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The Foundation Stage Forum EYFS newsletter March 2019

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Welcome to the March newsletter from The Foundation Stage Forum. Last month saw us celebrating our 16th birthday. That's 16 years of members supporting one another, giving advice and sharing wisdom, being a listening ear and sometimes a much needed voice of reason. We are proud of what we do and of the members we have - we are looking forward to many more years!

At the start of the New Year we took a look back over our shoulder at the past year and then looked forward into 2019 to see what the year ahead might hold. It was reassuring to see what we had achieved in 2018 and we are interested to see what challenges are to be faced in 2019.

Since our last newsletter, back in December, we have kept our ear to the early years ground and have posted documents and updates from the sector. Just before Christmas Ofsted announced the names of the 'Pedagogy and Practice Forum' members.  We are, like you, waiting to hear from the forum as its work progresses. The DfE document 'What to expect, when?'  was updated during January and a copy added to our FSF resources area. We have also added other documents to the resource area including an updated development plan idea which might help you evaluate the 'impact' of changes to practice and provision at your setting. Ofsted will be looking closely at the impact of self-evaluation in the new inspection framework which is due to be published in time for next September. FSF attended the South East launch of the consultation in January and detailed the event for forum members here. The consultation lasts until April and so there is plenty of time to get your views across, you can add your views from here.

If you are a Tapestry user you will have read all about the exciting developments which will be coming your way very soon (Register anyone?!) Make sure you are reading the Tapestry newsletters which are published every month and provide details of new features, tips on how to make the best of existing features and also links to training webinars and resources. If you missed them, here are the newsletters for December January and February.

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 5th year – Bedford

For their 8th year – Slough

For their 12th year – LB of Barnet

For their 13th year – Sandwell

New Content

Since Christmas we have published two articles by extremely prominent Early Years folk. Our first article, Being 'Outstanding' - Passion, with bucket loads of enthusiasm and commitment thrown in, by Jenny Barber was very well received with members wanting to know where the setting Jenny visited was located so that they could go and work there! Our second article, Energy, by Dr Lala Manners, encourages us to think about the language we use when describing children with high energy levels and asks us to consider why we sometimes try to curb energy in children yet create and celebrate it in adults.

From The Forum

Pre-School Future


Our committee are concerned about finances and are considering closing the pre-school end of financial year, maybe even earlier.  There is a meeting planned for next week, any words of wisdom on questions to ask would be really appreciated.  

Many thanks.

Little boy who wants to be a girl - advice please

Hi All

Wondered if you could all give me some advice.  I have a little boy who will be going to school in September.  When he first came to us he was very sensitive and cried after separation from mum.  We got over that when Mum asked if it would be ok if he came in wearing his "special hair."  Which was a disney princess plait for his hair. Now he comes in really happily sometimes with special hair, sometimes a dress or sometimes some other toy.   His conversation is often about his barbies at home or make up.  His parents are really good and allow him to be the person he is and in my opinion his parents attitude has contributed to the growth in his confidence.

He is a really lovely little treasure.  Kind, caring and his playskills are great.  He engages in all activities with such enthusiasm and is probably one of my most competent with the school skills of writing his name, maths etc.  He plays will join both the boys and the girls in play (preferring the girls company) but does seem to stay away from the rougher boys who run around or play super hero fighting.

I have been around for a long time and boys wearing dresses is nothing new to me but this little one is different.

Mum is now a little worried about the transition to school and how other children will take his being "different."  I know the school will support him and there is a uniform so he wont  be able to wear his disney princess dress but how do you allow him to be himself which maybe wanting to be a girl without making the assumption that just because he likes barbies and wearing dresses, (that wanting to be a girl), is what he wants? 

We do think that Mum having a meeting with the school is a must and we are trying to compile some questions/actions that will help the school to be supportive.  What would you put on this plan?

Paying for Inclusion Support

I am interested to see how many other settings have to pay for Inclusion Support? I am based in Worcestershire and we have to pay £180 for an Inclusion Adviser to visit the setting if we have concerns about a child. That £180 'buys' 3 hours of the advisers time, this would be a visit to the setting and then time for any paperwork. We used to be able to ring the Inclusion Team, share our concerns and an adviser would visit and offer advice and support - we have all had that 'gut' feeling about a child and we really benefited from the experts confirming our concerns and supporting us with strategies, referrals etc.  As with the majority of settings we are very tight for money and I feel we are letting children down as we simply cannot afford to pay this sort of money and I am interested to see if it is nationwide and if not if I have a case to fight these charges?


Appreciate any ideas or advice, tips or tricks.  We currently have a group who are incredibly messy in their play.  Half hour into the session it looks like a bomb has hit.  Now some of this play is fully engaged and warrants the mess but some I think it has just become a habit to get as much out as possible. (And it’s not even the two year olds) It has suddenly become clear to me that there is no care or respect for the toys.  I have started restricting what they can have out and have made my expectations very clear about putting something away before getting something else out.  Tidy up time has also become a battle with children not seeming to care. I am addressing this and slowly making progress.  We have never had issues to this extent and just wonder is it a sign of the times or something we are doing wrong.  How do you approach mess control, care and respect of resources and tidy time?

Emergency provision

Just a thought...do any of you provide emergency care for days like today when schools are closed. We are registered for all ages and they would be in ratio.

Wondered how Ofsted views this?? can't find anything to say Yay or Nay!

Toddler room upstairs

I posted a while ago in a different area of this forum about an idea we had of moving our toddlers to an upstairs area. I had feedback from one other user but wondered if anyone else could share their thoughts and experiences. If your toddlers are based upstairs how effective is this? What works well and what doesn’t. How did parents take to the idea? Any other thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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