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:
September 4th, 2016 by Sarah Steel
So many parents will have children either starting or returning to school this week, so I’d like to share an excellent newsletter from parenting expert, Sue Atkins, in my blog this month. Do have a look, she has some great tips which make a lot of sense.
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.
April 15th, 2015 by Sarah Steel
This week has seen the launch of all parties’ election manifestos and it’s been interesting to see how high up the list childcare has come for the 3 main parties. Yesterday, the Tories probably gave us the biggest surprise when they pledged to double free sessions for 3 and 4 year olds to offer 30 hours per week for ‘working families’. However, the devil will be in the detail – the current offer is universal, so not linked to whether you work or not. Will any extension be the same, or will it somehow be ‘means tested’. Will the funding mess be sorted out, as the current system is completely unsustainable – any increase in under-funded hours will undoubtedly see nursery closures.
This press release from the NDNA outlines the very real risks to the sector. The usual maxim seems to apply in this instance – they’re all as bad as each other!
May 22nd, 2013 by Sarah Steel
I was a bit surprised at the flurry of comments on Twitter this morning, following an article in C&YPN magazine http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1077277/ndna-dfe-set-trial-ratios?WT.rss_f=News&WT.rss_a=NDNA+and+DfE+to+trial+early+years+ratios&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
which stated that the National Day Nurseries Association would be trialling maximum current ratios allowed under the EYFS. Many people interpreted this as a project to trial the lower ratios proposed in Liz Truss’s ‘More Great Childcare’ report from earlier this year, which has met with near universal condemnation. I have been outspoke
n about my concern around the proposals, so was relieved to read a more detailed response from Claire Schofield at NDNA, which explained that a small part of the funding which has just been announced was going to be used on a trial of maximum current ratios. At present in the EYFS there is allowance for ‘rising 3s’ to be included in a lower ratio group if the children’s needs are being met. There is also the allowance for 1 member of staff to 13 pre-schoolers, if that person has EYP status. We have not used this allowance in any of our settings to date, but I do know some nurseries use the higher allowance with an EYP. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the debate, there is no harm in carrying out a properly structured research project, which may highlight problems or potential benefits, but at least it will have been studied carefully.
Whilst many folk are off to check out the latest fashionable childcare model in Europe, we keep telling ministers and officials that they aren’t comparing apples with apples. At least a project in the UK, looking at UK nurseries, might provide some evidence which we know will be truly relevant to our settings. Surely this must be a good thing?