Famly Briefing

All the important nursery news, none of the fuss.

Will we finally see better funding rates for the 30 hours entitlement?

Well, we’ve certainly had the best indication so far that it’s going that way, as a damning report by the treasury committee has claimed an increase may be necessary.

You can read more about that below, as well as stories about men in childcare, new Ofsted statistics, risk in playgrounds and much more. All in a quick, 5-minute read. Not bad to get updated on all the important news in the sector this month.

1. The report is out

The Treasury Committee has released their report on the effectiveness and implementation of the government’s childcare schemes. And it doesn’t make for pretty reading.

In particular, the report noted that the funding rates decided on by the government were based on outdated information, with MPs labelling the rates as ‘misleading’ and calling for an increase in funding. The report also stated that is has not seen evidence that the National Living Wage and other rising costs had been taken into account.

++ This month has also seen the release of a report from Save the Children saying around half of out of work mothers would be able to return to the workplace if they could find the right childcare. Childcare Minister Nadhim Zahawi has committed to looking at evidence that non-working parents are being put at a disadvantage because of the 30 hours policy.

++ The new funding rates for local authorities have been released with the rates continuing to vary wildly across the country. In London, a survey has revealed that over half of all boroughs are receiving less than parents would otherwise pay.

++ Imagine having to take out a personal loan just to pay your staff all because your LA failed to pay on time.

2. Men in early years

This topic might not be a new story to everyone, but it’s been revealed that two in three councils have no men working in their nursery services. With many men feeling like it’s not a suitable job for them, and many parents suspicious of men looking after their children, the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.

++ Startup Manny & Me has teamed up with a provider of flexible working space to offer an Ofsted-registered creche that will focus on having as many male childcare workers as possible.

++ Lots of questions, not a whole lot of answers. That’s something that the Men in Early Years Conference is hoping to address in Bristol later this July.

3. A breakdown in communication

10 years on from the landmark Bercow Report highlighting issues with speech and language problems in young children, an updated review has talked of a ‘postcode lottery’ of support for parents. While some things have improved in the last decade, there are still too many children receiving ‘inadequate, ineffective and inequitable support’ according to the report.

4. Nursery finances out of control?

Nursery finances are rarely the reason why you get into childcare, but if you don’t get them right, it could be the reason why you’re getting out. That’s why we wrote this piece all about how to get those nursery finances under control.

Another thing that we’ve released this month is our very first video customer story. We sat down with Hannah McGoohan to hear the story of their amazing nursery, and how Famly have helped them to achieve their vision.

5. Ofsted statistics

New figures from Ofsted inspections up to the end of 2017 has revealed that an increasing number of providers have exited the sector since the 30 hours was introduced. The figures show that there are almost 500 fewer nurseries and childminders operating than the last time it was measured, four months before.

++ Want your chance to be heard on the problems you think are facing the nursery sector? PACEY are launching their annual sector-wide survey. The survey is around 10 minutes and the deadline is Tuesday 8th May. Ceeda are also calling on providers to take part in their research into delivery costs following the recent Treasury Committee report.

6. Qualifications

The early years workforce is becoming less and less qualified, after research by the Education Policy Institute revealed that for the first time in three years, qualification levels are going down in the sector. The news comes as it has been revealed that the Level 3 apprenticeship has been approved, with higher funding than expected.

++ There is concern that the change to GCSE qualifications which meant that the requirements of A*-C in English and Maths were dropped is not being properly communicated. An investigation by Nursery World has revealed that many colleges are still showing the qualifications as a requirement on their courses.

7. The studies that matter

Here’s our monthly round-up of all the stories, studies, and reports that matter in child development:

  • Darkness key to children’s sleep – Studies have found that children’s eyes let in more light than adults do, which in turn could be supressing the key hormones that they need for sleep regulation.
  • Talking and listening are key – A team of psychologists at Harvard, MIT and Pennsylvania are questioning whether mere exposure to a wide vocabulary is relevant to language development. Instead, they say the difference could be in back-and-forth conversation between children and adults.
  • Scarlet fever in Wales – Nurseries cross Wales have been warned of an increase in scarlet fever across the region. Symptoms to watch out for include a pink-red rash, white or red patches on the tongue, sickness and high temperature.
8. Risky playgrounds

How much risk do you have in your playground? This piece from the other side of the Atlantic has been praising nurseries and schools in the UK from bringing more risk into their play.

The theory is that our preoccupation with safety has prevented children from developing crucial life skills, such as independence, risk-taking and discovery. Behavioural biologist Nga Nguyen says that risk is essential in learning ‘how to use our bodies to safely interact with the physical and social challenges in the environment.’

++ Looking for other ways to turn your best practice on it’s head? Maybe sitting at desks to write is not the best way to develop mark-making skills.

9. The business bit

Everything that you need to know about the world of nursery business this month:

10. In other news

++ The Draw a Scientist test that has been administered since the 60s is finally starting to see more children drawing women when depicting a scientist.

++ Looking like their father might help children in single mother households, as they’re more likely to receive attention from their father.

++ Ever wondered why babies move in the womb? Wonder no more…

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