SureStart EAD TU TUACLA KTII BW EO OGN WROTN B AU L RHT£ O H5£0BTB 10,5LYES 00 WIN ! ISSUE 16 AUTUMN 2007 www.surestart.gov.uk THE MAGAZINE FOR PEOPLE WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES How to help parents get back to work PAGE 10 BALANCING ACT MAKING FLEXIBLE WORKING DELIVER FOR YOU PAGE 20 ED BALLS ON WHY EVERY CHILD MATTERS PAGE 6 WAYS TO SUPPORT NEWPAGE MUMS 8 SUB S FRECRIBE FRE CAL E! EPH L 0 810 80 ONE 16 243 [contents] FEATURES Ed Balls We talk to the new Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families about his vision and hopes for the future 8 New parent primer Have questions about how to support new parents? Read the answers from our experts 10 Getting back to business As children get older, many parents want to get back to work, but doing so can be tricky. Try these ideas to help them 14 16 All systems are go The new ContactPoint database, set to go live in 2008, will make it easier to ﬁnd out who is working with children in your care Cultural connections A bilingual support worker shares her experience of working with different communities and languages in Portsmouth 18 Need to know: ADHD What to watch out for and how to support a child with Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity Disorder 20 Flexible working With a little give and take, it can beneﬁt both staff and employees 3 REGULARS News The latest research, facts and ﬁndings - plus more on the EYFS 22 Resources Awards and workshops, plus books, events and great days out 24 Over to you Your pages: share a tip or resource 26 A day in the life On the beat with a Safer Neighbourhood Ofﬁcer 27 Letters A selection from our postbag 10 Find out how to support parents going back into employment Welcome to our autumn issue! As you probably know, Sure Start now falls under a department with a fresh new name: the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). It’s responsible for improving the focus on all aspects of policy affecting children and young people as part of the Government’s aim to deliver educational excellence. Our features showcase that excellence where it’s already happening. For starters, on page 10 we’ve been asking family support workers about what really gets results when it comes to helping families into employment. Work with children who have English as an additional language? See page 16 for tips and strategies. And on page 8 there’s a focus on supporting new parents, gleaned from settings with good practice to share. Happy reading! Sheila Scales Director, Sure Start, Extended Schools and Special Needs Group Editor Melissa de Villiers Art director Shirley Saphir Chief sub-editor Jill Starley-Grainger Editorial assistant Alice Makoni Production manager Brian Ventour Account director Tiffany Van der Sande Editorial director Juliet Warkentin Creative director Paul Kurzeja For DCSF: Jon Spencer DCSF Communications Director: Caroline Wright Director, Sure Start, Extended Schools and Special Needs Group: Sheila Scales For enquiries regarding the Sure Start, Extended Schools and Special Needs Group, call 0870 000 2288 Sure Start magazine is published on behalf of the Sure Start and Extended Schools Group by Redwood, 7 St Martin’s Place, London WC2N 4HA © Redwood Publishing Ltd, 2007. All rights reserved. While reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without prior permission of the editor, permission is granted to reproduce pages for the purposes of circulating information about Sure Start, and for staff training. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the author, not Sure Start. Sure Start cannot be held responsible for the contents of any third-party web pages or reports referenced. The Sure Start, Extended Schools and Special Needs Group is part of the Department of Children, Schools and Families. Get in touch! L FOR MAGAZINE ENQUIRIES Please write to Sure Start magazine, 7 St Martin’s Place, London WC2N 4HA or send an email to [email protected] L JOIN SURE START’S ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM Visit www.surestart.gov.uk/forums Sure Start magazine is now available on tape for visually impaired readers. For details, call Susie Fisher on 0117 973 6013 or email [email protected] WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUBSCRIBE OR ORDER MORE COPIES? If you work with families and children, you can subscribe free of charge. Just ﬁll in the form on the back cover, or go to www.datadirectltd.co.uk/surestart COVER: CLAIRE DAVIES PHOTOGRAPHS: JO MIESZKOWSKI , ROB ADEY 6 [news] All the latest early years facts and ﬁndings, plus more on the Early Years Foundation Stage JOIN THE GREAT GRUB CLUB L A new website from the World Cancer Research Fund aims to tackle childhood obesity by getting four- to seven-year-olds interested in living a healthy lifestyle. The website offers a range of activities for children to try, from healthy recipes they can cook to exercise games, fun quizzes and competitions. L www.greatgrubclub.com Couch potato kids A new University of Leicester study reveals that physical inactivity among children has reached ‘epidemic levels’. Researchers surveyed more than 3,500 pupils from ﬁve inner-city Leicester secondary schools for the study. Childcare workers are key to turning this around, helping reduce the risks of young children developing diabetes and heart disease. FALL FUN AND FROLICS Check out these key dates to help you plan activities PHOTOGRAPHS: ALAMY, GETTY, WWW.SXC.HU, THE PICTURE DESK Reely good Get kids to draw a picture of a ﬁlm like Happy Feet to win a great prize For National Schools Film Week (15-19 October), the organisation Film Education is running a Mini Film Fan Competition to give children aged three to seven the chance to win some fantastic prizes, including a Yamaha theatre system. To enter, children must design a poster or draw a picture of their favourite ﬁlm. Entries must be submitted by 21 September 2007, so get your skates on! L www.youngﬁlmcritic.org 23 Sept – 23 October: Seed Gathering Season Make the most of trees with The Tree Council’s autumn festival. Visit www. tinyurl.com/2p2yft 1-31 October: International Walk to School Month Join in an event to promote walking. Visit www.iwalktoschool.org 1-31 October: Black History Month Celebrate the contributions of black people from around the world. Visit www.black-history-month.co.uk 1-31 October: The Big Draw Sharpen your pencils for a month of creativity. Visit www.thebigdraw.org.uk 19-23 November: Anti-bullying Week This year’s theme is ‘Community Cohesion’. Visit www.antibullying week.co.uk [news] CASH INJECTION FOR EARLY LEARNING AT HOME L A new scheme has targeted £9 million in funding to develop fresh ideas on how to connect with hard-to-reach parents and encourage them to help their children. Proposals submitted by the local authorities include giving parents learning diaries and albums for their children so they can discuss progress with professionals, and showing parents how to use music and singing to help their children learn to speak and listen. Other authorities are planning to engage fathers and granddads by recording them reading stories and organising gardening activities. The one-year programme – part of the Parents as Partners in Early Learning (PPEL) project – will provide training for early years staff working with families in the 30 per cent most disadvantaged areas in 41 local authorities in England. The consultation can be accessed at www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultation. Raising Standards: Improving Outcomes What it’s all about? The DCSF has just consulted on the draft statutory guidance on the new early years outcomes duty being introduced under the Childcare Act 2006. What is the outcomes duty? This new duty comes into force on 1 April 2008 and requires local authorities (LAs) to improve the ﬁve Every Child Matters outcomes for all young children aged 0-5 in their area and to reduce inequalities between them. LAs must ensure the delivery of integrated early childhood services that encourage access, particularly for the hardest to reach families. What’s the aim of it? The guidance is meant to make clear the new statutory duties and Government’s expectations of what LAs and their partners must achieve. The provisions of the Act set out the minimum statutory requirements, but the detail of how these are fulﬁlled will vary from LA to LA. The guidance sets out to strike the right balance between central direction and local autonomy. What difference will it make? To ensure children have the best possible start in life, we need quality services integrated at the point of delivery. This requires an integrated approach at all levels. Where can I ﬁnd out more? You can ﬁnd the draft guidance on the Sure Start website and look out for the Government’s consultation response and the ﬁnal guidance later this year at www.surestart.gov.uk 4 96% of three- and four-year-olds are taking up free early education entitlement, DCSF statistics reveal. Figures show that there are now 1,130,00 children taking up places, compared with 1 1,1 110 10,00 last yearr. See www.d dcsff.gov.uk/s / tatistics Beep Beep! Day aims to improve road safety Every 16 minutes, a child is hurt on UK roads. Now Brake, the national road safety charity, is urging nursery schools, childminders and preschool groups to get involved in its Beep Beep! campaign and raise awareness of life-saving road safety lessons. L To order an information pack, email [email protected] with your name, the name of your nursery or playgroup, and a daytime telephone number. L National Road Safety Week takes place on 5-11 November 2007. Visit www.brake.org.uk www.surestart.gov.uk Home visits key for early intervention A new qualification for teens interested in working with children will be launched in September 2008. The Society, Health and Development Diploma is available at Levels 1, 2 and 3 and will enable progression to degree-level qualifications. Contact [email protected] 1 Effective home visits are the best way to engage vulnerable