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.
Wow! We are a whole month into 2018 already! We hope that you have settled well back into routine following the festive season and survived the recent cold snap. Brrrrr! It has been chilly! WELCOME to all our new visitors, and a huge THANK YOU to those who have recently purchased resources or signed up for Membership. Whether you are new to childcare or have years of experience, we hope that MindingKids can help you with the wonderful work that you do!
So what’s in the childcare news?..
Tax-Free Childcare Update
Due to huge technical problems with the website set up to administer the governments new tax-free childcare scheme, it’s full roll out has been delayed. The scheme first went live last April with all working parents of children aged four and under being able to apply, however major hiccups with the website has meant that the roll out of the scheme has been delayed much longer than expected. It was hoped that all eligible parents would have been able to benefit from tax-free childcare by the end of last year but applications were only extended for children aged 9 and under on the 15th January and will not open to all remaining eligible families (those with children under the age of 12, or disabled children under 17) until the 14th of February.
You can find information about the tax-free childcare scheme, how parents can apply and what you need to do as a childcare provider here.
100 Calorie Snacks campaign
For many busy parents the convenience of popping a pre-packaged snack into their child’s school bag or lunch box helps to ease the morning chaos of getting to school on time and despite further attempts at home to tempt children with a piece of fruit, packaged snacks are often the preferred choice. Change4Life have launched their new 100 Calorie Snacks campaign which aims to address this issue and help parents to take better control over their children’s snacking. The campaign’s simple idea of ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ can be applied to all snacks with the exception of fruit and vegetables aims to encourage parents to swap snacks which are high in sugar or fat for healthier alternatives. You can read all about the 100 Calorie Snacks campaign along with some healthy snack ideas here. Perfect for planning healthy snacks in your setting or supporting parents with healthy lunch box ideas!
For more ideas to promote Healthy Eating within your setting, take a look at our Healthy Eating Pack.
GDPR- What is it and what do you need to do?
General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR will supersede the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and come into force from 25th May 2018. It will affect all businesses across the EU including small businesses and sole-traders such as childminders. The regulation imposes some big data protection changes so we must take the time now to consider the processes that we use to collect, process and manage personal information for our clients and customers. Don’t panic! You are probably already doing a lot of things that you should be but you should take some time to learn more about the new rules and ensure that you comply. The Information Commissioner’s Office has some helpful free guidance on their website or you may wish to contact your local business advisory service to see if they offer any free training workshops. The Business Gateway also have a useful online tutorial here.
As well as checking through our own procedures, MindingKids will also be updating any resources where necessary in preparation for the new regulation. Any changes or updates will be announced on our news page.
In the North (Care Inspectorate)….
New Early Learning and Childcare Skills Investment Plan
Created in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the Scottish Government, the Care Inspectorate, Early Years Scotland, the Care and Learning Alliance, the Scottish Childminding Association and a number of other sector-led organisations, the new national Early Learning and Childcare Skills Investment Plan aims to attract a more diverse workforce in order to meet future demand. To accommodate the expansion of funded childcare from 600 to 1140 hours by 2020, the Scottish Government estimates that a up to 11000 additional workers will be required across the sector. The focus of the Skills Investment Plan is therefore to promote early learning and childcare as a positive and rewarding career pathway, highlight the current profile and skills base of the sector and look at solutions that will help to attract a wider and more diverse range of high quality candidates.
Read the New Early Learning and Childcare Skills Investment Plan here.
Care Inspectorate New Improvement Strategy
The Care Inspectorate has published its new improvement strategy for 2017-19. In line with Scotland’s new Health and Social Care Standards the strategy sets out how the Care Inspectorate plan to contribute and support the improvement of health and social care in Scotland over the next two years.
Read the New Improvement Strategy here.
Have you completed yours yet? Each year the Care Inspectorate asks all service providers to complete an annual return to assist with keeping records up to date and inspection planning. The valuable statistics collected help to gain an overall insight into childcare provision in Scotland which can then be shared appropriately with other organisations such as the Scottish Government and the Scottish Social Services Council. If you have not already done so, you must complete your annual return by the 16th February and can do so via the online eForms system here. All registered providers are required to complete a return, even services which are currently inactive. You should refer to their frequently asked questions document or contact the Care Inspectorate if you have any questions or concerns.
In the South (Ofsted)….
30 hours Funded NOT Free!
Following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, the Department of Education has now changed the wording on the Childcare Choices website. To the satisfaction of childcare providers up and down the country, the website now makes it much clearer to parents how the scheme works. The website now explains better that the entitlement is available for 38 weeks of the year but also adds that delivery may vary between providers, with some allowing the provision to be stretched over the full year. Previous wording implied that the ‘free’ hours were available all year round. Further information has also been added to ensure that parents are aware of additional costs; ‘The 30 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions.’
