Our seasonal news updates summarise the latest childcare news plus which MindingKids resources have been added or revised so you can easily keep on track and up to date.
Halloween and Bonfire Night has come and gone, beautifully coloured leaves scatter the streets and the shops are stacked full of festive goodies reminding us that the big ‘C’ word is not too far away!
Hello and Welcome to all our new visitors, and a BIG THANK YOU to those who have recently purchased resources or signed up for Gold or Platinum Membership. We hope MindingKids is helping with the amazing work that you do.
So what is in the childcare news?…
Universal Credit Changes
Last month some changes came into effect for those claiming Universal Credit.
Parents and guardians now have an additional month (previously just one month) to claim back up to 85 percent of eligible childcare costs.
Make sure that families you provide care for are aware of any benefits or help they are entitled to that could help with childcare costs. The Childcare Choices website explains what is available and also has some useful information for providers.
HMRC Self-Assessment – Don’t leave it to the last minute!
With Christmas just 5 weeks away, it can be easy to forget that shortly into the new year, we will all be facing the delightful task of ensuring our HMRC Self-Assessment Tax Returns are complete. If you are self-employed, you must complete your return and pay any tax due by midnight on 31st January to avoid a £100 penalty.
If this is your first time completing a return or if you are feeling a bit lost on how to calculate and manage your business accounts, our Managing Your Accounts Hot Topic is packed full of useful information and helpful tips.
Free Online Safety Posters
Promoting online safety is a requirement for all childcare providers. It is fundamental that children learn about the internet and technology and how it can enhance our lives but it is also essential that they understand the dangers, when they might be at risk and what they should do if they are unsure. The UK Safer Internet Centre has some fantastic online safety posters aimed at different age groups that can be downloaded for FREE! Perfect for sharing with children and displaying in your setting.
Find the Free Online Safety Posters here.
You can also refer to our Internet Safety Policy template from the Policies & Procedures Pack for more ideas on how to promote online safety in your setting.
In the North (Care Inspectorate)….
Consultation on Draft Quality Framework for Early Learning and Childcare Services
In September, the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland announced that the new Shared Inspection quality framework was still under development and that it’s release would be postponed until after the 1140 hours expansion has been fully implemented.
The Care Inspectorate’s draft quality framework for early learning and childcare services is now available and a consultation exercise is underway. You can view the draft quality framework here.
The Care Inspectorate is inviting all providers to comment and take part in a short survey.
Submit your response HERE by the 6th of December.
Out of School Care Framework Consultation
There is also a consultation underway on the draft Out of School Care Framework with the Scottish Government seeking views directly from childminders who are delivering out of school care.
Find out more and have your say here.
Scottish Government – Free Online Training for Childminders
The Scottish Government are preparing to launch a new suite of free online training resources for childminders with an aim to increase the quality of Early Learning and Childcare services ahead of the full role out of the 1140 hours expansion in August next year.
All funded providers will be required to meet strict quality criteria as part of the new National Standard so, as a series of online modules, providers will have access to additional training on issues such as responding to additional support needs, delivering learning outdoors and supporting the development of children’s early language and literacy.
Open to all Early Learning and Childcare providers, including childminders, the first set of modules is scheduled to be available by spring 2020 and the full set by summer 2020.
Find out more on the Scottish Government website here.
If you are looking to apply to be a funded provider MindingKids is putting together an ELC Funded Provider Checklist with links to resources, websites or further guidance to assist with your application. Keep a look out for more news on this coming soon!
New Guide to Self-Evaluation
The Care Inspectorate have published a new guide for care services to assist with self-evaluation. Regular self-evaluation and reflection is essential when providing a professional childcare service and inspectors will expect you to have a clear understanding of the areas in which you perform well, and those where further improvements can be made. The new guide includes a suggested step by step process to self-evaluation, examples and checklists for involving people.
Find the new guide here.
You may also find the following resources helpful when evaluating your service and planning for improvements:
- Self-Reflection Pack
- Parent & Child Questionnaires
- CPD Record & Planning Pack
- Care Inspectorate Self-Assessment Form – EXAMPLE Answers
Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Inclusion Fund
If you are a registered funded provider of early learning and childcare (ELC) and have a child/ren in your care with additional support needs, you can receive funding for one-off adaptations, equipment, resources and training. Now open to applications, the Scottish Government’s Early Learning & Childcare Inclusion Fund provides funding to ELC settings to support children with additional support needs (ASN) in Scotland access their funded ELC entitlement.
