The Famly Briefing
All the important nursery news, none of the fuss.

So, the winter months are here. The nights are getting colder. The days seem to come to an end just that little earlier. Or at least the sun seems to be around even less than it was before.

But the nursery news stops for nothing or no-one.

As always, we have the top ten news stories from the last month right here, in a five-minute read. Let’s get going, shall we?

1. Things you should know about

There are two fairly important changes going on at the moment that you should know about.

First up, the government is currently going through an open consultation on safeguarding. They are planning revisions to the statutory guidance on safeguarding and they want to hear from providers with their thoughts on the new rules. You can complete a survey and go to an open consultation event in a variety of cities.

Second, the government continue to support the introduction of a new baseline assessment in reception despite some controversy around the idea, and a failed attempt at introducing one just two years ago. It won’t come into effect until Autumn 2020, but it’s worth reading up on it now.

2. A tale of debates and letters

This month’s 30 hours news has been focused on continued attempts to petition the government on the underfunding, alongside a series of misleading remarks.

Robert Goodwill, the Children & Families Minister, was challenged by MPs and providers in Westminster. One nursery boss told the minister that thirty hours was being delivered ‘under duress’.

Even more controversially, a letter to a constituent from MP Dr Therese Coffey stated that the 30 hours is split between ‘15 hours of educational provision and 15 hours of general childcare without a specific focus’. Not only is this incorrect, but the idea that childcare providers are merely babysitting for the second 15 hours is deeply offensive to many, as outlined in an open letter from the Pre-School Learning Alliance.

++ The alliance have also claimed that the policy is hitting poorest families the hardest, while former Schools Minister David Laws has labelled the policy ‘utterly nuts’.

++ A nursery in Melton, Suffolk has claimed that the local council has advised them to put out collection buckets to make up for the shortfall.

3. Scotland invests in childcare

Nicola Sturgeon has promised £840m for childcare in Scotland, doubling the current rate of funding available. The plan is to deliver 30 hours of childcare for every three and four-year-old by 2020, along with a number of eligible two-year-olds. They have since published a 15 point action plan to deliver on the promise.

++ The SNP have also launched a campaign to recruit 11,000 new childcare workers. The scheme is targeted at school leavers and will try to ensure the workforce is in place to deliver on their 30 hours promise.

4. Free next steps guide

We’ve also had a big October here at Famly, and we’re proud to announce a brand new free guide for managers and practitioners. This one is all about next steps. How you make them, the knowledge you need to improve them, and expert guidance on how to make sure you’re using them correctly.

We’ve got expert insight from Sue Allingham, Laura England from Little Miss Early Years and Michael Jones from Talk 4 Learning. Join 1000s of other nursery managers who have already downloaded it and see what the fuss is all about!

5. How to change your mind

Changing your mind in front of other adults isn’t easy. But when it comes to children, it can be even more difficult, as you worry about confusing messages and losing their trust. That’s why we liked this short piece about changing your mind in front of children. In short, modelling humility to children can be a very powerful tool indeed.

6. Forest Schools

Forest Schools and Forest Nursery settings are becoming an increasingly popular option throughout the UK, and it’s easy to see why. A new report has revealed that they help develop collaborative learning skills along with practical skills and an appreciation for the outdoors not necessarily found in traditional settings.

++ At Famly, we work with an Outstanding-Rated setting called Free Range Urban Kids, who have no indoor space and exist completely in the woods. You can find out more about how they do it in our customer success story feature on them.

7. Award winning nurseries

Speaking of forest schools, Dandelion Nurseries in Aylsham has won Nursery of the Year at the Nursery World Awards 2017. A fully outdoor forest school, they were praised for their open ended activities, strong emotional and social support as well as their commitment to negotiating flexi-schooling in the community. Take a look at the full list of winners for 2017.

++ We also loved this piece on an outstanding nursery praised for their nose-blowing stations and cuddles.

8. Nursery business news

A quick roundup of all the business news last month.

++ The government are being petitioned to scrap business rates for childcare providers in light of the Scottish government’s decision to get rid of them, along with an ongoing consultation in Wales.

++ 44 setting Action for Children have launched their re-branded chain of nurseries under the name ‘Spring’ after acquiring 4Children’s 41 settings last year.

++ Nursery World reports on the continued expansion drive across the UK.

9. Rising childcare costs

Research has found that the cost of childcare for parents of one-year-olds has risen up to seven times faster than wages since 2008.

10. In other news…

++ Plans for a frightening new AI device that promised to help bring up children have been canned after many cited privacy concerns.

++ Could a robot help your child learn a language?

++ A Hartlepool Nursery hit badly damaged by an arson attack has received more than £1500 through crowdfunding and grants, along with hundreds of toy and donations.

++ Why is it that babies smell nice?

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