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The Foundation Stage Forum January Newsletter 2021

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Welcome to the January FSF newsletter.

This letter will be arriving with you as everyone involved in education grapples with a new and deeper lockdown. Schools are open only to key worker children and those children who are vulnerable. Early years providers have been asked to remain open. However, the broad scope of settings that make up the early years sector – school nurseries, maintained nurseries, PVI settings, and childminders – are working with differing levels of expectation as to whether they remain open to all or not, depending on decisions from Head Teachers, LA advice, or government statements.

Conversations here on the Forum reflect the feelings of confusion and anxiety in the early years sector as a whole. The Early Years Alliance (EYA) wrote a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford at the beginning of the month about the exclusion of early years provision from COVID-19 discussions and asking for clarity. The EYA, along with PACEY and NDNA have now launched a campaign calling for improved safety measures for the sector.

Across the country, primary school staff have managed a rapid turnaround and have been providing remote learning for children who are at home, while supporting those who are coming into school. Gavin Williamson has announced that statutory KS1 and KS2 tests, including phonics screening, will not go ahead this year.

Moving away from this broader pandemic picture, and onto the living and learning that is actually happening in schools, settings and homes, we should all be thinking every day about the representation of children and families in the books we have available. There is a wonderful platform called Inclusive Story Time, which reviews diverse children’s books. There’s a huge variety to choose from, and links to a podcast and blog too.

Sending wishes for a hopeful new year to you all.



LA Scheme

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, who have renewed their LA subscription. Members from these authorities need do nothing; their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

Bedford - 7th year

Sandwell - 15th year

New Content

There’s lots of new content on the FSF. Our Primary section has an article by Teaching Assistant and SLT member Aimee Durning, about unlocking research to support all educators, and Jack from our Education Team writes about engaging families at Key Stage. In our early years section we include an article from childminder Doreen Barton, describing a day in her life working with children in her home, as well as reflections from early years consultant and trainer Jenny Barber on how to support children’s emotional resilience.

At the end of each article there is the opportunity to add your thoughts or links to other relevant things you have seen or heard. These additional conversations and sharing of information are helpful to all educators as we broaden our knowledge. 

Our podcasts this month cover a wide range of themes. Early Years consultant Leslie Patterson discusses the language and labels we use with and about children; experienced Head Teacher and education consultant Alison Kriel reflects on the importance of belonging and wellbeing; Year 5 teacher Olivia Dicker joins us to share how her new school uses Tapestry’s Child Login feature; and we gather with members of the Early Adopters Facebook group to discuss how they are adapting to the new EYFS. We hope you enjoy listening to them - please rate and review us and subscribe so you know when the next episode is available. 

You can watch Helen speaking about home learning in this short news video about the school closures from the Evening Standard. 

Keep safe. 

From all of us at the FSF and Tapestry. 

From The Forum

Preschools staying open!

Have I got this right, all preschools are requested to stay open for all children? 

Daily Online Teaching for Reception

After the government's announcement yesterday of another Lockdown, any tips on how to structure the teaching day for remote/online learning of Reception class? 

Edited by Jules

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