February 7th, 2017 by Sarah Steel
As a company, we recognise the enormous importance of ensuring that our staff are well trained to deal with emergencies. We are currently working with the NDNA to complete ‘Millie’s Mark’, which is a quality mark to recognise excellence in the provision of First Aid training to staff. At the moment our Filkins Nursery team are studying the requirements of the assessment process and are updating our policies and procedures, to share with all our nurseries, as well as getting all their staff fully trained in Paediatric First Aid.
Many parents ask about good First Aid training to raise their own awareness, and I recently found this website with some excellent advice on:
We will keep you up to date as our work towards Millie’s Mark progresses, but if you’d like to read a bit more about it, then click here:
February 1st, 2016 by Sarah Steel
The papers are full of stories of radicalism and terrorism on a daily basis and there have recently been articles regarding the failure of the authorities to prevent young children from being taken to Syria and becoming radicalised, as they pose in IS ‘uniforms’ and become part of the propaganda war. The Prevent Duty which was introduced to try and keep children and young people from being radicalised has taken some stick, with headlines about how we should be alert even with the youngest children.
Nurseries are now expected to explain to OFSTED inspectors how they are complying with the Prevent Duty, and this still causes some concern for practitioners. At a staff meeting last week we focussed on exactly what it means to us in early years and agreed that if we know our children, family and colleagues well and take time to listen, we are a long way to meeting our duty. We embrace a framework of tolerance and celebrating different cultures and since July 2015 the Early Years Foundation Stage has required us to promote British Values. This does not involve displaying pictures of the Royal Family (despite what some supplier catalogues would have us believe!) but does involve making decisions together, taking turns, being fair, respecting each other and understanding different cultures.
If any parents want to know more about how we promote British Values or how we fulfil our Prevent Duty, do ask your nursery manager or drop me a line. This article in Nursery World is also an interesting read. http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/opinion/1155379/nurseries-uniquely-placed-to-spot-radicalisation
November 26th, 2015 by Sarah Steel
The key points which have emerged from yesterday’s spending review so far look like this:
- The average rate for 3 and 4 year olds will be £4.88. The small print is yet to be clarified, but this figure included the Early Years Pupil Premium, for disadvantaged children, which DfE say is worth 5p within this calculation. Whilst this sounds positive as a headline figure, it seems likely that this figure will be what is paid to local authorities, not what will actually be paid to providers. DfE have said that the average ‘uplift’ is more likely to be 30p an hour – really not so impressive. There is no detail about the money being index linked, so bearing in mind it doesn’t even come into action until September 2017, costs will have risen significantly by then. The NMW is due to reach £9 per hour by 2015 – how will the funding rate increase to match this?
- The average rate for 2 year olds will be £5.39. Concerns are as for the 3 year old rate.
- The rates for 2, 3 and 4 year olds are for PVIs, childminders, primary schools and maintained nurseries. It will be interesting to see what guidance is given to local authorities about whether rates should be uniform across sectors or whether maintained settings will continue to be paid a higher rate.
- There will be a consultation in January around how local authorities pass on funding and contract with providers.
- DfE will be introducing a national funding formula for early years, schools and high needs from 2017-18.
- DfE will clarify what extras providers can charge for (e.g. food, extra activities) and will look at flexibilities, efficiencies and cutting red tape. This is very welcome as it causes considerable confusion for settings and parents alike.
- The new 30 hour childcare offer is going to be restricted to single/both parents who work 16 hours per week and earn up to £100k each. When the policy was launched in the summer, it had been promoted as applying to anyone working from 8 hours, so this reduces the number of children who are eligible.
- The new funding rates will not come in until September 2017.
As usual, the devil will be in the detail. The initial figures sound promising for early years, but until there is clarity on how local authorities will pass on the funding, we are not really much further on. I will be continuing to work with the National Day Nurseries Association to represent the concerns of PVI nurseries.
May 15th, 2015 by Sarah Steel
Well, the general election is finally over and we have a new all-Conservative government, who made the manifesto pledge to increase the number of funded hours for ‘working parents’ of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours per week. Childcare has already been mentioned in David Cameron’s outline plan for the next Queen’s Speech, so it seems likely that this will be high on the agenda of ‘family friendly’ policies and their drive to ‘make work pay’. The whole Early Years sector has been very nervous about the various pledges to extend the number of funded hours, as the system is currently totally unsustainable. Although the childcare minister, Sam Gyimah (staying in post in the new administration) said back last year that he thought there was ‘no problem’ with the funding system, David Cameron and Boris Johnson did announce in the last week of the election campaign that there would be a review of the funding for early years entitlement.
Sector representative, like the NDNA, will be campaigning hard to be involved in shaping any reform of the funding system, to ensure that nurseries do not continue to subsidise government policy and that a minimum rate per hour is guaranteed to providers. Do follow the debate and join the conversation – there is more information about the NDNA’s childcare challenge on their website www.ndna.org.uk.
April 20th, 2015 by Sarah Steel
There have been so many headlines over the last couple of weeks about what each political party is going to do for parents and children. The National Day Nurseries Association have done a great round up, so you can see what it might mean to you.