and excluded parents in family support services, according to a new study involving Sure Start local programmes. Researchers from the Family and Parenting Institute (www.familyandparenting. org) also found that successful service delivery depends on involving parents in the planning and delivery of services, and that whole centre training for staff helps deliver a more cohesive strategy. For a copy of the report, email [email protected] andparenting.org A new programme in infant 2 massage has been designed to meet an increasing demand for teachers. The Touch-Learn Infant Massage Teacher Training Programme runs from 19 Sept 2007 to 17 Jan 2008. www.touchlearn.co.uk PHOTOGRAPHS: ALAMY, CORBIS, WWW.SXC.HU, GEMMA DAY, GETTY EYFS: Putting you in the picture with Ruth Pimentel As we reported last issue, the EYFS framework has now been produced and is steadily ﬁnding its way into the hands of practitioners. This usually happens via a local authority (LA) brieﬁng event, but you can also order a copy from the DCSF orderline on 0845 6022260, quoting 00012-2007PCK-EN. Our feedback has continued to be very positive. The high hit rate on the EYFS website (www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/eyfs) indicates that many of you are ﬁnding this a really useful way to access the materials. Summer saw a new announcement of additional funding for the training offered to practitioners through their LAs. Additional funding has also now been made available to provide supply cover and for LAs to use to support the current training to PVI providers. Good progress is being made with developing the level 3 units of learning, too. Issue 15 Autumn 2007 L More information on this is available on the Children’s Workforce development Council website www.cwdcouncil.org.uk/ projects/eyfs.htm. It’s pleasing to know that funding for these units is available through the Transformation Fund. We are also getting a very pleasing response to the new ‘Letters and Sounds’ resource, an additional set of materials that focuses very speciﬁcally on high quality phonics teaching. It’s well worth having a look at these materials as they describe the importance for all children of making a good start through the development of speaking and listening activities, and there is some excellent DVD material showing the role of the practitioner. L For more information, visit www. standards.dcsf.gov.uk/clld. The materials are available to order from the DCSF orderline 0845 6022260, quoting 00282-2007 PCK-EN Society still fails to recognise 3 the importance of fathers, warns a report by the Equal Opportunities Commission. ‘Fathers and the Modern Family’ says that men are eager to be more involved with their children but face barriers at work and in public services. www.eoc.org.uk 4 The Department of Health has published two new resources practitioners can pass on to new parents, providing the latest advice on key aspects of child health and having a healthy pregnancy. ‘Birth to five’ and the ‘Pregnancy Book’ are available at www.dh.gov.uk England cricketer Freddie Flintoff has been voted Celebrity Dad of the Year, according to a poll by Virgin Money. Gordon Brown, David Beckham and Paul McCartney all made the top ﬁve. 5 [profile] Ed Balls WORDS: MELISSA DE VILLIERS all our schools, particularly around improving core literacy and numeracy skills. Other key goals include increasing achievement for all young people and giving teachers the kind of support and ﬂexibility they need in order to excel. I also want to raise the bar on universal children’s services. We need to create a more coherent approach so that we can identify potential problems early and intervene more quickly and effectively when children are at risk. This is at the core of our ‘Staying Safe’ consultation. What’s the most fun you’ve had in your new role so far? I thoroughly enjoyed spending a day at Banbury School in Oxfordshire. We’d only told the headteacher and senior teachers For the ﬁrst time, there is now a Cabinet minister with that I was coming, so as far as everyone else was concerned, I was responsibility for children. What are the implications of just another ofﬁcial visitor. It was like going undercover and a great this change? experience to spend a whole day there. Quite simply, it puts children at the heart of Government, allowing us I went to a senior staff meeting, then a staff meeting and also to reﬂect their needs across a broad range of policies. We are now talked to teachers and pupils. I was able to sit in on some lessons in a unique position to make sure that all children and young people and have lunch in the staff room. I was really impressed, but fully beneﬁt from what should be an age of also struck by the complexity of the daily challenges the staff faced. It helped “I want to raise the bar on opportunity for all. me understand all the hard work that universal children’s services In terms of policy affecting teachers and school staff are doing at this excellent school. and create a more coherent children, what’s been your greatest achievement so far? It’s still very early days, so I’m not sure I can In terms of policy affecting children, approach so that we can claim any great achievements. But I am what does the new Department intervene more quickly pleased that we have started a debate about for Children, Schools and Families when children are at risk” the best ways to keep children safe and the do that the old Department for balance that parents need to strike between Education and Skills did not? protecting their children and allowing them to learn, explore and The new Department structure will allow us to give a relentless experience life safely. focus on the needs of children. It brings together for the ﬁrst time all policy affecting children and young people, including schools and You have three children. What about your own personal standards, children’s health, sport, and youth justice. experiences of family life? How do these shape your This gives us a really exciting opportunity to develop a coherent, attitudes to children’s services? integrated strategy ensuring all children are supported to pursue Like all parents, we often struggle to combine work and home life their talents to the full, be properly looked after and helped to be successfully and it can be pretty hectic sometimes. But what we happy and healthy. It’s a simple but challenging aspiration, one that are trying to do as a Government is make this juggling act easier requires us to forge closer and better connections between schools for families by offering more comprehensive support. For example, and across the full range of children’s services. And that’s exactly we’re committed to developing the Sure Start programme and want what the new Department is here to do. all schools to offer extended services by 2010. So we’re exploring ways in which children’s services can collaborate more effectively to What are the new DCSF’s priorities? help parents and children alike. There are many key priorities, but they all centre on providing excellent services for all children and families, and more support for those who need it most. We are making a huge investment in Where to next? early years to improve life chances for all children. We have already L The purpose of the ‘Staying Safe’ consultation is to set out opened more than 1,300 Sure Start Children’s Centres and we know how we can work together to help children and young people stay that parents value them highly. Now we need to build on that work. safe and fulﬁl their potential. For more information, visit www.dcsf.gov.uk/ Education is vital, and we must continue to raise standards in consultations 6 PHOTOGRAPH: PA PHOTOS The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families aims to offer children and families more comprehensive support [you ask, we answer] A helping hand Providing support to new parents is vital both for their well-being and that of their child. Because children’s centre practitioners have to deal with people in all sorts of circumstances, it can be tricky to ﬁgure out how to help. Our panel of experts gives advice on assisting new parents in those important months after a baby is born Our experts Amy Semple Policy researcher, babyfeeding, National Childbirth Trust (NCT) R Ricky Hurley Midwife, Sure Start Denaby and Conisborough Children’s Centre S Sue Edwards Shona Gore S Antenatal Antental tutor, teacher, postnatal NCT leader, NCT M Mary Newburn Head of policy research, NCT WORDS: ELIZABETH HOLMES Breastfeeding is often an issue for our new mums. How can we provide the best support for them? AS Breastfeeding support groups mean that mums can be shown correct positioning while having the opportunity to talk about problems. These can be run as part of a post-natal group or as an informal drop-in. Our breastfeeding counsellors train local mums to be peer supporters. It’s also important to make sure your centre is breastfeeding-friendly, with quiet areas for mums who would like privacy. RH We set up a New Mums’ Group at our children’s centre to offer advice and support. It’s a fantastic formula! We offer a rolling programme with topics including breastfeeding and we keep the sessions very informal. We offer one-to-one advice too and provide videos and booklets. Sleep is important for parents and babies, but quiet nights can be difficult to achieve. Is there an easy way? AS One potential strategy is to help new mums develop a consistent routine of 8 calming activities, such as a nightly bath, reading a story or singing a song. If a baby is wakeful at night, she might need feeding or a nappy change. Keep lights low and the room quiet so she knows to go back to sleep. Sleep-focused sessions for new parents can be really helpful. Post-natal depression makes everything harder for new mums. Any tips? SE Running courses and drop-ins at Sure Start Children’s Centres that help people focus on their experience of parenthood enables them to become more conﬁdent in their role. We aim to discuss different