A summary of recent childcare news plus resources, updates and behind the scenes at Minding Kids!
More than half way through September already and into Autumn we go!
I hope you all enjoyed the summer and managed a well-deserved rest and enjoyed some quality time with family and friends.
👋🏽Hello and Welcome to all our new visitors, and a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of our loyal members, customers and followers for your ongoing support!
If you are just starting out in the world of childcare or have years of experience, we hope that Minding Kids can offer something to help you on your journey.
Let’s start with what is going on behind the scenes…
Following the build-up and excitement of launching the new platform, I was beyond devastated to make the difficult decision to revert back to the original website and app. As with any major platform switch over, initial glitches were expected but despite finding solutions to these it became apparent that the new app design would benefit from some adjustments. I am sincerely sorry for the disruption caused and eternally grateful to all of my loyal customers who reached out with feedback and support. I am taking forward the positives from this experience and equipped with your feedback, I am making progress with my developers to refine the app design.
😷Covid – What’s the rules?
Cases of coronavirus are on the up again and, as a new variant spreads across the UK, numbers are expected to rise significantly as we head into the later part of the year. We are now living with COVID-19 as one of a number of respiratory infections and official advice states that we should ‘try to stay at home’ if we have symptoms but what guidance should we be following as childcare providers?
As with any illness, we should always take precautions to minimise the spread of infection and keep children safe.
Providers in Scotland can refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19): early learning and childcare services and Infection Prevention and Control in Childcare Settings (Day Care and Childminding Settings) Guidance
Providers in England can refer to Health protection in children and young people settings, including education.
Providers in Wales can refer to Guidance for childcare and playwork: coronavirus and Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Childcare Settings.
Providers in Northern Ireland can refer to Guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings in Northern Ireland.
Take time to review your procedures alongside this guidance and share your illness policy with parents.
You may also wish to review and re-share your Fees Policy. Ensure parents are clear on what you charge in the event of non-attendance due to illness or for any other reason. Guidance from the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) advises that parents should not be charged when you are unable to provide a service due to personal or staff illness.
👉🏼Find template Illness and Fees policies included in the Policies & Procedures Pack.
🌟This Please KEEP your child at HOME if…POSTER is also useful to display in your setting as a reminder to parents.
Following a number of incidents, The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has warned about the dangers of play waterbeads. Sold as tiny pellets that expand when soaked in water, they are popular for sensory activities, however they are a choking risk for young children and if ingested may cause intestinal damage. The Child Accident Prevention Trust has published safety guidance on their website and is advising early years providers to “Carefully weigh up the risks and benefits.” before offering them as a play experience.
Use our Activity / Risk Benefit Assessment Templates to consider the learning benefits of various activities whilst also assessing and managing risks.
⚠️Blind cord safety
In another safety message, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is warning that blind cord safety must be taken more seriously. Safety standards were introduced in 2014 legislating that child safety devices are to be fitted to any new blinds with looped cords or provided with the sale, however research shows that thousands of homes across Britain have blinds which are non-compliant.
You can check Blind Cord safety advice and find a Make it Safe Leaflet to share with parents on the RoSPA website
Our Risk Assessments Pack will also help you to evaluate the risks in and around your childcare setting.
🦷Child tooth decay concerns
Concerns for children’s oral health have been raised following the government’s National Dental Epidemiology Programme survey which showed that almost one in four young children have experienced tooth decay by the time they are five. The survey highlighted deprivation to be a key factor with children in deprived areas being almost three times more likely to experience tooth decay. With many families also having problems accessing NHS dental care the outlook for our children’s teeth is not looking good.
Care standards outline the duty we have to support the health and wellbeing of children, including that of their oral health. We must support families to encourage healthy habits and help children learn about the importance of looking after our teeth.
🦷Find a Dental Hygiene Policy template included in the Policies & Procedures Pack
🪥A Dental Hygiene Support & Toothbrush Log included in the Care Plans & Consents Pack
🍏and resources to teach children about eating healthily and looking after our bodies and teeth in the Healthy Eating Pack.
For providers registered in Scotland (Care Inspectorate)….