The deadline for applications is 12pm on Monday 2nd December.
Find out more and details of how to apply here.
In the South (Ofsted)….
New Inspection Framework Pilot Inspections
More than 100 pilot visits to different types of early years settings took place between the launch of the consultation and the new inspection framework taking effect. Ofsted Early Education Deputy Director, Gill Jones has shared what Ofsted have learned from the pilot inspections. She explained that through the use of a learning walk, inspectors found that they were able to gather enough evidence about assessment confirming that there is now less of a focus on written documentation. She also emphasised that there is no need to ‘overthink the term Cultural Capital’ and explained that it is ‘simply about introducing young children to experiences that they may not get at home. And that can mean something quite different from one place to another.’
Understanding and Preparing for New Inspections
The new Early Years Inspection Handbook explains what Ofsted will do before, during and after inspections but now that some of us have undergone the new format and shared their experiences, we can learn from and focus on the main changes.
Learning Walk – The new inspections now have much less of a focus on written documentation with inspectors aiming to gather the majority of evidence through the use of a ‘learning walk’. Your inspector will accompany you on a ‘tour’ round your setting which you should use as your prime opportunity to show off the types of experiences you provide for children utilizing a variety of resources and activities both indoors and outdoors to build on curiosity, develop interest and support learning.
Curriculum & Planning – Your inspector will want to see how you deliver a sequenced curriculum, in other words the EYFS and the 7 areas of learning. Whilst there is no requirement for lengthy written records, your inspector will be looking to see that you show confidence in gathering starting points, regularly monitoring and assessing progress and are planning for individual needs and interests. You must be able to demonstrate confidence in recognising children’s individual needs and development stages and how you focus learning through play. How do you monitor and ensure children are progressing from their starting points and how do you involve parents in supporting learning further at home?
Take a look at our new Individual Planning & Progress Summaries as a simple solution to effectively plan and monitor progress for each child.
Reading & Vocabulary – There is a huge focus at the moment on reducing the ‘word gap’ in the Early Years so inspectors are looking to see how you help children build on their vocabulary and literacy skills through daily routines and conversations in addition to reading stories, singing songs and rhymes whilst also coming across new words in the world around us. New words and literacy skills should be taught through fun interactive activities. Be sure to talk about this on your learning walk or demonstrate via child interaction and activities.
Our Story Pack collection is full of inspiration and activity ideas to build on vocabulary learning.
Cultural Capital – As detailed in the section above, there is no need to ‘overthink the term Cultural Capital’. Ofsted are not looking to see posters or displays. They are looking to see how you introduce children to experiences that they may not get at home. Think about building on children’s staring points, expanding on what they already know and making new discoveries. Visit or learn about new places, try new things, experiment and explore. How do you increase fascination and interest to inspire learning?
Wellbeing – As always, inspectors will be paying particular attention to your Safeguarding knowledge and procedures. Make sure you are up to date on the latest legislation so as you can answer confidently any Safeguarding questions. In addition, you should be demonstrating how you monitor and promote children’s wellbeing at all times. Think about how you encourage healthy life styles and healthy eating, allow for rest and relaxation, keep children comfortable and safe, promote self-awareness, self-esteem, positive behaviour and social interactions. Everything that children need to thrive as happy, confident individuals.
CPD – Inspectors will also be looking to see how you are Continuing Professional Development through training and other opportunities, e.g. online courses and information, training and workshops, meeting and sharing ideas with other professionals, etc and whether you are regularly self-evaluating your service in order to continually make improvements. It is a good idea to keep a record of all self-evaluation, training and CPD exercises that you do but even better if you can refer to or demonstrate something that you have recently learned or introduced to your setting as a result. For example whilst on your learning walk, talk about any changes you have made recently and why or an activity or project the children are taking part in following a recent play workshop, etc.
