Your early years news, features and guides round up: 13th March – 7th April 2017

There has been plenty of early years press over the past couple of weeks. Here are our pick of the headlines affecting Wales…

What’s happening in the childcare sector in Wales

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children – Carl Sargeant, issued a written statement on 23rd March 2017, updating Assembly Members on progress with the Childcare Offer for Wales. The full statement can be accessed here



The Digital Competence Framework (DCF) encapsulates the skills that will help learners thrive in an increasingly digital world. It is one of 3 cross-curricular responsibilities, alongside literacy and numeracy. It focuses on developing digital skills which can be applied to a wide range of subjects and scenarios. A full set of resources to assist educators can be downloaded here



Flying Start in Monmouth, Abergavenny, Chepstow and Caldicot to receive £1.17million to deliver high quality part-time childcare for eligible two year olds alongside evidence-based health, parenting and early language support.

We’d like to know your thoughts on this, one reader commented “Does anyone know if this is an increase in the usual budget?”

On 27th March, Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education announced in a written statement the changes that will be made to the Pupil Deprivation Grant 2017-18 which includes some great news for the Early Years.

In her statement, the Minister said that “in taking Wales forward 2016 – 2021 we are committed to ensuring every child gets the best start in life”. It is intended that:

  • the Early Years PDG will be doubled for learners in the Foundation Phase
  • the PDG to support three-year-old looked after children will be extended at the same rate as all other looked after learners

The full statement and a copy of the letter sent to all schools and the Essential Guidance notes can be downloaded here

It is important to note that Local Authorities distribute the grant in different ways. Some are using it to fund training, providing additional support etc.

How would you like to see the money distributed? One reader said “Good news yes, but a shame that it’s not distributed to the children that need it i.e. children from areas of high deprivation”

Progress for Success (PfS) is the Welsh Governments work based training programme. PfS funds professionals within the early years and childcare sector to gain nationally recognised qualifications at Levels 2 & 3.

If you or any of your staff would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity then make sure you read the article published in our spring issue of smalltalk and on our website. Funding ends in July, details of how to access it can be found in the article also.

Make sure you follow the recently launched Education Wales facebook page for updates and announcements concerning your child’s education in Wales

Education in Wales is changing and so is Estyn’s approach to inspection. The Inspection Framework from Sept 2017 will be less detailed but will focus on the most important areas

Wales is the first part of the UK to create a national service to provide lifetime support to children and adults with autism, and their families. With an extra £7m being allocated to support autism services.

According to findings from the NDNA’s annual survey the Welsh childcare sector is the ‘most fragile in Britain’ with nurseries in Wales struggling to stay afloat due to low funding rates and rising business costs. 34 per cent said they expected to make a profit this year, while 65 per cent said they expected to only break even or make a loss.

We’re interested to see how these figures compare to our membership. Please feel free to drop us an email on the subject.

SASS part 2

We emailed members on Tuesday 4th April to clarify that the ‘go live’ date for SASS part 2 is now being forecast as late-spring. Not April as originally stated by the CSSIW.

The most up-to-date info will always be on this page of the CSSIW website with Wales PPA also being kept up to date. All developments will be posted on the CSSIW page on our website.

As always, please contact us on 029 2045 1242 or email: if you have any questions regarding the completion of your SASS part 2.

Prep sessions for SASS part 2 are being held in the following regions. You should have received an invitation from your regional manager. If not, details can be found on the website of via the links below:

Rhondda Cynon Taff & Caerphilly: 3rd May

Merthyr Tydfil & Blaenau Gwent: 11th May

Powys: 5th June

Wales PPA news

We hope you have received the latest issue of smalltalk containing this years membership form and publications prices. If you haven’t please contact us to ensure we have the correct correspondence address for you and we will arrange for a replacement to be sent.

Welsh for Childcare: The Next Steps | Cymraeg am Ofal Plant: Y Camau Nesaf

Are you a childcare practitioner in Torfaen and want to embed the Welsh language more fully into your everyday practice? Yes. Then why not sign up to Welsh for Childcare: The Next Steps.

Delivered by experienced staff from the Cwlwm partnership this FREE intermediate course will cover the following topics; me & my family, people who help us, transport, celebrations, special occasions and food & drink. Taught through stories, games, songs, arts & crafts and physical activities, you will also be given free resources specifically designed to support you whilst you embed what you have learnt into the provision.

Regional Forum (Wrexham)

The next Regional Forum will be held in Wrexham on Thursday 27th April and will be focussing on Governance.

Health & well-being

Most parents still don’t know how best to put their babies to sleep, a new survey commissioned by the Lullaby Trust has shown. The BBC posted a video starring baby James who along with his mum demonstrates to new parents some tips on how to put their infants to sleep

“Advice for parents | How to protect your children from screen overuse

  • Don’t use a digital babysitter. Babies and toddlers need a real caregiver, not a screen companion, to cuddle and talk with. There is no substitute for a real human being.
  • Wait until your baby is two or three years old before they get screen time. And make a conscious decision about screen rules for them.
  • Monitor your own screen time. Whether or not your children are watching, be aware of how much your television or computer is on at home – and how often you check your mobile phone in front of them.”

The extract above was published in an article by the Telegraph. It highlights how important it is for youngsters to be taught the essential skills to keep safe online.

Parents! Do you know what your child is watching? BBC Trending has discovered thousands of YouTube videos with inappropriate themes. They may look like versions of popular cartoons but contain disturbing and inappropriate content not suitable for children.

If you’re not paying much attention, it might look like an ordinary video featuring Peppa Pig, the cheeky porcine star of her own animated series. But soon after pressing play on this YouTube clip, the plot turns dark.


In the wake of the terror attack on Westminster, what is the best way to explain the situation to children? Gemma Allen, a senior bereavement counsellor at Winston’s Wish, Britain’s leading charity for bereaved children, offers the following tips. With particularly useful advice for pre-schoolers.

Growing numbers of under-fives are having rotten teeth removed, a shocking report revealed by the Royal College of Surgeons. High levels of sugar, plus poor oral hygiene routines and lack of fluoride in toothpaste are to blame.

According to the British Deaf Association of the 6,000 British Sign Language (BSL) users in Wales, 4,000 are deaf. When 90% of deaf children are born into hearing families the implications of this are huge as there simply is not enough support to help these families learn how to communicate with their child. This report by BBC Wales details why.


How cute are these?

If you’re on a hunt for a quick to do Easter craft idea, these cute little chicks are certainly your thing.

Are you teaching your child how to tell the time? This is a fun activity to do with them & it’s bilingual too!





…& finally

Alan Crawford seems like a fantastic role model for all aspiring childcare practitioners, not just for men. This inspirational article published by is worth being shared.








2018-01-24T10:09:49+00:00 April 12th, 2017|