parenting styles to allow people to make decisions about what is right for them and ease some of fear of doing it wrong. RH We have found that supporting women from a range of services helps best with post-natal depression. We offer reﬂexology, Indian head massage and ‘Buggyﬁt’ sessions (brisk walking and toning exercises). We also liaise with local health visitors and GPs if anyone has severe signs of post-natal depression so that early, appropriate support is given. We are making progress with our support for teenaged parents but want to do more. What really works? SG When working with young parents, it’s important to meet their needs rather than try to make them ﬁt into current groups. Allow for school or work commitments when choosing a time to meet, and contact the group through texts. Also try to establish a partnership with an organisation already successfully working with young people.The NCT is working with Connexions to deliver free post-natal courses, and it also offers a Young Parents’ Toolkit for health professionals. RH We have a high level of teenage pregnancy locally and have found that running separate groups for these mums works best. We hold a Teenage Baby Talk Café every Tuesday at our children’s centre to offer access to support on everything to do with pregnancy and babies as well as on housing and beneﬁts. Premature babies have their own unique needs, and it is often impossible for new parents to prepare for this www.surestart.gov.uk What really works? eventuality. Should we be doing more to help them? PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY MN Many premature babies have ongoing problems and are demanding feeders, which can take its toll on parents. Support could be facilitated by a speciﬁc group or drop-in session, delivered by staff trained to work with parents dealing with the practical and emotional pressures of having a premature baby. BLISS, the premature baby charity, provides a wide range of information that can be made available to parents at your centre. The NCT Experience Register puts parents in touch with people who have experienced the same situation as them and can be very helpful in providing an opportunity to share distressing feelings. Our children’s centre is based in a very diverse community and we know we are not reaching some of the most excluded families, such as those from small ethnic minority groups. Any advice? RH What works well is consulting widely and trying to involve parents as much as possible in designing your family support Issue 16 Autumn 2007 services and the manner of their delivery. Then, to keep families engaged, I’d suggest taking advice and guidance from as many community members and as wide an age range as possible to ensure you reach the different generations. It’s also essential that staff are trained to have at least a basic understanding in order to offer appropriate services and avoid giving offence. Where to next? LInformation about the Sure Start Children’s Centres Practice Guidance can be found on the Sure Start website. It’s been updated to include new sections on working with families and children in vulnerable groups and additional case studies from children’s centres. Visit www.tinyurl.com/3aovsc LContact the NCT for advice on speciﬁc issues. NCT Breastfeeding Helpline: 0870 444 8708, NCT Pregnancy and Birth Helpline: 0870 444 8709 LThe NCT offers training for health professionals and Children’s Centre staff, including running effective antenatal classes for teenagers, enabling mothers to breastfeed for six months, and postnatal depression: 020 8993 3441, [email protected] LBLISS, the premature baby charity website, offers advice about newborns: www.bliss.org.uk L Offer a rolling programme of topics for discussion during group meetings so that newcomers can access information and regulars have the opportunity to revisit key issues. L Blend group and individual support. We can all learn from each other, but one-to-one has its place. A particularly effective method is to make staff available for private conversations after group sessions to ensure that concerns and anxieties are dealt with. L Make use of knowledge within groups to enhance peer support. This is a really valuable resource which can boost confidence and self-esteem as well as helping to ensure that those who need support receive it. L Offer needs-led services that build on existing strengths. While problem solving is certainly part of the work of a children’s centre, strength-based working builds on existing skills, abilities and resources to bring about positive results. L Offer new parents with older children the opportunity of some child-free time. Playgroups and crèches can free up time for parents to focus on their new babies and find solutions for issues facing their families. 9 [family support] Parents often want to get back into work as their children grow up, but they can ﬁnd it difﬁcult getting the help they need. Children’s centres play a crucial role in offering support, training and advice, and that can make all the difference Just the job WORDS: JO STEPHENSON nemployment among parents and carers is a big cause of child poverty. That’s why one of the ﬁve Every Child Matters goals is speciﬁcally about supporting families to become economically active. But what does this actually mean in practice? For Sure Start Children’s Centres, attended as they are by a large number of parents accessing services for their children, the potential is “Centres can play a huge. The centres can provide a very role in encouraging supportive employers to support atmosphere in which parents can parents” learn about employment and training opportunities, for instance, and they Working together can also play an important role in “When it comes to improving the encouraging employers to support employability of parents, partnership parents with ﬂexible work working is essential,” says Sue arrangements and childcare. Dessent, programme manager at Of course, there are plenty of Sure Start Cauldwell in Bedford. “It’s other ways children’s centres can about going to people like the county help as well, but it’s clearly not easy council’s family learning team and to go it alone. By teaming up with local colleges, who have the tutors JobCentre Plus, the Learning and and expertise.” Skills council, local training providers In Cauldwell, where there are two and colleges, centres can ensure children’s centres, about a third of parents get the best advice and parents are of Bangladeshi, Indian or opportunities to learn new skills. Eastern European origin. Bedford PHOTOGRAPHS: JO MIESZKOWSKI U 10 College runs ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes at the Peter Pan Children’s Centre three times a week. Language skills “For many, learning the language is the ﬁrst step,” says Sue. That’s true of one mum, originally from Iraq, who’s studying English at the same time as taking a ‘Getting Started in Preschool Practice’ course. The course is run by parent development worker Jane Smyth at Bedford’s Cherry Trees www.surestart.gov.uk Advice from JobCentre staff, training information and free childcare all help parents get back into work A parent’s story Mum-of-three Sarah Hrymajlo’s life changed H after completing a range a of courses at the Cherry o Trees Children’s Centre T iin Bedfordshire “ started off trying lots of activities “I and drop-in groups at the centre a before plucking up the courage b tto try the courses, including First Aid. Cherry Trees was offering a A ffree crèche, which was great. After that, I did a longer ‘Getting A Started in Pre-school’ course. S “Things took off after that. I’d left a part-time job to spend time le with my children, so when my w Issue 16 Autumn 2007 eldest started at Cherry Trees Nursery School, which is linked to the centre, I began volunteering there. Staff suggested I do another morning a week and work towards an NVQ Level 2 qualification. I got that in 2005 before my third baby arrived. “Now I’ve nearly completed my NVQ Level 3. It’s made me feel very confident as it’s the first time I’ve done something I’m good at. I do supply work at the nursery and am thinking of getting a part-time or full-time job. That would help the family finances and mean we could afford holidays and other extras.” 11 [family support] Children’s Centre. She has 17 mums on the accredited course. Most are keen to gain further qualiﬁcations or jobs, and Jane gets a real buzz out of seeing them blossom. Both centres work with JobCentre Plus, the local extended schools co-ordinator and training providers, such as a voluntary group that trains crèche workers. “Multi-agency teamwork is really helping cut local child poverty and unemployment rates,” asserts Dean Wood, support childcare partnership manager, New Deal Plus for Lone Parents. He works with JobCentre Plus in the Black Country and does outreach work at Sure Start Tipton Children’s Centre. Tipton is part of a pilot, which means Dean can offer lone parents ﬁnancial incentives to return to work plus extra funding for childcare. Parents can also go to a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser based at the centre or beneﬁt from an array of courses, many of which take place at a local primary school, says centre manager Carol Thompson. In addition, the centre has a learning outreach worker, runs a successful volunteering programme and has What did you have to say? Join our readers’ panel: email [email protected] The article concentrates on urban childhood poverty, but rural poverty raises different issues – poor public transport, for instance, is a major obstacle. Children’s centres in rural areas that are predominantly white can also play an important role in building an awareness of diversity issues as they try to help parents back into work – this way, they start to tackle the additional sense of isolation often felt by some members of ethnic minorities in remote areas. DIANE MALTBY, manager of Sleaford New Life Pre-school, Sleaford, Lincolnshire Helping parents back into work