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FSF Newsletter December 2017

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This is the last newsletter of 2017, an eventful year don't you think? So on behalf of the FSF and Tapestry team we'd like to thank you for your company and enthusiasm, and wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.


It's been a busy time since our last newsletter back in October and the world of Early Years has again been headline news. Only last week Ofsted released their 'Bold Beginnings' report which was been met with very wide ranging opinions. You can read the report from this thread, read some commentary on it and also put your own point of view forward in our debate. In November's budget, where providers were hoping for some good news about business rates, VAT and early years funding rates, the Chancellor explained how minimum wage levels would increase from April 2018. The funding rates for early years were released in the same week and did not fill providers with optimism. You can read about these in our financial update

There has been revised guidance issued regarding 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' and also regarding suitable menus for children under 5. You can access both documents and our discussion threads about them by following the links to the forum.

In November, The FSF attended the Nursery World business summit and listened to Ofsted's Chief Inspector as she spoke to sector leaders about progress and change within the inspection of the EY framework. You can read our review of the event and share your own Ofsted experiences on this thread: Chief inspector speaks at NW Business Summit 

Early years settings were again in the news when Cheryl Hadland of Top Day Nurseries asked them to consider the environmental impact of the glitter they use in their settings. This is particularly pertinent in the run up to Christmas and gave rise to many debates across the media. You can read about the 'Glitter Ban' on the forum.

FSF and Tapestry news

The most exciting thing that has happened since our last newsletter is the launch of our lovely new website. After many months of hard work we were able to launch during October 1/2 term and we are delighted with the results. All the old favourites are still in place and we continue to update and tweak to make it even better. Thank you to everyone who took time to give us feedback :D! The area that seemed to cause a little confusion was the 'Activity' area which has replaced the 'Show New Content' section from our old site. You can filter this area to ensure that you only see content that is of particular interest. This thread will give you detailed instructions on how to personalise your 'Activity stream'. We are particularly pleased with our new Courses and Events page. We have included a new search function on this page that enables you to look for courses in your area, on particular topics and in particular price ranges. We hope that you find it helpful. We are adding more and more courses over time as our subscribing Local Authorities are allowing 'out of area' providers to attend their training. We hope that this makes a big difference to you 

We continue to work with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Childcare and Early Education. We attended the November meeting with the minister Robert Goodwill MP. He asked for details of providers who were feeling the financial impact of the 30 hours scheme and we were able collect this data from our forum members. Once collected, via our financial impact survey,  we were able to share our findings with the Pre-School Learning Alliance who submitted a large data pack on behalf of the APPG. This collection of data was also used in this article 'A thousand nurseries close as free childcare scheme falters'.

LA Scheme

Did you know we allow our subscribing Local Authority teams to advertise any training they offer that is available to all practitioners including those outside the LA area in our ‘Courses & Events’ section which you can find here

The new look ‘Courses & Events’ page allows you to search by area, topic, qualification and cost to help you find the perfect training for you.

If you have any questions about adding training events to the forum please email Rebecca@eyfs.info who will be able to assist you. 

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 tenth year – Kent

For their eleventh year - Southampton

New Content

This half-term we published David Wright's article Men in childcare, an ongoing debate which discussed the perceptions that people have about men who work in early years. You can comment on the article from here and see David's response to questions raised. David is actively engaged in research around this issue and has asked forum members to take time to consider his 'Men in childcare' survey 

We have reviewed two books. Firstly 'Cyril Squirrel finds out about love' which is a story written by Jane Evans, expert in the field of supporting children's well being. Secondly, '50 exciting ideas for construction play' which is from a well-established, popular series '50 ideas' giving support and inspiration to practitioners across the sector.

Research published that showed how 'Pretending to be Batman helps kids stay on task' was also brought to our members' attention through the forum.

In May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect. Many providers are unsure as to what this means for them and what they need to do to prepare. To help with this, the team at FSF have begun a series of threads that will help you to be ready. Thread #1 and #2 are newly published and have useful resources you can download and use. 

There was an interesting forum discussion regarding  the television programme 'The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 year olds' and we were pleased to be able to get permission from Michael Rosen to use his blog post to generate conversation.

From The Forum

Secondary teacher in ratios?

A supply agency tells me that a person with a secondary qualification is counted as qualified for early years. I said that to my knowledge they are not. They claim that they checked this and had it confirmed, so sent us a secondary teacher. I'm paying much to meet legal requirements, when I could have worked with an able parent or someone else I know without a qualification.



I just wondered if it is a requirement to have an appraisal or just a supervision?