📜Programme for Government – Focus on Childcare
The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government was announced earlier this month with childcare being a top priority. The principle focus of the programme is to tackle poverty and the government has recognised that accessible childcare is crucial in enabling parents to work which in turn will support the wider economy.
Childcare commitments within the programme include:
- a shift to more targeted support (for those who really need it) rather than universal entitlements
- a minimum hourly rate of £12 per hour for providers (including childminders) delivering funded ELC
- measures to support childminders in their role to improve retention of the workforce, including a reduction of paperwork and mentoring support
- the scaling up of innovative pilots to recruit and retain childminders and grow the workforce by 1000 more
- plans to increase funded ELC for two-year-olds
- expansion of the Early Adopter programme to include two additional communities in Fife and Shetland
Read more about the Programme for Government & What This Means for Childminding from the SCMA.
📄Shared Inspection Framework Progress
In a joint statement from the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland, we have learned of progress towards the delivery of the shared inspection framework. Following the results of the Scottish Government consultation last year and an extensive online and in-person engagement programme, views have been gathered from across the sector. The findings have now been thoroughly analysed and discussed with a stakeholder group of representatives and work is underway to deliver a draft document of the new shared framework in the Autumn.
Find further information and an infographic explaining the progress here
🚼Updated nappy changing guidance for Early Learning and Childcare Settings
The Care Inspectorate have updated their nappy changing guidance for ELC settings (excluding childminders). The guidance sets out the minimum requirements for nappy changing with revisions made to strengthen the importance of infection prevention and control following the Covid-19 pandemic and recent E.coli outbreaks across Scotland.
The revised nappy changing guidance can be found here.
NOTE: Whilst this guidance does not apply to childminders, it may still help to inform your practice. Childminders should continue to refer to Appendix 8 — Toilet, potty and nappy changing of the Infection Prevention and Control in Childcare Settings (Day Care and Childminding Settings) Guidance
👉🏼Find a template Nappy and Toilet Training Policy included in the Policies & Procedures Pack.
Our Baby Care Pack has lots of ideas to ensure babies are safe and comfortable.
The Care Inspectorate have been developing self-evaluation toolkits to support early learning and childcare services (including childminders) with self-evaluation. A draft of templates, tools and worked examples are available to download from the Care Inspectorate website which will be further developed following the feedback submitted earlier this month.
Minding Kids receives a lot of questions on self-evaluation and understands that this is an area where many of you feel lost as to what exactly is being asked and expected of you.
Our Quality Framework Service Evaluation resource goes through the Care Inspectorate’s Quality Framework Key Questions in detail with an editable EXAMPLE that should be used only as guidance to help you with ideas for your own evalution. Whilst larger settings will require this scale of in depth analysis, feedback from recent inspections suggests that the Care Inspectorate are looking for a more simplified approach from childminders. We are watching this closely and are already working to put together a new Self-Evaluation Pack in line with the Care Inspectorate’s format of ‘How are we doing?’, ‘How do we know?’ and ‘What are we going to do now?’
👀Keep a look out for further details of the new Self-Evaluation Pack coming soon!
For providers registered in England (Ofsted)….
The new 2023 ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage‘ is now in place with some minor changes from the 2021 version:
- the minimum staff:child ratios for 2-year-olds in England has changed from 1:4 to 1:5 – NOTE This applies to Early years providers (other than childminders)
- Childminders can care for more than the specified maximum of three young children if they are caring for siblings of children they already care for, or if the childminder is caring for their own child; – NOTE The wording here has been changed from ‘own baby’ to ‘own child’
- clarifying that ‘adequate supervision’ while children are eating means that children must be within sight and hearing of an adult.
Find the 2023 Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage here
📝Ofsted inspection handbook update
Revisions have also been made to Ofsted’s Early years inspection handbook.
A summary of the changes can be found here.
Particular attention should be made to the Safeguarding section as there is a lot of new wording here.
✔️This blog from Sarah Neville of Independent Childminders is a very useful read.
