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FSF Newsletter February 2018

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Welcome to the first newsletter of Spring 2018. Since beginning to write we have seen hail, torrential rain and snow. As I write, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it feels that warmer days are not too far away. It’s been a busy ½ term on the forum with our members keen to support each other’s developing practice with management tips and techniques. We are lucky to have such a wealth of experience and expertise to draw on at FSF.


We continue to keep you up to date with research publications to ensure that you have access to the best information available. Ceeda’s bulletin on the state of the early years sector makes for somber reading. We are well aware from our members’ input in the funding threads that the 30 hours provision is proving a challenge for many colleagues. Ofsted’s Bold Beginnings report has generated much debate both on our forum and in the national press. If you haven’t read the report it can be found here. Our forum thread, which tracks many of the key contributions and clarifications can be followed here.

FSF and Tapestry news

We know that you are gearing up in preparation for the General Data Protection Regulation that comes into effect at the end of May. To help settings ready themselves we have written a series of threads to help you find your way through what feels like a very confusing task. Our step by step guide is in this forum. In addition, we would like you to check all your FSF details are correct in readiness for GDPR. You can follow this instructional thread from here.

Yesterday we attended the third APPG meeting at Westminster. It was great to meet so many passionate members of the early years workforce. We listened to interesting talks from Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, Jamie Leith, co-founder of Manny & Me, and Michelle Dyson, Director for Early Years and Childcare at the Department for Education. Attendees asked challenging questions and all speakers were left in no doubt about the strength of feeling in the sector. If you would like to read a full account of the meeting then please follow this thread.

We continue to develop and improve our Tapestry package for users. We have recently added a new user permission, which you can set for relatives, ‘view other relative’s observations’. If this is set to 'not permitted', relatives linked to the same child will not be able to see each other's observations. This might ber helpful for estranged parents. As with the other user permissions on Tapestry you can set this for to apply to all relatives or just for individual ones. For more information about how to set the user permissions for relatives on Tapestry, you can check out our tutorial about them. There are other new features too, you can read about them here

If you are looking for CPD, then don’t forget our Courses and Events page which is currently advertising courses in London, Kent, Brighton, Southampton, Bedford, York, Edinburgh as well as several online courses. Many of the courses are free to do or are very low cost, so there really is no excuse to let your CPD slip!

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 – Bedford

For their 7th year - Slough

For their 9th year – Wigan

For their 11th year - LB of Barnet

And special welcome back to Sandwell renewing for their 12th year

New Content

Since our last newsletter, we have published articles written by Alistair Bryce Clegg and by Penny Tassoni. Alistair asks us to think about how we prepare and present our setting to ensure that we are encouraging children to be ambitious, inquisitive learners. His article includes some excellent tips to help you keep ‘on top’ of your provision. You can read the article here.

Penny’s article gives us much to think about when considering educational disadvantage. Penny guides us though research and ideas that identify commonalities between children who fall into the category of ‘disadvantaged’. By knowing and understanding what makes children ‘disadvantaged’ we can focus on helping them. You can read Penny’s article here.

From The Forum

Trying to support a child with sensory processing disorder

I have a little one, he has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. Usually this means that he does not like to get wet outside and will want to instantly change his clothing. Yesterday it was off the chart, saying everything was wet ( when it clearly was not) that everything was dirty ( again it was not) he cried and then said help my eyes are wet! I have never had to support a child with such compulsive obsessions before! when he wants to change his clothes constantly, how do I support this? any advice would be much appreciated. Luckily yesterday there were plenty of distractions for him so he did not get too upset.  Hopefully yesterday was just a bad day and he will be back to his old self today. Mum is struggling at home and has her own issues so it is quite hard to support her too.

Starting a holiday club, help needed!!

Can anyone offer advice? 

The pre-school which I work for are looking at the idea of setting up a holiday club in the holidays. 

We have the space and such a wonderful large outdoor area. 

Please can anyone suggest what we need to do to get started, do we need to do a new registration with Ofsted? ( I take it we would need to do that) 

We are thinking of providing this for the ages of 5yrs - 10yr ( what would the ratio's be?) 

Any other things to take into account? 

Many thanks 


We are a small setting. Our busiest day we only have 11 children aged 2-4 in the same room.

I, as the manager, am qualified to level 5. I have a deputy who is level 3. I have 1 apprentice and 1 unqualified (no intention of training).

Can I or my deputy be alone with the apprentice r unqualified?

I am contracted to work from home twice a week which means my deputy would be the only qualified.

Am I going to have to find another qualified to be out of ratio?

Starting a Nursery

A local nursery has closed down and is now up for let.

I've no idea what I would need to do or where to go for info!

So....what things do I need to do if I were to make an offer?


Do any of you have a whistleblowing policy? If so can you share? Just trying to work out if we really need one

Thank you

Attendance in early years

I have a child who I am claiming the 15 hours funding for but has poor attendance.  What can i do to improve the attendance, I find it hard as it is not compulsory yet the child is missing out a lot

Time off work


Can anyone offer me some advice! At present we have a high number of staff absences. For example for Jan alone we have over 17 staff absences. We don't pay staff for their absence, unless its the statutory sick pay of course! 

I am finding that staff are taking time off for their child being unwell (which I understand we have to accommodate for, within reason) however it puts the setting under strain, as we are low on bank staff as it is and I have to ensure I have the ratio's covered each day.

We are now going to introduce a return to work policy, and conduct these if staff are off more that three days in a month.

What do other settings do? 

Any advice? Many thanks 

Voting rights

We have just had an EGM to decide whether our pre-school should be taken under the 'umbrella' of the local school federation. The reason for this change is that I as pre-school leader am leaving at the end of the summer term and we have struggled recently to get a committee together. We are full, but have a lot of disinterested parents!

At the EGM this week the proposal was put to the vote. No parents were present (did I mention how disinterested they are?!)  just staff and committee members. All the committee members voted in favour but none of the staff at which point the chair said "Well only committee and parents can vote anyway so it doesn't matter what staff think!"

I just wondered if anyone knows if this is right? It's irrelevant as we would have been outvoted anyway but I feel strongly that our opinions should count! We are members of PSLA.

Thanks for any help.

Edited by Rebecca

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