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Fsf Newsletter December 2016

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Welcome to the December edition of the FSF newsletter. 

EYFS news

It's been a very busy term and here at The FSF we have worked hard to keep you up to date with what's going on in the sector. In September's newsletter we shared the new safeguarding guidance with you and this document created considerable consternation on the forums. You can read what members were saying on this thread, 'safeguarding requirements'. Usefully, Gill Jones, Ofsted Early Education Deputy Director, wrote in Nursery World magazine to clarify some of the more common misconceptions that had arisen. You can read Gill's article here. You can join in the FSF discussion thread about Gill's clarification here.  The FSF attended the London meeting of the 'Ofsted Big Conversation' and listened to Gill Jones feedback regarding the 'Destined for Disadvantage' report and the transfer of inspectors from Tribal and Prospects to Ofsted themselves. Gill also fed back on the latest findings from inspection reports. You can read the notes from these meetings if you would like to; just click on the links. We were also at the South East regional NDNA meeting where we heard from two early implementers from London Borough of Newham and also from Swindon LA. They had interesting findings from these very early stages of the 30 hours funding roll out. We also heard from HMRC about the tax free childcare scheme which comes into effect from April 2017. You can click on the link to read the notes and access the documents for parents and for childcare providers. Also this term, Justine Greening announced that the EYFSP would remain in place for the academic year 2017/18; you can read the full statement here. We were asked to contrbute to a Parliamentary committee debate in November and we were delighted that our members made their views known. You can read their contributions here. We also attended the LED 30 hours debate in London which was extremely useful. The information from that meeting, if you missed it, is here.

FSF news

Early next year we'll be introducing a new look to the FSF, with substantial changes, both cosmetic and functional. The current website has been around for many years, and is now showing its age (along with many of its caretakers!), so we've been working hard to bring it into the modern world; for example it will be much more useable on the tablets and phones many of you now use to visit.

With regard to Tapestry, we now have over 11000 settings and schools using Tapestry giving more than half a million children and their families access. We are very proud of this and continue to strive to improve what we do to make the lives of teachers and Early Years Educators easier and to help parents engage more fully with their child's learning journey. By January 1st, all weavers will be using the new updated version of Tapestry, which means our dedicated team of developers here will all be working on refinements and improvements to the current functionality. We are always listening, so if you are a Tapestry user then let us know how you are doing and how we can help. Use the FSF threads which you can access from here. We have supported local and national charities with our donations this year and look forward to continuing this into 2017.

Have a lovely Christmas everyone - the FSF and Tapestry teams wish you a wonderful 2017!

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 second year - Dorset
For their sixth year - Rochdale and Oldham
For their eleventh year - Sandwell
Welcome back to you all!

New Content

We have published several articles this term. John Blaney (Forest School Pioneer) wrote for us about encouraging 'Street Play' in young children. Michaela Machan wrote us a 'beginners guide to observing children' article. Finleysmaid wrote for us about using Tapestry in her setting and about how she encourages parental involvement: Weaving play. The PEDAL research group at University of Cambridge wrote for us about children's play in science. You can read this here. We have also reviewed Anna Ephgrave's book The Nursery Year in Action and also 'Let's talk behaviour' as part of our resources for practitioners series. If you are an infrequent visitor to the FSF site then perhaps you should follow the thread 'Keeping up to date with the FSF' and then you will be sure not to miss anything! You can go into your 'settings' (by your name, top right) and choose to have an email each time this page is updated!

From The Forum

Silent attentive sitting

Our group of about 14 children aged 2 to 5 1/2 years sits every morning in silence with one adult sitting with them, verbally guiding them (in a light way) to be aware of their posture and breathe, and another helping them readjust their bodies with a gentle touch when needed. Anyone doing something like this and wants to share ideas?

DBS Update service

Have any of you taken a new employee and accepted their DBS from another setting when they have signed up to the update service? I have just received a DBS as a school volunteer when I queried about the update service they said don't bother if i get a job in another school or indeed that school I would need to get another one.

In a quandary whether to sign up or not?!

Good Morning Britain report

I expect many of you have watched the GMB report on the safety of nurseries. If you haven't seen it you can watch it from here.