You can find the updated information on the Childcare Choices website here.
And read more about the complaint that was made in this Nursery World article.
Online survey finds only a third of providers offering 30 hours
An online survey carried out by the Pre-school Learning Alliance in December has found that just 35% of providers are delivering 30 hours places ‘completely free’ to all parents with many limiting the number of places they offer and / or raising additional fees and charges in order to ensure the sustainability of their business. Completed by 1662 nurseries, pre-schools and childminders across England, the survey revealed the extent of which providers are struggling to offer the new scheme with many admitting that they are struggling financially and fear they will go out of business unless funding rates increase. The Pre-school Learning Alliance has said that the findings of the survey ‘are evidence of a funding crisis and that the Government’s flagship childcare policy is failing.’
Read more about the results of the survey here.
And join the Pre-school Learning Alliance’s Fair Future Funding Campaign here.
Ofsted Annual Report & Bold Beginnings
In December Ofsted published their annual report with findings that the number of childcare providers has fallen by 16% since 2012 with a significant 26% drop in the number of childminders. Despite this drop, the quality of provision appears to be improving with the report claiming that a whopping 94% of providers are now rated as good or outstanding. However, the report also repeated controversial claims from Ofsted’s Bold Beginning’s Reception Year report published in November that ‘the early years foundation stage could be improved to ensure that children are better prepared for the national curriculum’. Following substantial criticism and demands for further explanation, Ofsted have now added an Annex to the webpage of the Bold Beginning’s report to further explain it’s methodology.
With changes likely to go ahead to improve the quality of education in reception year, there will most likely also be new expectations in the pipeline for early years providers. Watch this space!
Read the Ofsted Annual Report here.
Find the Bold Beginnings Report and updated Ofsted webpage here.
And what has been happening at MindingKids…
Plans to improve website move forward
How time flies! We have been working with our current website for nearly 3 years now and are proud to see that interest in our products and services continues to grow. We are very grateful to our members and customers who have supported us on our journey so far. With an ever expanding portfolio of resources and a continuous increase in followers, we are extremely aware of how important it is to keep our products and services up to date. We are about to embark on an exciting journey with the innovative website agency Design33 to transform and improve the website and bring it into 2018! One of the first planned improvements is to introduce a search facility to the website. As the number of products available increases, a search facility will assist our customers in finding the things they need quickly and easily. In addition to this we are looking to improve the overall design of the site so that related content and products are linked better together therefore enhancing user experience.
Updates and Improvements to existing resources
In addition to our plans to overhaul the website, and with some significant changes happening in the world of childcare, we also feel that it is time to revamp some of our existing packs. In the year ahead, as well as adding more new resources, we are also planning to revisit some of our older packs and make changes where we feel quality could be improved. Any news of changes or updates will be shared via our email newsletters and campaigns and also announced on our news page. As always, MindingKids members will be able to access any new and updated resources immediately via their subscription.
On top of all of the above, our fantastic developers are also working on some more developments for the web app. Very soon, our app users will be able to record group observations in addition to individual child observations. Perfect for observing, recording and sharing group activities! If you are not already a user, you can read all about the benefits and features of the app in the app-guide and also TRY IT FOR FREE!
Wow! January has been the busiest month ever for requests! We love hearing from our customers and if we can assist in creating or adapting resources in any way that can help your business to run a little more smoothly then we want to hear your ideas. No doubt your suggestions will also be of interest to other childcare providers too. Whilst our request list is bursting at the seams, we do try our best to get through them all…EVENTUALLY! Please keep your ideas coming!
Since our Autumn News Update the following resources have been added, updated or improved…
Remember MindingKids Members have unlimited access to all MindingKids resources immediately as they are added or updated! Click here for further details!
Updates / Amendments
Free Step By Step Guide to Registering in Scotland – updated to refer to Your Childminding Journey, the new online learning and development resource for prospective and practising childminders in Scotland.
Ratio Management Chart – New Sheets added to accommodate 4 pre-school children and product description revised in line with new ratio rules.
Logbooks & Forms Pack – Medication Administered Record updated to include reason for administering medication.
AND Coming Soon…
- Holiday Contract Form
- Settling In Session Consent
- Contract Termination Letter Template
PLUS… for our Scottish Care Inspectorate Registered Providers, in preparation for the New Health & Social Care Standards, we are currently updating the FREE Document Check-List. Look out for further details!
Remember all of our resources can be purchased separately or become a MindingKids member for UNLIMITED ACCESS to EVERYTHING!
Thank you to all for your continued support! Keep a look out for more MindingKids News soon!
Many thanks! Cheryl & The MindingKids Team! xxx