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FSF Newsletter April 2018

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In sunny Sussex it seems that Spring may have finally sprung. However, last term we seemed to  encounter every different kind of weather and many of us suffered 'snow days'. We are now expecting the 'African plume' which will bring a heatwave our way. The job of the manager or head teacher is always a difficult one and never more so than when the decision of whether to close a school due to inclement weather needs to be taken - whatever decision is made - it's always wrong!  Similarly, senior staff will now have to make tough decisions about when it is too hot to play outside. They can't win! Here at the FSF we understand how hard it is and helpful threads like this one about the recent 'Snow days' are a perfect example of how our members come together to support and advise one another in tricky situations.

Since our last newsletter there has been much to keep up with in the the world of EYFS.  Last week we heard that NFER had been awarded the contract for the Reception Baseline Assessment; this is despite the misgivings felt by much of the early years community. At the end of February, Ofsted announced that the online SEF was being scrapped. As a result, our members talked together about how they were going to present their self-evaluation in preparation for inspection.  The Family and Childcare Trust's report explained clearly the impact of government initiatives on the sector. More recently, the 'Stop Start report produced by Professor Kathy Sylva's team at the University of Oxford painted a bleak picture of what has happened to children's centres across England.  We work hard to keep you abreast of all the news headlines as they relate to early years, if you would like to be notified when a new news item is posted you can choose to 'follow' this forum page.

We have been busy at FSF HQ helping you steer your way through the requirements of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As well as providing explanations and thoughts in line with the ICO '12 steps to take now' guidelines we have produced resources to support you.  There are some extremely useful hints and tips from colleagues on the 'preparing for GDPR' threads.  

If you are a Tapestry user, you will have received our recent newsletter. In the last half term we have added a comments tool and an accident form feature to the Care Diary. The comments tool allows you to send messages between relatives and you can use the accident form to record any incidents throughout the day, as well as record parent’s signatures digitally! Alongside this, we have also added two new tracking screens; the Montessori Summative Assessment screen, which will allow you to track and manually override Montessori assessments and the Staff Observation Count screen which shows you how many observations staff have made on your account. You can find tutorials to help you use all these new features from our Tapestry tutorials page. If you think you might like to try Tapestry in your setting or school you can access a free, no obligation, trial from here

LA Scheme

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, which have renewed their LA subscription. Members from these authorities need do nothing; their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

For their 4th year – Rutland

For their 6th year – Central Bedfordshire

For their 8th year – Cornwall & West Sussex

And a special welcome back to Suffolk renewing for their 13th year

New Content

Our last newsletter was published in February. Since then we have commissioned several articles from well-respected members of the early years community. This half term we have worked in collaboration with national trauma expert Jane Evans, in our article 'Observing and evaluating wellbeing'. In the article we discuss the usefulness of using quantitative measures to assess children's emotional wellbeing. In a continuation of Ofsted's mythbusting 'mission', Gill Jones, Ofsted's Early Education Deputy Director, has written for us about 'Keeping little children safe' in early years. Following several forum threads about working with children who have speech and language issues, Kathryn Stinton, who is a SEND consultant, wrote about 'Supporting Children’s Speech, Language and Communication Skills'. As we approach the moderation period of the academic year, Kate Cahill tackled the perennial issue of how much 'evidence' do we need to provide to substantiate the judgments we make? Kate's article 'Observational Assessment and paperwork - how much is enough?' gives a sensible and balanced view in an effort to make teachers' workloads more manageable. The Education Policy Institute works to collect, collate and present research to government and other stakeholders. Their Associate Director of Early Years, Sara Bonetti, wrote to enthuse and motivate teachers to realise how much difference they can make to education policy by engaging with consultations and discussions. Sara's article 'You are more than 'just a teacher'' should inspire you to get involved in decision making.

We have reviewed two books this half term to help you reflect on your professional knowledge. Firstly 'Outdoor Provision in the Early Years' by Jan White which explores the different ideas surrounding outdoor provision and sets out how shared visions and values for outdoor play can make a real difference in early years settings.  Secondly, we reviewed 'Wise Words. How Susan Isaacs Changed Parenting' . We found the book to be a fascinating read which will captivate early years specialists, parents and social historians alike. 

From The Forum

Bicycle helmet legislation for Nursery

Hi, we have some tricycles in our Pre-Nursery and Nursery. Our children range in age from 2-5 years old. The children ride the trikes along a sort of path way in an enclosed area that is part of our outdoor free-flow area. Can someone please tell me what the current legal requirements are for wearing helmets in a child care setting? 


Admissions question! HELP!

SO ...about 4 years ago i had a complaint to Ofsted  from a parent. It was unfounded and quite honestly ridiculous but i spent ages in the inspection talking about it and it caused an enormous headache ...this was just the final straw with this family! (wont go in to details !!)

anyway this morning the father walks in and hands me an application formO.o ....I cannot have him back , I would rather resign as would 2 other members of staff! sounds petty but he made our lives a misery. Can I LEGALLY refuse him a place? anyone any ideas???????

My GDPR 'To Do' list

As some of you lovely people know I also (as well as being part of the FSF team) have my own setting ... I thought it might be 'fun' to compare 'To Do' lists! I've done some of these things, but by no means all!

  • GDPR Audit
  • GDPR staff meeting #1 explaining to everyone why I'm rummaging through staff files etc.
  • GDPR staff meeting #2 to update and discuss with staff what changes to policies and procedures we need to make: clear desk policy, amend close down and opening procedures as more items need to be locked away, remind of professional conduct, confidentiality, home working 
  • Write to all 3rd party providers to check their GDPR compliance status and keep a record of responses, consider changing providers if they are not going to be compliant
  • Create letter listing staff data being held 
  • Write to all staff explaining what data I am holding about them and why. Get consent signed and dated
  • Create letter listing child and parent data being held 
  • Write to all families explaining what data I am holding about them and why. Get consent signed and dated. Give parents option to complete new (GDPR compliant) enrolment form and destroy 'old' enrolment form
  • Redo existing enrolment form to ensure compliance with GDPR, use with all new families and with existing families who wish to switch
  • Upload new enrolment form to website
  • Check locks/keys on filing cabinets
  • Go through nursery emails and delete details from ex-families and contacts
  • Run anti-virus checker on all computers 
  • Change all nursery passwords just to be sure that only staff who 'need to know', know
  • Purchase and fit encryption keys for all computers and laptops
  • Check displays and notice boards to ensure that only necessary data is displayed (if any)

Telling lies

I have a lovely little girl in my group, aged 4, she is bright and capable across all areas of learning, she has a wide friendship group and as I said is lovely......except she has started to tell lies - not just now and then - everyday. When challenged she just smiles, nods and is just not 'bothered' at all.

All tips and suggestions will be gratefully received 

Child behaviour escalating out of control (help)

We have a child who attends our provision 3 mornings a week. The child's behaviour has always been challenging but we have managed it, however this term  the behaviour and hitting staff and children is increasing. We have done abservations, outside agency has been in to observe, parent has been in for several meetings to discuss how we work this situation.. We have put several strategies in place to help the child. We are waiting for one to one funding although this will only cover 8 hours. The other children in the setting are frightened of the child and visible shrink when they are approached by the child concerned. I have also had 3 parents saying their children do not want to come anymore. I am at the stage where we are for the welfare of the children going to remove the child completely!

i really do not like having to do this but we really do not know what else we can do. Has anyone had to do this or can anyone give advice? I am wondering if I am missing something obvious here. Many thanks in advance 

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