The Famly Briefing

All the important nursery news, none of the fuss.

What can you get done in 5 minutes? Watch an ad break and a half? Make a slightly over-stewed cup of tea? Scroll lazily through Facebook?

Or maybe you could catch up on all the juicy news from the nursery world!

This time we’ve got all the latest government changes, a complete guide to your staffing woes, and a slightly spooky job opportunity…

Hiring and firing

In the wake of the general election, a government reshuffle has seen the end of Caroline Dinneage’s time as early year’s minister. The main man is now Robert Goodwill, who will take on early years as part of his brief as Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families. Previously an immigration minister, the expanded role that has been created for Goodwill has generated some concern around his ability to give enough time to key issues during a difficult time for the sector.

++ Labour have appointed Tracy Brabin as dedicated shadow early years minister, forming part of the shadow education team. A former Coronation Street actress, Brabin took over as MP for Batley & Spen following the death of Jo Cox in 2016.

++ Outside of politics, Charlie & Lola creator Lauren Child has been named children’s laureate. Looks like she’s going to be far too extremely busy indeed.

Academic vs Play-Time

A Berkeley professor has waded into the debate on play-based vs academic learning in the early years. A recently published report from the university suggests that more academic preschools can have a significant effect on children’s cognitive skills, contrary to popular understanding that play-based education is what matters. Looks like the jury is still out.

Less than the price of a stamp…

The NDNA has revealed that the increase in funding for 30 hours amounts to no more than 40p per hour, per place, with nurseries at ‘crunch time’, as they face receiving no more than a quarter of the current shortfall. In fact, almost a third of councils have seen funding increase at a rate below inflation.

++ An international study has called on the government to increase funding to help close the gap to those children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

++ A separate study has found that at the current rate, we are 15 years away from all children being school ready by five. Not good enough, they say.

How to read aloud to children

From the guy who does it for a living. ‘“A story that should only last five minutes can take an hour, which is wonderful,” Dale says. Researchers call these story-time interruptions “nonimmediate talk,” and studies have found it benefits children’s language development. Think of the interaction between reader and listener as a collaboration more than a one-way transaction.’

++ In other reading news, campaign group PTE have called for an overhaul in how children are taught phonics across early years.

Meanwhile, back in Westminster…

The Queen’s Speech was passed, although with significant omissions from the Conservative manifesto including the plan to axe universal free infant school meals. The planned introduction of 30 hours funding will remain.

++ On a local level, the Pre-School Learning Alliance has revealed that many councils include only the bare minimum of early years representation on school forums. They are calling for a major shake-up to ensure the sector’s voice is heard.

Time to go organic?

Have you ever thought about taking your nursery organic? This nursery in Coventry was the first one in their area, and they’re expanding after seeing huge growth in their first 7 months. How do you like them apples?

Minding the children

Lots of news from the childminding sector this month. First, we saw Ofsted statistics reporting a continued decline in numbers across the country. Then childminders faced a huge data breach, as HMRC published huge swathes of childminder details without permission, including many home addresses.

++ Would you have a male childminder look after your child? On the rise of the ‘manny’.

In other news…

++ It looks like man’s best friend may have a crucial role to play in preventing asthma in young children

++ Can animal play teach us anything about early years education?

++ Childminder role for £50K a year? Where do I sign? There’s just one catch, and it’s pretty spooky…

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