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FSF Newsletter July 2014

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As the summer term ends, we'd like to wish all of you lucky enough to have the full summer break lying invitingly before you a fabulous holiday. Hope you come back refreshed and raring to go in the autumn term. And let's hope the rest of us don't melt in the summer heat.

The FSF will be here as usual, chattering away, so pop in even if you are on holiday - you never know what you might hear!


In the recent government re-shuffle, Michael Gove was replaced by Vicky Morgan as education secretary, and Liz Truss has been moved from the role of Minister for Education and Childcare. It seems no replacement has yet been announced.

A new SEND code of practice was published on 11th June; you can find it here:


We're very happy to announce that two much requested updates to Tapestry have been released within the last couple of weeks:

  • Weavers can now opt to assess observations against a number of extra assessment options, including KS1, ECAT, and P Scales.
  • It's also now possible to move the entire journals of departing children to new settings if the new setting has a Tapestry account (eg nursery to reception, or reception to KS1). The growing number of guides and tutorials include the new 'Transfer children' function if you need to make use of this feature.

LA Scheme

We're delighted to welcome Isle of Wight to the FSF LA scheme. Teachers, practitioners, childminders and other providers from Isle of Wight can now register and subscribe free of charge (visit the LA index page to learn more).

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 third year - Somerset & Ealing
  • For their sixth year - Reading
  • For their seventh year - LB of Wandsworth & Derbyshire
  • For their eighth year - Brighton & Hove & Southampton

Welcome back to you all!


New Content

Characteristics of Effective Learning: creating and thinking critically

The EYFS describes creating and thinking critically as when ‘children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things’ (DfE, 2012, p.7). The third CoEL is all about thinking, and is associated with the need for children to make sense of experiences and develop thought over time. The interactions that children have with others, their environment, and the experiences they are involved in, allow children to actively think about the meaning of what they are doing. This is through perceiving patterns, inventing ideas, making connections, and developing concepts, which in turn allows children to develop knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or problem solving.

Children, play and digital technologies

Digital technologies are part of the everyday experience of most young children in the UK. By the time they go to school children will confidently play on-line games associated with television programmes and may already have grown out some possibilities. They will have observed adults shopping on laptops, using tablet computers and mobile phones and many will have played games on a mobile phone themselves and become capable users of the nursery computers to practise phonics, counting and matching skills. They may be able to take and download photographs of their construction projects in the preschool playroom or first class in primary school and some will have, talked to grandparents using Skype and watched older siblings using games consoles. As Kalaš (2010, p 16) suggests ‘it is not necessary any more to prove that ICT matters in early childhood education. New digital technologies have entered every aspect of our reality, including families and lives of young people’.

Early Years Teacher Status (2014) – what are the implications of the upgrades?

Since the Early Years Professional Status was established in 2007 it has undergone a number of transformations. Some of them have been quite minor, such as the number of tasks you have to perform all whether you could have witness statements or not, but there have also been some more significant changes. The most significant changes that the Coalition Government have made are around their commitment to making the status ‘equivalent’ to teacher status. This rhetoric has meant that they have increased the requirements for candidates. In the beginning, you could do your GCSE maths and English alongside studying for the status. Then you had to have your GCSE maths and English before you started the course. Now you have to have achieved GCSE maths, English and science before starting the course. In addition you have to do to proficiency tests in maths and English.

From The Forum

Completes a simple program on a computer

What does one do when completing a simple program?

literacy and numeracy skills tests for staff

Templates I could use for recruitment?

Stay and play toddler group

We are starting a toddler group at our pre-school setting on 25th July. It is for parents (or any other adults) and their children to come and play for 2hrs. It was a suggestion from our current parents to try and raise our pre-school numbers! Hopefully the children will move on from the toddler group to pre-school as they get older. Does anyone else do this?

Maintained nursery opening its doors to funded 2yr olds

I'm based in a non academy school caring for 3-7 yr olds in Cornwall. The head of the school is under the understanding that now the 2yr old funding is claimed in the same way as the 3 and 4yr old funding and that as we have a 'good' Ofsted outcome, we can start providing care for 2yr olds in Sept 2014 (it would run alongside the maintained nursery but in a separate space). Surely the head would need to inform Ofsted or change its registration in some way? Any help would be much appreciated.

Two year olds napping - a question...

Those of you taking two year olds for a full day - how many need a nap?

Advice on teaching in Nursery next September...please

I will be teaching 90 Nursery children in September. I am really excited about it. However my experience of 16 years is Year 2/1 and R based.. Any top tips, web links, suggested reading, dos and don'ts would be amazing! And of course much appreciated!

Information about the new SEN and Disability Code of Practice

I've written a few key points about the new SEN and Disability Code of Practice which will be in place from September;it's attached as a word file.

Deferring entry to reception

We have had a response from a parent who wants to defer their child starting in Reception until the term after they are 5 (which means the child will start in January - a whole term later than the rest of the cohort). Has anybody had any experience of this before? If so - what was the impact on the child? How did you manage the situation?

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