2️⃣Best Start in Life – Part 2
Ofsted have published part 2 of their Best Start in Life series which aims to support early years practitioners in raising the quality of early years education. Part 2 focusses on the 3 prime areas of learning: communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. It highlights how the prime areas are interlinked, how high-quality interactions are key to promoting communication and language skills, why positive relationships are essential for emotional wellbeing and how physical development opportunities support academic achievement in addition to health and fitness.
Find the Research and analysis review here: Best start in life: a research review for early years
🌟The message for early years providers is to prioritise the prime areas when planning your curriculum. Find more ideas in our EYFS – Planning YOUR Curriculum Hot Topic.
⬇️Data confirms declining childminder numbers
Ofsted have published their research and analysis of childminder data for 2022-23 which has again confirmed a worrying trend in the decline of childminders. Their report shows a fall of 50% within the last decade with only 27,900 registered in 2023 compared with 56,200 in 2013. Data also concluded that more childminders are leaving the profession each year than joining and that the average registration length of a childminder has also fallen with 18% quitting within the first 3 years. It is clear that big changes are needed to improve conditions for childminders and to recognise the crucial part they play in the childcare workforce.
Read Ofsted’s Research and analysis: A focus on childminders
🤝New childcare coalition
A new coalition of early years and childcare organisations and charities has formed as a result of the current crisis in early education and childcare. Made up of more than 30 organisations including PACEY, Save the Children, the National Children’s Bureau, The Early Years Alliance, UNICEF, NDNA and Oxfam, The Early Education and Childcare Coalition (EECC) is calling for a shake up of government policy that will prioritise early years education and childcare and create a system that works for all. Their work will include research into public models of funding, investigating solutions for scaling the workforce in order to meet demand and analysis of public attitudes toward the sector.
💷Funding rates increase
From the start of September, funding rates increased for all nurseries and childminders in England. The hourly rate paid to early years providers for delivering government funded hours has risen from an average of £5.29 to £5.62 for three and four-year-olds, and from £6.00 to £7.95 for two-year-olds.
For providers registered in Wales (Care Inspectorate Wales)….
🧸NEW Early Childhood Play, Learning and Care (ECPLC) Resources
As part of the Early Childhood Play, Learning and Care (ECPLC) approach for 0-5 year olds, a new collection of resources has been published by the Welsh government to support providers. Developed through co-construction by practitioners, for practitioners the resources include Developmental Pathways for 0 to 3 years, a Reflective Practice Toolkit and A Quality Framework for Early Childhood Play, Learning and Care in Wales.
Find the new resource suite here
✅Assessment arrangements for funded non-maintained nursery settings
In July, The Welsh Government published Assessment arrangements for funded non-maintained nursery settings. The arrangements have been designed to support settings to:
- understand progression in children’s learning
- apply the principles of progression in practice
- develop a shared understanding of progression across the setting
- use observation to inform provision that supports children to make progress
- know about and implement initial and ongoing assessment arrangements
For all providers, including childminders, the guidance can be used to support you with observations, assessment and supporting children’s progression.
Since our last News Update we have added and updated the following resources…
2023 / 2024 Academic Activity Planner – Set out your topics, themes and activity ideas for the entire academic year.
Needs Expression Cards – Support children in communicating their needs and wishes. ✔️Promote speech and language development✔️Learn new words and vocabulary✔️Build confidence and understanding✔️Support communication techniques. A visual support tool for SEND, EAL (English as an additional language) and non-verbal children.
Holiday Care Contract & Forms Pack – 🌟Now includes PERSONALISED DESIGNS … add your Business Name!
FREE Black History Month Activity Ideas Sheet! – Celebrate Black History Month, inclusion and diversity in your setting. With this FREE Activity Ideas Sheet, learn all about Black History, influential figures, famous inventors, and be inspired by African-American culture and traditions.
we have provided…
AND Published our NEW HOT Topic The Right Resources
Finding suitable solutions to help keep on top of paperwork and manage your childcare setting efficiently is essential for success! – Minding Kids can help find the RIGHT Resources for YOU…
Remember Minding Kids Members have unlimited access to all Minding Kids resources immediately as they are added or updated!
🌟NEW SELF-EVALUATION Resources!
Thank you to all for your continued support!