Tulip Siddiq responded to the report today, you can watch her interview here

I thought Gill Jones did very well under the barrage of questions from Piers Morgan, she had very little opportunity to put her point across. I wonder if GMB would be interested in a follow up story about how great nurseries can be? 

I'm guessing that we all feel the same way about the report - but what it raised for me was the potential issues and scenarios that can arise when managers are not complying with regulations - the staff have a responsibility to be 'whistle blowing' about bad practice and are those that don't 'whistle blow' complicit in the bad practice themselves? - maybe they don't know it's bad practice?

I know, from my own experience, that when a member of staff was not speaking appropriately to a parent (rudeness, nothing sinister) at a time that I was away from my nursery that my phone was 'ringing off the hook' with my other staff wanting to let me know so that it could be dealt with appropriately.

Has anyone else had experience of this kind of thing - when whistle blowing was so important?

2D shapes observation problem solving

Trying to think of an exciting problem solving activity for the HA which would link into this. My LA will go round school looking for shapes and will take photographs of them. Thought of hiding shapes outside and making a tally chart, shaving foam shapes and shape roads. Any tried and tested ideas out there. Thank you 

Ratio requirements on a termly basis

I'm just looking for some advice as our local authority have just referred me back to the EYFS. We are a preschool setting who are open termly. Generally we take new starters only at the beginning of term but occasionally after half terms. We want to offer a morning place to a 2 year old after half term. Currently we have a fee paying child who has just turned 3 in early October. As this child is now 3 can I now include him in my 3 year old ratios or do I have to include him in the 2 year old ratios until the following term (January 2017) when he will be a funded 3 year year old? If I treat this newly turned 3 year old as 3 now I can take in the new 2 year old after half term, if not I can't. Just wondered what other settings do. Do you wait until the following term or do you class the 3 year old as 3 as soon as he or she reaches that age for your ratios? The advice from my local authority referred to 'rising 3s', but of course the child in question is not a rising 3 now, technically he is already 3. I hope this makes sense. Similarly I have another child who is currently 2 year old funded but turns 3 before the October half term. He will continue to receive 2 year old funding until December 2016 and will receive 3 year old funding in January 2017. Staffing is tight so do I have to treat the 2 year old funded child as '2' up until January 2017 in terms of ratios, as he is funded as a 2 year old, or can I treat him a 3 year old for staffing?

Thanks and hoping someone can clarify or suggest what they do.

Funding and absence

We have a child who attends two mornings a week but is only funded for one. His attendance is very patchy and in the 6 weeks we have been open he has only attended for 2 full weeks (4 days). The remaining weeks have been patchy with at least one day attended but the absences has been noted as ill, sister ill, visitors, he doesn't want to come in. The days he has attended he has been late ranging from 9.15 to 10.30 with us having to phone to find out if he is coming in.

I know for funding purposes I need to keep a record of all of this (I do) but do I need to tell the LA we are having problems with his attendance. I am worried if they come and do an audit and decide to withdraw funding we will have to pay it back.

I know I have to talk to mum which can be difficult when she is late (if it's a day we do Forest School we go without him and mum brings him round) and she has now started collecting early as she does lunch duty.

How do I word it that we are not 'just pre-school' and it matters if he turns up.

'Learning through play' How do you get parents to understand?

Sometimes it can be difficult to encourage parents to see the significance of play in the early years - often parents don't understand the important life skills being learnt by the under 5s.


I have personally had to have the 'No, they're not just messing about with sand' conversation at nursery several times. When we first opened our nursery nearly 13 years ago we had a parents' evening where we set up activities throughout the nursery for everyone to try out. It was very interesting to see the adults playing in a very similar way to the children we see everyday - there were those that jumped straight in and made big sweeping movements in shaving foam "To see what it did" - there were those who carefully watched others using balance scales to test out comparative weights of small toys before coming over quietly, once everyone had gone and making a (very accurate) estimate about which toys should go together to make things balance.


How do you help parents to understand that these first crucial play experiences are important learning steps?

Flu Vaccine

Hi I run a small privately owned pre-school, some of my staff have started hinting that they should have the flu vaccine has they are always catching colds this time of year.... and that it should be paid for by me.

Is there a law that states employers should pay for this? or is it up to the individual to pay if they want one?

This could work out to be quite expensive if its down to me to pay!

I would like to hear what you all do or think about this.

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