is a long-term process that starts with building their self-conﬁdence. This can be knocked back when they ﬁnd that, by working, they can be worse off ﬁnancially. They lose assistance, such as free meals and prescriptions, and discounts on council, water rates, etc. It can make the cost of living higher. More incentives should be in place to ensure people who earn below a national agreed income continue to receive ﬁnancial incentives. FOSTER DARBY, manager, Calthorpe Park Play Centre, Birmingham 12 Computer training and group sessions are excellent ways to help parents brush up their skills good links with a council team that works with local employers. Employment issues Once someone is ready to go back into employment, there’s lots to think about. That’s why Sue Bramley Children’s Centre in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is hosting a Steps Back Into Work event, a joint project between JobCentre Plus and the local council. The two-hour session covers looking for jobs, ﬁlling in application forms and writing CVs, explains Ros Cowan, a childcare partnership manager at Romford JobCentre Plus. www.surestart.gov.uk Top tips We talked to: Sue Dessent Programme manager, Sure Start Cauldwell Carol Thompson Sure Start Tipton Children’s Centre “Multi-agency teamwork is really helping cut local child poverty and unemployment rates” Parents at the centre can also beneﬁt from New Deal for Lone Parents and New Deal for Partners, programmes that allow them to do Learning and Skills Council-funded courses at local colleges and receive childcare costs and other expenses. Team spirit The Sue Bramley centre has a regular JobCentre Plus presence in the form of lone parent adviser Lynn Moor, herself a former lone parent. She runs a weekly drop-in and does workfocused interviews there so parents Issue 16 Autumn 2007 don’t have to travel to the main ofﬁce. “I go to staff meetings and am seen as part of the team even though I’m only here once a week,” says Lynn. The fact she’s based at the centre makes the service more accessible and welcoming, adds head of centre Graham Cobb. Childcare is an important part of the equation. The centre has a 52-place nursery for working parents and is helping establish a childminder network. But Graham knows there are many factors, from health to skills, that can mean someone is not ready for work. “It can be a long-term process as you have to start by building knowledge and conﬁdence,” he says. “Different services do different parts of that work, so it really is about working together.” Lynn Moor Lone parent adviser, JobCentre Plus LBe patient Helping parents back into work and training is usually a long-term process that often starts with building someone’s self-conﬁdence and self-esteem. LKeep it simple Start by introducing learning opportunities, such as talks on ﬁrst aid or healthy eating, into sessions that parents already attend. LMake it fun Begin with fun activities you know people will enjoy. These can help sharpen someone’s appetite for learning and be a gateway to more formal qualiﬁcations and training. LTry tasters Taster sessions are a great way to showcase training opportunities. By offering lots of choice, you’re increasing the likelihood of parents ﬁnding something that suits them. LHighlight the rewards Most families will be better off if parents are in work, but it’s not just about the money. By boosting their skills, parents can improve their children’s lives, such as by being better able to help with homework or acting as a role model. Where to next? Graham Cobb Head of the Sue Bramley Children’s Centre L Check out www.direct.gov.uk for basic information about employment rights and beneﬁts, training and job opportunities L Find out more about JobCentre Plus at www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk L Get in touch with your region’s Learning and Skills Council at www.lsc.gov.uk L The Basic Skills Agency offers resources on topics such as family learning at www.basic-skills.co.uk L Learndirect gives access to online training and information about courses at www.learndirect.co.uk L Step in to Learning is a training programme that helps staff identify and guide parents with language, literacy and numeracy needs. Visit www.surestart. gov.uk/stepintolearning 13 [child protection] Making contact A new online directory aims to enable and support the kind of multi-agency working that’s at the heart of the Every Child Matters agenda. But how will it all work? WORDS: SUE LEARNER ContactPoint will hold: L Name, address, gender and C ontactPoint – set to go live across England in 2008 – is being developed as a key part of the Every Child Matters agenda. Aiming to put children and young people at the centre of the services they receive, Every Child Matters is bringing about a more integrated approach to the way services are delivered. It’s also introduced new ways of working that encourage communication among professionals from different agencies. As family support workers know, it’s not always easy to ﬁnd out who you need to talk to about a case, which is where ContactPoint comes in. The system will provide a quick way to ﬁnd out who else is working with the same child or young person. ContactPoint will contain only basic identifying information for all children in England up to their 18th birthday, contact details for their parent or carer and contact details for services working with a child, so no details of assessments or case information will be held. This will make it easier for agencies to deliver more coordinated support and reduce unnecessary duplication of work, which is better for families and the people working with them. 14 date of birth for every child in England up to their 18th birthday. L Name and contact details for the child’s parent or carer, educational setting (e.g. school), GP practice, other services, lead professional. L Details of whether a Common Assessment has been carried out, although it won’t be possible to access the assessment itself through ContactPoint). Who will have access to ContactPoint, how will they access it and how will this be controlled? It’s estimated that around 330,000 practitioners in children’s services (including education, health, social care, youth offending and some voluntary organisations) will have access to the system. It will be implemented in phases so that by the end of 2008 it’ll be available to all local authorities in England. Access will be granted only to practitioners and administrators who need it as part of their work, and only after they have been through the necessary security checks and training. ContactPoint users will each be given their own password and a security token. All users must have enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks and will also have to be part of a new Vetting and Barring Scheme when it comes into force. What processes are in place to ensure data is accurate, secure and up to date? For ContactPoint to be a useful tool, the information needs to be accurate and up to date. “The basic data needed will be provided from a number of existing sources, both national and local, and the system will use sophisticated matching technology to create one record for each child,” says Patrick Agius, head of the stakeholder management and communications team for the ContactPoint Project. ContactPoint will be automatically updated from these systems “so that practitioners will not need to manually input the same information onto separate systems. A key aim of the design is that it will ﬁt www.surestart.gov.uk conveniently into a practitioner’s daily work,” he adds. Each local authority will have responsibility for the records of children living in the authority. Authorised users will have to keep their password secret and look after their security token. Failure to do so will lead to penalties. How about the issue of consent and sensitive information control? ContactPoint will not change any rules governing conﬁdentiality or sharing information when practitioners discuss a child’s needs. Explicit consent will be needed to store contact details for practitioners providing ‘sensitive’ services relating to sexual health, mental health and substance abuse. However, “the particular details of the service will be hidden” explains Patrick. “If people have a reason to use the service, they will need to make a request to the local authority ContactPoint team. This team will pass the request to the ‘sensitive’ service practitioner who will decide whether to make contact,” he says. ContactPoint will have the facility to hide data from users in speciﬁc cases where vulnerable children are involved. This will be decided on a case by case basis. Children and parents will be able to see the information held about them and correct anything that is wrong. Local authorities have existing procedures for handling Subject Access Requests and a data protection ofﬁcer is responsible for making sure these procedures are followed. These procedures will apply to ContactPoint How does ContactPoint relate to the other initiatives regarding information-sharing and integrated working? ContactPoint will support integrated processes such as the Common Assessment Framework and integrated frontline delivery, including children’s centres and extended schools. It will aid information sharing, which is vital in making sure children get early intervention when they need it. As Patrick puts it, “The trailblazer pilots have conﬁrmed what was already well known: that families often access services in different parts of the country and across different local authorities. The overwhelming consensus from local authorities and other partners we consulted was that we needed a single, national tool to deal with this.” Matt Dunkley is director of children’s services at East Sussex, which has been trialling a local index. He believes ContactPoint “will help to both foster a multi-agency approach and provide children moving around the country with continuity of service.” Where to next? G Norman, Gail a