Our CPD Record & Planning Pack will allow you to put together a comprehensive portfolio of your Continuing Professional Development ready to show on inspection and assist you in assessing what further learning and training would benefit you and your setting.
Sarah Neville from Independent Childminders has put together an excellent blog highlighting the main changes to be aware of when preparing for the new inspections. You can read this here.
You may also find our Preparing for Inspection Hot Topic guide useful.
Consultation on Changes to the EYFS
A consultation on the proposed changes to the EYFS is underway following an independent evaluation of the proposed reforms. Piloted in a small sample of 24 schools over the last school year, experts are now working together and sharing ideas in order to ensure that any changes are carefully considered with the correct knowledge and expertise. Some of the proposed changes include:
- An increased emphasis on regular conversations and vocabulary throughout Communication and Language.
- The Personal, Social and Emotional learning area becoming more of a priority, being listed second after Communication and Language and incorporating more elements linked to attachment and self-regulation
- The Expressive Arts and Design learning area being renamed to ‘Being Imaginative and Expressive’.
- The Mathematics area will have a greater emphasis on encouraging curiosity about number, shape, space and measure however this remains uncovered in the goals.
- Information Technology has been omitted from the Understanding the World goals as the government believes it has ‘little value as an end-point measure in itself’.
Nursery World have published a very helpful guide which helps to explain the proposed changes and makes comparisons between the pilot and consultation versions. You can download the guide here.
Read more about the consultation and have your say here.
The consultation is open until 11.45pm on 31st January 2020.
And at MindingKids…
A year of many challenges!
It is fair to say that 2019 has certainly been pretty full on! At the beginning of the year we launched our new and improved website allowing us to welcome lots more members and followers. With so many changes going on in the world of childcare both North and South of the border, we have been revising and improving many of our existing resources whilst continuing to add to our collection. Our request list is literally bursting at the seams but we are thrilled to see so many providers making use of the website and to receive such positive feedback and interaction. Behind the scenes we have also been working hard with our developers on further improvements to the website and also on the design of some new features to the MindingKids App which we hope to introduce early next year.
On a personal note this year also brought some unforeseen circumstances which, I am relieved to say, has resulted in a positive outcome. In this extremely busy world of work and pressure to achieve, we must never forget that family and our children are the most precious thing of all! 💖
Keeping an Eye on the Changes
With some big changes coming in the not too distant future including the full roll out of the 1140 hours expansion in Scotland and the proposed changed to the EYFS in England, we have our eyes and ears open. We are already working on an ELC Funded Provider Checklist for childminders in Scotland who are looking to apply and will be watching closely over the coming months to see what more we can do to help provide support with this big change.
We are also waiting with interest to see the result of the EYFS consultation and will be ready to update our learning resources when the time comes to accommodate the new format.
If you have any requests or suggestions for resources to assist with the upcoming changes, we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us with your ideas.
2020 Multicultural Calendar
Our very popular Multicultural Calendar is back again with the 2020 edition now available. This year the calendar Features OVER 100 special dates, festivals and awareness events! PLUS Activity Ideas Sheets packed full of ideas to further enhance learning and fun! Perfect for long term planning and teaching children about festivals, cultures, traditions and awareness days from all over the world! The Multicultural Calendar is available as a downloadable resource ready to print and assemble as required, OR can be ordered as a professionally printed calendar with Gold and Platinum members saving a whopping 50% on printed copies!
Since our Summer News Update the following resources have been added, updated or improved…
Updates / Amendments
Our FREE Legislation & Guidance Lists have been UPDATED
Our English (Ofsted) Childminder – Legislation & Guidance List now includes the new Early Years Inspection Handbook and Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years Guidance. The link to the Children’s Food Trust had also been removed and replaced with British Nutrition Foundation.
Our Scottish (Care Inspectorate) Childminder – Legislation & Guidance List has been updated to include Out to Play and Space to Grow indoor / outdoor resources and the new Improving Children and Young People’s Understanding of their Wellbeing resource.
AND Coming Soon…
- Scottish ELC Funded Provider Checklist
- Next Step Example Notes! – Never struggle on planning for next steps again!
- MindingKids App – Income & Expenditure logging
Thank you to all for your continued support! Keep a look out for more MindingKids News soon!