Welcome to 2018 – supporting colleagues in the months ahead
18th January 2018
By Sarah Neville: Knutsford Childminding
When we welcome any new year, we think ahead to the challenges it might bring and reflect on how we can support colleagues through the changes that are coming.
Challenge is a good thing – it keeps us on our toes and makes sure we are proactive, always driving our small businesses forward. Without challenge, we might risk stagnating and not doing our best for the children and families with whom we work.
What do we think will be the main points to consider in the coming year? With my crystal ball on my desk I predict the following…
GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation will be law from May 2018. GDPR replaces the very out-of-date Data Protection Act and is an EU law which will be retained when Brexit goes through. Providers will need to comply with GDPR, update their Privacy Notice and train staff.
Bold Beginnings – this new Ofsted report is likely to bring about changes to inspections in 2018. It has already caused some providers to change how much child-initiated play they allow due to the new perceived focus on adult-led literacy and maths. We are watching this with interest: some experts believe Ofsted have started to backpedal to mitigate some of the report’s ‘findings’ in light of extensive negative feedback. Only time will tell.
Preparing children for school – following on from Bold Beginnings, early years providers have reported seeing a lot more focus on how well they prepare children for school during Ofsted inspections. I am sure there will be a plethora of books, blogs and training courses written and delivered on the subject over the coming months.
Healthy eating guidelines – the Department for Education, the Department of Health and Public Health England, with advice from a panel of early years and nutrition experts including the British Nutrition Foundation have come together to publish new healthy eating guidelines for early years. This new guidance, combined with advice to parents to limit the sugary snacks in their children’s diets is likely to find its way into Ofsted inspections in the coming year.
30 hours funding – providers continue to find this Government policy a challenge and join together to find ways round it, with many explaining the pressure they are under to parents and asking for extra fees to remain sustainable. Monthly payments were suggested for childminders as a way forward to promote the 30 hours in the Govt consultation response (Nov 2016) but many Local Authorities report that they are not set up to deliver this yet.
Staff shortages – this affects childminders and group providers and is a serious problem in the early years as a whole. While Ofsted work to try and make it easier for childminders to register (and I understand they are revamping their Nursery website over the coming months) we note that childminder numbers are still decreasing at an alarming rate and many group providers are struggling to fill staff vacancies.
Sometimes, change can feel overwhelming and this is when we need to ask for support from colleagues. There are many different places where early years providers can find advice: this Childcare Expo blog is one of them, so don’t forget to bookmark it and look out for the regular update emails in your inbox over the coming months.