family resource re team leader, te has been h using a local u directory for d more than m a year Pilot projects that trialle trialled local directories, often known as indexes, have informed the development of ContactPoint, and they have been running for nearly two years. Gail has been using a local index at the First Start Children’s Centre in Sheffield. “The workers use it routinely Issue 16 Autumn 2007 here now,” she says. “It’s all very easy and we have found it excellent in terms of communication between workers. It’s an internet-based site, and once everyone understood that it was secure, we didn’t have any problems.” For their local system the data has to be input manually, which Gail admits “can be time-consuming,” but “the benefits outweigh any extra time it takes to put it onto the system. When you log on, you can see all the workers who have been involved with any particular child’s case, and it gives you their contact details. I think it has helped keep workers in touch with one another to provide properly co-ordinated family support.” L Find out about ContactPoint at www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/ contactpoint L For guidance on information sharing, visit www.tinyurl.com/zdauf L Download guides for the Common Assessment Framework at www.tinyurl.com/2x2ev9 L For more on privacy and datasharing, visit www.dca.gov.uk/foi/ sharing PHOTOGRAPH: WWW.SXC.HU A practitioner’s story 15 [family support] Diary of an EAL support worker What’s the key to supporting families who have English as an Additional Language? Salma Begum, a bilingual support worker from Portsmouth’s The Brambles Nursery, shares her expertise WORDS: JEROME MONAHAN still very quiet, I’ve been getting them to join my ‘nursery narrative’ session. There, more reticent children are paired with more conﬁdent Bengali children and encouraged to talk about themselves and their home, maybe even tell a story to each other. As their English improves, they’ll join a more mixed group. APRIL Week Two Week One Phew! Another hectic week. Not that I’m complaining – I really enjoy my job, especially as it allows me to combine my training as a nursery nurse with my language skills. The Brambles Nursery offers daycare and community education to an ethnically and economically diverse population that includes a number of local Sylheti-speaking Bangladeshi families. A group of Bengali children joined us at the beginning of term and because they are Top tipnsmust be allowed re t in L Child and be taugh well k s a a e e p g s ua to they me lang their ho lish. Otherwise ur g fo n r as in E denied three o gnitive g are bein nguage and co la f o rs a ye ment. develop collection of d o o LAg ilingual coded b colour- nd reference a y picture essential. The ing w books is e open for borro e b need to . They enrich th can ts d by paren school days an their ’s children rents can read to glish n a ensure p t home in both E ge. a a children mily’s first langu de fa clu and the ond books. In y se a L Go be pes and also u lm fi ta l n a e u v g e in d bil an f music ral variety o the child’s cultu age u g reflectin d. Foreign lang un backgro rs are a great rea. pe e play a newspa r the hom fo e rc u o res Spent time showing new parents our facilities and dealing with all their concerns. One Bangladeshi mum is worried about her daughter getting wet, so I showed her our stock of spare clothing and assured her that any undressing happens very discreetly. Week Three Our weekly ‘stay and play’ session gives staff a chance to get to know parents. One of the ould port sh ual sup ring g in il B u L s d at en imum be aime enjoy the max . g n in tt re child the se tion in integra arn most when le xt. Children is used in conte on ti e a g ic a u n g u m lan if tive com L Effec nts is crucial ort p re with pa grasp and sup e to th they are and breadth of re a e h g s n ra to e re th if they a ing that d n a S F EY learn port the me. and sup xperience at ho the e n ek e s ld childre u gs sho ge L Settin n and langua local o ir ti e la th s n ia rv tra on offe EMAS, support – via the local s e ti ri autho ple. for exam tetic bilingual er a p ri e d prop P L will nee ings and ts n ta is sett ass eed ction to introdu ms. They may n g te s din n ta rs e their sy d pport un extra su ears provision. y y rl a e the The women-only language classes are popular, especially as we can provide a crèche facility mums is interested in becoming a nursery nurse and asked me about my work. After the session I took her to meet Sue Collis, Brambles’ extended schools co-ordinator, then stayed to ensure she understood what Sue told her about local childcare courses. Week Four Spent a lot of time with class teachers, helping support reading sessions. We have a big collection of bilingual books – the largest in Portsmouth according to the Library Service – and I keep an eye out for new titles all the time. MAY Week One An uncle of one of the children turned up to collect him, but as we didn’t know him, I had to phone the child’s mother. She spoke hardly any English and apologised for not letting us know. I encourage parents with limited English to come into school for lessons. We run women-only courses and there’s a crèche. Even a small phrase like ‘Miss Begum, please,’ will be invaluable if they have to call. Week Two Our topic for the term has been ‘animals’, so we’re planning a Minibeast Week. Children will www.surestart.gov.uk The Nursery’s collection of bi-lingual books make reading sessions rewarding go pond-dipping and searching for creatures in our outdoor areas. I’ve already checked any dual-language reference books we have on the subject and have joined the teachers to make sure that relevant posters and equipment are labelled in Bengali. Week Three We were worried because we hadn’t seen one of our regular boys for a week. I ring his home and ﬁnd out he’s been unwell. His mum hasn’t told us as she doesn’t like using the phone – she speaks hardly any English – though she’s pleased to hear from me. PHOTOGRAPHS: CLAIRE DAVIES Week Four Called to interpret for a mum in the New Baby support group who wanted advice from the health visitor on her child’s nappy rash. I spent the next day with the speech therapist and a mum whose daughter still speaks mainly Bengali, but isn’t developing her speaking skills as quickly as she should. It’s good that parents can come here for these appointments as it’s familiar territory. JUNE Week One A travelling farm is coming to the school so I alert staff to the cultural issues they might not have anticipated. Bengali parents will Issue 16 Autumn 2007 need reassurance that their children will not go near the pigs. We send out a letter to parents, but there are still concerns and I have to ﬁeld a lot of questions about the visit when parents drop off their children. Week Two We regularly have peripatetic translators from the Portsmouth Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) who come in to support our other EAL children. This week, I’ve been showing them the ropes and reassuring them that joining in with children’s play is just as beneﬁcial as the more formal reading and writing support they are used to offering older children. to take their shoes off, for instance, or not sit with their back to the koran. These visits enable parents to ﬁll out forms and ask questions in the privacy of their home. One mum was worried that her son should only speak English at home, but I explained how important it is that children use their own language with English – all part of the variety that makes this job so great. Week Three Where to next? I always try to let staff know when there are important religious or cultural events happening, such as Ramadan or smaller one-off festivals. There is a mela (a festival) at the weekend, and I tell staff members about it and encourage them to go. It’s a great way to meet parents and children informally. Week Four I’ve done a lot of home visits this week. Typically, I join a teacher and a nursery nurse to meet the Bangladeshi parents of a threeyear-old due to join the Nursery. I’ll brief the team so they’re aware that they should offer L The Sure Start Practice Guidance has useful information on supporting children with English as an Additional Language (EAL), in particular, Section 16: Working with minority ethnic families. Find out more at www.tinyurl.com/ypxuao L Portsmouth Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) Early Years. The site contains a wealth of information, particularly the ‘resources’ page with its lists of dual-language books and publishers. Also see the section on ‘persona dolls’: www.tinyurl.com/2dfg57 L The Bilingual Learners Early Years Work Box - a resource produced by Westminster LA: www.tinyurl.com/2ddlw9 17 [need to know guide] ADHD have ADHD, what should you do about it? Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity Disorder is an increasingly common childhood condition. How can you spot the signs? And how can you support the child with ADHD while ensuring that you meet the needs of the other children in your care? WORDS: JANICE BROWN We talked to: Monica Harris Executive Director, ADHD Family Support Group, Milton Keynes Andrea Bilbow National Attention Deﬁcit Disorder Information and Support Service What is ADHD? Sometimes referred to as hyperkinetic disorder or attention deﬁcit disorder (ADD), ADHD refers to a range of behaviours associated with poor attention span. About 1.7 per cent of the UK population, mostly children, have ADHD or ADD, with boys more likely to be affected than girls. The condition may be underdiagnosed. Children with ADHD tend to be hyperactive, impulsive, restless and inattentive. They may also have temper tantrums, sleep disorders and be clumsy. The condition often prevents children from learning and socialising well and often occurs alongside other difﬁculties. What are the main characteristics? A child with ADHD will show at least some of the following symptoms: L Overactivity A child with ADHD is usually ‘on the go’ the whole time. They are unable to sit still or be quiet, especially in situations where calm is expected, such as in classrooms and at mealtimes. They may also be clumsy and have sleep disorders. L Inattentiveness A child with ADHD will usually have a very short attention span and poor concentration. They tend to daydream and may seem to be in another world. They are often unable to settle to anything and can be very easily distracted. L Impulsiveness A child with ADHD tends to act without thinking, and is unable to follow rules or wait their turn. Temper tantrums are a common symptom. A child with ADHD might also have speech and language difficulties and autistic-type features. If you think a child might A parent’s story Mum of four, Mandy Caukwell, knew there was something wrong with her youngest son 18 “By the time Jonty was eight months old, I knew something was wrong. He didn’t sleep, w hated being cuddled, often became completely rigid and tthrew horrific tantrums. It was vvery hard for my older children, who suffered too. I went to the w doctor but she just told me to put him in a room with a mattress and leave him. She said he’d eventually get bored and drop off to sleep. I left the surgery in tears. We didn’t even try it. “When Jonty was two, he went to a playgroup but there was no structure or routine and he couldn’t cope. Neither could they. “Then I discovered my local Sure Start in Hastings. Once they got involved, things happened quickly. Referrals were arranged and the hospital confirmed that Jonty had ADHD. He joined a ‘Chatterbox’ group at the Sure Start Children’s Centre and had help from a speech and play therapist. Sure Start funded him for two-and-a-half days a week at a private playgroup with a very structured regime. They saved our sanity. My husband says, ‘Sure Start didn’t only listen; they listened and acted.’ ” Small children often have boundless energy and it’s tempting to label them ‘hyperactive’. However, there is a wide range of normal variation and apparently hyperactive children will often settle once they start school. Hyperactivity in the under-ﬁves seems to be distinguished by an inability to concentrate, with a study of hyperactive three-year-olds showing that they did not play in sequences of more than a few seconds. If you are concerned that a child may have ADHD, you should involve the relevant professionals immediately. Without treatment, around a third of children with ADHD develop another developmental problem such as a language disorder; around 80 per cent develop anti-social behaviour. Monica Harris, executive director of the ADHD Family Support Group in Milton Keynes, says, “Early identiﬁcation is very important. The earlier you diagnose, the earlier you can help with learning skills, selfconﬁdence and self-esteem. When a child is older, it is much harder to change established behaviours and to introduce the concept of learning.” ADHD requires diagnosis by a doctor, usually a child or adolescent psychiatrist, a paediatrician, a paediatric neurologist or a GP. There is no single diagnostic test for ADHD, so information needs to be gathered, including a history of symptoms, an evaluation of the child’s temperament and personality, and a family history. Psychologists, speech therapists, teachers and health visitors are often involved in the assessment. Up to half of children with ADHD can be helped by behaviour therapy alone and modifying the diet may help. Medication is unlikely to be an option in the under-ﬁves. Andrea Bilbow of the National Attention Deﬁcit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS) says, “Accessing specialist support in the www.surestart.gov.uk What did you have to say? Join our readers’ panel: email [email protected] In areas without a Sure Start centre, the health visitor is the best person to talk to if you’re concerned about a child’s development. This is our area of excellence. Getting support for a child with special needs can be a challenge for parents and the support of the health visitor, who will counsel them, speak on their behalf, and liase with other professionals, will be invaluable. JOANNA BOWLES, health visitor, Worcestershire I’m relieved to see that I’m looking out for the right indicators in the children I mind. However, in my experience, food can play a signiﬁcant part in making a child ‘hyper’. The importance of a good balanced diet can’t be over-stated. Reducing or cutting out the obvious culprits – orange squash, ﬁzzy drinks and so on – can quickly show results, with overactive children becoming signiﬁcantly calmer. ILLUSTRATION: MARINE/ZEEGENRUSH.COM AUDREY OVENDEN, childminder, West Sussex early years means much more can be done without resorting to medication.” How should early years practitioners ‘include’ a child with ADHD? How should settings provide for the children with ADHD? Children with ADHD ﬁnd it difﬁcult to concentrate on a single activity and generally don’t consider the feelings of adults and other children. Andrea Bilbow says, “A clear routine and structured activities, with clear boundaries and the use of rewards, can often help. Clear oneto-one communication is key, as is working closely with parents to ensure that the messages and approach are consistently delivered.” Health professionals, teachers and family support workers can all advise. All settings are required to have a written special educational needs (SEN) policy. Settings can request assessments from local authorities, which have a duty to identify and provide for children with SEN, including those with ADHD. If this results in a statement of special needs, the local authority is obliged to provide the educational support speciﬁed. Your SENCO can help. Issue 16 Autumn 2007 A child with ADHD might be hyperactive, ﬁnd it difﬁcult to concentrate and be prone to tantrums Where to next? L Attention Deﬁcit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS) provides information for people with ADHD, parents, teachers and health professionals: call 020 8952 2800; www.addiss.co.uk L The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group provides support and training: 01243 539966; www.hacsg.org.uk L Early Support aims to achieve better coordinated family-focused services for very young children with additional needs and their families. See: www. earlysupport.org.uk L Contact a Family is the national charity for families with children with additional needs. See: www.cafamily.org.uk 19 [your career] Balancing act Making sure families are up to speed with what they are entitled to may be a big part of your job. But are you missing out on employment legislation that can give you a better work/life balance? WORDS: KIM SULLIVAN f you thought work/life balance was just a buzz phrase and something you could only dream of, think again. Recent legislation gives employees the right to request ﬂexible working to make it easier to balance work with family life and home commitments. To date, more than two million people have embraced this way of working and now work from home, according to the Ofﬁce of National Statistics. “There are so many positive advantages to ﬂexible work practices for both sides, including the early years and childcare sector where many staff have young children,” says Cathy Rogan, a Rights Advisor for campaigning group Working Families. Employees spend more time with their families, have lower childcare costs and are generally less stressed, enabling them to give their best at work and home. The most effective way to negotiate ﬂexible working with your employer is to plan ahead. Think through how it could work for you, your fellow employees and your boss, and I present a positive scenario that clearly makes the case. “By law, the onus is on the employee to make a good business case. You are far more likely to get what you want if you come up with a good workable plan,” advises Rogan. Everyone’s a winner Flexible working works very well for the 14 staff and managers at King’s Norton Children’s Centre. “We understand the importance of staff being able to balance their working lives with their personal and family lives, so we offer part-time and ﬂexible working,” says Carol Wilkes, a manager and part of the centre’s four-person management team. Their policy has been extremely successful, with high staff retention and morale and an increase in staff motivation. The centre’s 7am to 6pm working day is split into sessions, making it easier for ﬂexible working while ensuring children have continuity of staff. “By looking after our staff, they in turn offer ﬁrst-class service to our A practitioner’s story PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY E Emma Starr w works as the ccook at the O Old School H House Nursery “I was originally employed to work e from 8.45am 8 45am to 3pm, 3p but soon found it was very awkward to ﬁt round my young son, and it all became rather stressful. I thought I might not be able to continue with the job, even though I really enjoyed it. 20 children, parents and the community. They are more willing to be ﬂexible in return when we need it.” Kelly McGrath, mother of three young children, works 18 hours a week at the centre as an early years worker. “I am employed term-times only, but I used to be here until 6pm one day a week. I suggested reorganising my hours, and now I still do 18 hours, but I tend to ﬁnish at 12.30 and top up my time when the nursery needs me. It’s perfect”. Susie Sugg worked full-time for the Old School House Nursery in Cambridgeshire as a baby room supervisor and NVQ assessor for in-house training. Currently on maternity leave, she has arranged to go back later next year for ten hours. “I talked to my manager well in advance of my maternity leave about coming back with fewer hours. It’s a question of thinking ahead and working out what will suit you and your employer,” she says. Linda Baston-Pitt, director of the Old School House Nursery, encourages ﬂexible working. “It’s a win-win situation. We retain valuable, well-trained members of staff who are less stressed, and