Can you share your ratios for outings please. I am talking local regular outings to the woods, shop, library etc places the children are familiar with. Current policy states minimum three adults but I am reviewing the policy after speaking to our adviser. Wondering if we should specify a ratio of 1:4? Children that normally participate are 3-4 year olds. Our two year olds do not go on outings.


Child with Visual Impairment

Hi All Just looking for support with one of our little treasures.

She is a rising 4 year old and has been wearing glasses since little.  She had a check up yesterday and Mum is distraught. Her prescription has gone up 3 points in each eye with the right eye being more severe.  The lenses of her glasses at present are really thick so can only imagine that the next pair are going to be thicker.  This worries Mum.

Little Treasure is bright and will play in all parts of the nursery, she is not too keen on noises but other than that she engages in everything.

Mum reports that her left eye is doing all the work and that the patches have not worked so she is going to be putting eye drops in to stop the good eye working in the hope that the other eye will strengthen.

My question is what can I do to support?  I am imaging that by putting things to the left of her will mean that her right eye will have to track in that direction and will help strengthen the muscle.  Would I be right in thinking this?  I am going to google and find out more but thought that some of you may have had this experience and would like to share.

packed lunches

Hi All

At my current setting children are required to eat their packed lunches in strict order: 

ie sandwiches / wraps first, fruit, crisps, yoghurt, treats ie cake

They are not even allowed to eat crisps with sandwiches. I have always encouraged sandwiches first but not strictly enforced it. 

Are others this strict with packed lunches?   Snack time is also fruit first and then cracker.

How do you mgrs/supervisors/deputies deal with and record staff behaviour?

Morning all,

I am looking for some wisdom and advice on a Sunday morning, as it is the nature of our roles, i am fairly confident that i am not the only "nutter" working! half term is the only time i can catch up, reflect and plan to improve!

So, my ongoing staffing difficulties are:

1. Ensuring that my staff team are behaving to a higher expectation consistently

2. I believe i make it easy for them as i am a "doer" and often find it quicker to do it myself if it hasn't been done - to mine and their detriment of course :(

3.Staff taking responsibility and being held accountable for adding to all things, such as planning, observations, staff meetings, SEF, health & safety, risk assessment

So, my questions are:

1. How do you monitor which staff members are not "pulling their weight" or are perhaps not on board with ideas and then not following them through or maybe forget to carry out their responsibilities -

example 1: out of my team, it is always the same 2 staff members that will not set up activities or tidy up the resources throughout the day, or walk past the sink full of dirty paint pots and brushes, or will keep walking past the heap of boots and coats on the floor in the lobby

Example 2: everyone is reminded on a daily basis to ensure that they carry out the daily risk assessment and checks - so filling up the soap and the hand towel is ticked and initialled, but not done!

Example 3: Fire checks have been claimed to be carried out on a weekly basis - emergency lights, alarms working etc, but when i go to check - there are no records? claims that they have got lost or binned by someone else

2. How do you record conversations you may have had with a staff member about the above situations when we are in ratio or office or just generally buzzing around trying to get through the day? I then kick myself at supervisions as i haven't got any record if anything conversation, excuse etc - particularly example 3..........

3. How do you link or annotate conversations/supervisions/staff meeting notes to ensure that you can manage and ensure staff are meeting expectations?

4. How do you encourage and support the team to engage and take part

Sorry for a very deep long post, but this is an area that i cannot seem to fulfil accurately and when it comes to a situation, i know i have had conversations but i have no record f anything to support my claim and therefore find it extremely difficult to bring staff behaviours up to a high standard.

Thanks so much for any advice i may receive

Ring games/PE activities

We really need to learn some new games to play.  Ones we play already are:  Duck, duck goose, princess long ago, bug in a rug, farmer in the den, ring a roses, Hokey Cokey.  Does anyone have any more that we can add to our list? Also any ideas for PE sessions, again we seem to do the same things all the time. Look forward to hearing your ideas?

Committee/manager help


So long story, but I manage a committee run provision that is really getting me down. We aren't moving forward with the times, have no idea what is being done.

So, If as manager you felt that things were being run the wrong way from above in many ways, that stops you from managing and running the provision effectively because you are doing their tasks or can't do anything, because the committee haven't.

What would you do??

Leave and let all the hard work you have done just go to waste

Seek referral from Local Authority and tell them the mess everything is on to get back on right track

I will add that I am fully supportive of our committee, I have been on that side too and it is very hard - so please don't view my post as a critical attack on volunteers.

Edited by Rebecca

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