pm - Online
  • Tuesday 21 November - 1.30pm to 4.30pm - Crawley RH11 9BA

Safeguarding and Child Protection Designated Refresher Training for Childminders - this course is for childminders only and costs £17 per person.

  • Saturday 2 December - 9.30am to 12.30pm - Online

To book, log on to the Learning and Development Gateway, search for the key word ‘Safeguarding‘ and then select the course you require using the corresponding course name above. If you experience any issues when booking a course, please email

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

  • #279 (Advanced warning of downtime; reminder - early years funding consultation; early years training)
  • #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)
  • #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)