they are more able to balance their home, career and work commitments,” she says. Where to next? L For free advice on ﬂexible working and a copy of the Right to Request Flexible Working application form, call the Working Families’ free helpline: 0800 013 013 or visit www.workingfamilies.org.uk “I was lucky because the manager of the nursery was very keen to arrange ﬂexible ways of working that suit the staff. We sat down and discussed how I could still do the job and keep things running smoothly at home, which was a great relief. I said that if I worked from 8am to 1pm, I could still do the job well. “It’s amazing what a difference it makes to me and my son. It takes the rush and stress out of the job. I can still produce the same standard of work, so my boss is also happy.” www.surestart.gov.uk Flexible working and the law LFlexible working can mean a range of working practices: part-time, flexi-time, job-sharing, term-time working, staggered hours or shorter hours. LParents of children under the age of six (or with a child with a disability under the age of 18) have the right to request to work flexibly. The request must be made before the child is six (or 18). Many carers of adults have the same rights. LTo qualify for the right to request to work ﬂexibly, you must have 26 weeks continuous service by the date you make the application. But it’s still worth speaking to your manager even if you don’t qualify. (This right does not apply to agency workers). LEmployers have a duty to give your request serious consideration, and must follow a set procedure. They can only turn you down if they can justify their decision. Grounds for refusal can include the burden of additional cost, and the detrimental impact on quality and performance. We talked to: Cathy Rogan Rights Advisor, Working Families Susie Sugg Baby room supervisor, Old School House Nursery Linda Baston-Pitt Director, Old School House Nursery LYour request should be put in writing, but approach your boss informally at ﬁrst and present a strong case for how the way you want to work will ﬁt in with your employer, stressing the beneﬁts. Give examples, such as how leaving earlier could be covered. LIf you can’t come up with an agreement that’s acceptable to both sides, you may have to make a formal request by completing a DBERR form (www.berr.gov.uk) and giving it to your employer. Your employer must arrange a meeting with you to discuss your request within 28 days of receiving it. Issue 16 Autumn 2007 21 [resources] Enlightening courses, exciting events and tons of stuff to make the most of autumn WHERE TO GO… WHAT’S ON? CRAWLEY, WEST SUSSEX L ARCTIC JUNGLE, INDOOR PLAY CENTRE With themed slides, tunnels, bridges and a four-storey playframe, children of all ages will have a wild time at this exotic location. Fire soft foam balls at mural targets or watch them descend on unsuspecting friends below. Adult participation encouraged! When Daily Where Haslett Avenue East, Crawley Cost Adults £1, children from £3.95 Details 0129 361 4999, www.arcticjungle.co.uk NORTH YORKSHIRE Awards LThe children and young people’s services awards These awards highlight the excellent work being done by workers in the children and young people sectors. Check out the categories on the website and consider putting yourself forward for one. When 22 November Where London Cost Free to enter an award, from £110 to attend the event Details 020 8267 4042, www. haymarketevents.com/awards Conference LFifth annual Sure Start conference Delegates from a range of children’s services will discuss the Government’s 10-year Childcare Strategy. When 20 September Where London Cost From £233.25 Details 020 7324 4355, www.neilstewartassociates. com/kd163 Course LFirst aid for parents and carers: at home with accidents and injury The Parent Company provides ﬁrst aid training for carers to 22 empower you to respond conﬁdently in an emergency. It covers the most common accidents and injuries. When, where On request Cost From £45 per person Details 020 7935 9635, www. theparentcompany.co.uk Exhibition LSpecial needs London This will showcase the latest teaching resources and product developments from more than 130 SEN suppliers, as well as offer professional development seminars. When 19-20 October 2007 Where London Cost Free entry to the exhibition, seminars from £10 Details 01923 690646, www. teachingexhibitions.co.uk Workshop LUsing creativity to help disturbed children Learn how to help disturbed children work through their issues with the help of creative skills and play. When 16 October, Manchester; 6 November, London; 27 November, Bristol Cost £150 Details 01323 811440, www.mindﬁelds.org.uk L SCARBOROUGH ART GALLERY Explore your inner Picasso with a range of art books, art materials and work sheets for families with kids. Draw, read or dress up for a day of creative fun. Relax on a beanbag and admire the children’s work, then set off for the main gallery’s paintings. When Tuesday to Sunday Where The Crescent, Scarborough Cost Adults £1, children under 16 free Details 01723 374753, www.scarboroughmuseums.org.uk BERKSHIRE L BEALE PARK From paddling pools to sandpits, and a children’s village to river cruises, there’s entertainment here for everyone. Visit the pet area and meet your favourite furry friends, or stroll over to the Deer Park, home to three species of deer. When Daily from 1 March to 31 October Where Lower Basildon, Reading Cost Adults £8, children aged two to 15 £5.50, under-twos free. Details 0870 777 7160, www.bealepark.co.uk MIDDLESEX L KEW BRIDGE STEAM MUSEUM Plasticine moulding, ﬂoor rubbing, jigsaw puzzles and I-Spy games are just some of the activities on offer this autumn. Steam trains have never been so much fun! Children will love trying on the themed costumes and learning about the many uses of water in the process. When Tuesday to Sunday Where Green Dragon Lane, Brentford Cost Adults £8, children under 16 free Details 0208 5684 757, www.kbsm. www.surestart.gov.uk WHAT’S OUT THERE? Lend an ear PHOTOGRAPHS: JUPITER Learning how to listen to children, or ‘tuning in’ to what they have to say, is the ﬁrst and most important step in effective communication. This 44-page guide, Listening to Children in Their Early Years (£6), provides useful information for parents and caregivers on how to get to know a child’s individual needs by seeing things from their point of view. Techniques covered include child conferencing, photography and role-play, and there are special sections for babies and children with disabilities. To order, call 01785 620364 or visit www.qed.uk.com CAREER PATH Learn about an array of jobs in What Am I?, part of Collins Big Cat series Michael Morpurgo, Shoo Raynor and Nick Butterworth, has recently added 24 new titles to its collection, including and books cost from £2.85. Combining ﬁction and nonﬁction, these 16-page books feature colourful photography and illustrations, as well as a ‘guided reading’ section at the back of each book for teachers and parents to check the child’s comprehension of the story. To order, call 0870 460 7665 or visit www.collinseducation. com/collinsbigcat Out and about Creating safe and exciting places for children to play can be a challenge, especially when there is limited space and resources. shopping for kit for a newborn baby or a toddler. To order, call 01903 828557 or visit www.which.co.uk Speakers’ corner Express yourself Learning to Talk, Talking to Learn (£9.99) is a complete guide for early years practitioners to help them tackle the development of a child’s speech and language. Alongside the 225-minute DVD – which includes karaoke songs for improving a child’s vocabulary, techniques for developing speech, information on the importance of communication, career advice and observational footage – are two posters and an online workbook. To order, call 0845 225 4073 or visit www.ican.org.uk Children need to develop emotional intelligence as much as any other skill, so this fun CD, Fabby-Dabby-Dee! It’s Good to be Me! (£11.99), makes a great tool for helping them understand and express their feelings better. Fifteen songs, with titles such as Who Wants a Friend Like Snorty Bull? and Nobody Loves Me, cover a range of issues, from bullying and falling out with friends to ‘aiming high’, while the catchy melodies and lyrics will have your whole setting singing along in no time. To order, call 0141 339 9211 or visit www. stickykids. net Buy the book The award-winning Collins Big Cat series, which contains more than 140 books by famous authors and illustrators, such as Issue 16 Autumn 2007 Environments For Outdoor Play (£18.99) is a handy 128-page book packed with useful tips and ideas on turning even the smallest area into an inspiring place to have fun. It also offers practical advice on how to build outdoor play spaces yourself – anything from shelters and paddling pools to tree houses and adventure playgrounds. To order, call 020 7324 8500 or visit www.paulchapman publishing.co.uk Shopping guide Do parents come to you for advice on what equipment to buy, and where best to buy it from? The choices can seem confusing, but the 224-page Baby and Toddler Essentials (£10.99), published by Which, cuts through the jargon and gives impartial advice on the products to buy and those to avoid – from car seats and toys, to prams and nappies – making it an excellent resource for parents who are 23 [over to you] These are your pages. Air an opinion, review a book, win a prize. Get in touch! GREEN MACHINE Childminder Shelley Farrugia from Stratford, East London tested a frictionpowered recycling truck from WOW L WEBWATCH Linda Lascelles is the Chief Executive of Afasic, the UK charity that assists children and young adults affected by speech impairments and disabilities. These are her top five web picks: SCOTTISH CHILD LAW CENTRE www.sclc.org.uk The Scottish Child Law Centre campaigns for children’s rights and offers advice on aspects of Scottish law relating to children and young people. We refer to this site because of the role the centre plays in policy development and child advocacy. 1 BBC OUCH! www.bbc.co.uk/ouch The main BBC site (www.bbc.co.uk) is invaluable for all sorts of information, but its disability section is a fantastic resource for news relating to disabilities. 2 EDUCATION LAW UNIT www.edlaw.org.uk This is Scotland’s expert legal resource in the ﬁeld of school education. It’s a useful site because of its particular focus on the educational rights of pupils who are disabled or have special needs. 3 DCSF www.dcsf.gov.uk The website of the Department for Children, Schools and Families is one we visit regularly for its wealth of information on consultation and research progress. 4 5 ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS www.additionalsupport needs.org.uk Has a useful, if brief guide to the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. 24 Flip ‘n’ Tip Fred, friction-powered recycling truck, £24,99. See www.wowtoys.com for stockists “This toy is aimed at children aged 18 months to ﬁve years and is meant to encourage recycling. The recycling truck has a lever-operated bucket for tipping waste, a waste crusher and a boy and girl recycling team. I tested it on three children I care for, aged two, four and ﬁve. They were drawn to its bright colours, size and realistic engine sounds, but disappointed that the three recycling bins didn’t open. The four-yearold quickly got the hang of the waste tipper, but the two-year-old’s interest wasn’t sustained. It wasn’t terribly challenging as the only real test was the manipulation of the levers. And it’s a difﬁcult toy to share because its size makes it hard for more than two children to play with it at once. Overall, though, the toy stimulated their imaginations, and the children enjoyed role-play as members of the recycling team. I would recommend this toy for older children – three to ﬁve years – because it generated a lot of questions about what recycling is and why it’s necessary.” If you ask me... Foundation Stage teacher Janet Kerr was initially sceptical about teaching literacy through phonics. Now that she’s used it with her reception class, though, she’s advising other schools on its merits LLike many practitioners, I’d seen the bad press about using phonics with the under-ﬁves, but I’ve been amazed at how well Letters and Sounds has worked at Pudsey Lowtown Primary School, where I teach. The children in my class were non-readers when they started and all have shown dramatic improvement in reading and writing. LTen Leeds schools, including ours, received CLLD (Communication Language and Literacy Development) training last year. I was pleased to ﬁnd that although some of the lesson plans seemed a bit dull, they turned out to be easy to adapt and link to children’s interests. LWe did just 15 minutes of formal phonics a day at ﬁrst, though I’ve recently experimented with longer sessions. Everything is very ﬂuid, and there’s no paperwork. LSome professionals feel that phonics can lead to children losing conﬁdence and interest in reading. From my experience, the children have made great progress with this method and are so proud of their achievements. L Want to know more? Go to: www. standards.dcsf.gov.uk/phonics LGot a point to make? Write to us at the address on page 2 www.surestart.gov.uk DEBATE Should extra childcare training be compulsory for all childminders? We asked four readers for their views YE S Caryn Hornby, childminder, Oxfordshire More training means the continuation of a childminder’s professional development and improves their practice. Anything that beneﬁts childminders is good for the children they care for. YE S Vivian Holloway, pre-school manager, Shropshire I’m 110 per cent for it! With the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) coming in, all settings will need an Early Years Professional leading them. Training should deﬁnitely be ongoing and compulsory. NO Phillipa Whitehead, childminder, Warwickshire Quite frankly, if an OFSTED inspection tells you that you’re good, which means that you “more than meet the National Standards,” then why should you have to do yet more training? YE S Michael Materesi, business and ﬁnance manager, Lambeth Early Years It’s important for issues like food hygiene and behaviour management, as well as ensuring that children are not merely being minded, but are actually learning. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Send an email to [email protected] or drop us a line at the address on page 2. You can also join the debate online at www.surestart.gov.uk/forums WIN N educational toys worth £500! £500! L We’re giving away £500 worth of fantastic toys from VTech, including a sing-and-discover piano, a baby’s laptop and a sit-to-stand dancing tower. VTech provide a range of quality, colourful toys using advanced technologies that encourage hands-on learning. Want to ﬁnd out more? Visit www.vtechuk.com. For a chance to win this great prize, send us a postcard stating your name, address and occupation to Sure Start magazine, Prize Draw, PO Box 49722, London WC2N 4XA by 22 October 2007. Good luck! Congratulations to Mrs Michaela Stimpson from Milton Keynes, who won £500 worth of toys from Galt in our readers’ prize draw in issue 15. * PRIZE DRAW TERMS AND CONDITIONS: 1. The prize draw is open to all readers aged 18 and over, except employees and the immediate families of DCSF/DWP, VTech, Redwood, their agents or anyone professionally connected with this prize draw. 2. The closing date for the receipt of all entries is 22 October 2007. Only one entry per person. No third party or bulk entries. 3. Responsibility cannot be accepted for incomplete, wrongly delivered, damaged entries or entries not received for whatever reason. Proof of posting is not proof of receipt. 4. Prize must be accepted as offered. No cash alternative to prize will be offered and the prize is not transferable. The prize consists of toys from VTech to the value of £500. 5. Winner will be notiﬁed by post within 28 days of closing date. 6. If the prize has not been claimed within three months of the closing date, a redraw will take place. 7. Winner will be the ﬁrst entrant drawn at random by an independent person after the closing date. 8. Promoter’s decision is ﬁnal and binding and no correspondence will be entered into. 9. Entry implies acceptance of these terms and conditions. 10. The promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should circumstances make this necessary. 11. Winner’s name and county is available 28 days after closing date – send an sae to Sure Start, Redwood, 7 St Martin’s Place, London, WC2N 4HA - and will be published in a future issue of the magazine. 12. The promoter is Redwood, address as above. Issue 16 Autumn 2007 READING ROOM Francine Bates OBE, chief executive of Contact a Family, reviews Identifying Special Needs in the Early Years by Kay Mathieson (£15,99, Paul Chapman Publishing), www. paulchapmanpublishing.co.uk What’s the book about? The title’s a little misleading; I was expecting it to explain what practitioners should look out for to identify problems children might be experiencing with their learning or development. Instead, it takes the reader through the various stages of child development and learning. Key message? It stresses the importance of involving parents and using observations to identify individual needs. Is it relevant? It has limited relevance to those already working with disabled children and their families because the book does not address what to do if there is a concern about a child, so I would question how useful it is for those interested in developing their knowledge of disability and special needs. Who should read this book? It would probably be most helpful to practitioners who are new to working with young children. Useful chapters? The chapter on ‘Sharing the learning journey with parents’ is useful as it highlights how important it is for practitioners and parents to work together so concerns about children can be identiﬁed as early as possible. 25 A day in the life Sergeant Toby McDaniel is a Safer Neighbourhood Ofﬁcer in Brixton, London As a Safer Neighbourhood Ofﬁcer in London, my main role is to get involved with the local community and to deal with their needs and problems. Crime ﬁgures show that Coldharbour ward, for which I’m responsible, is one of the most deprived and violent in the country, yet I don’t believe this is a real reﬂection of the majority of people who live here. Through regular contact, young people can get to know you as an individual rather than just a uniform. That’s really important. It means you can gain people’s trust and talk to them freely. And because school is an environment in which children feel safe and are responsive to learning, my ofﬁcers and I visit the local schools on a regular basis to talk to the staff and children, from Reception right up through the years. Once a week we conduct lessons for Years 8 and 9, dealing with the sorts of issues the pupils are likely to come across in their daily lives, and, of course, we tie all this in with the Every Child Matters agenda. 1pm A QUICK BITE and then I head off with one of my team to the housing ofﬁces on the large estates. There are many elderly people living in sheltered accommodation on the estates, and they like to be reassured about what we’re doing to make them feel safer. 9am FIRST, I GO through all the crimes that have been reported since I was last on duty. I then have a catch-up with the four Police Community Support Ofﬁcers and two Police Constables on my team. We discuss what has been going on in the area and what our day looks like. Two more Police Community Ofﬁcers are joining us soon and I’m really looking forward to having a larger team. 10am LOUGHBOROUGH PRIMARY SCHOOL has an integrated Sure Start Children’s Centre on site, which means it’s easy to involve children up to the age of 16 in our outreach programme. The children here are very familiar with us, but when I ﬁrst started visiting, they were a bit nervous. I don’t really treat the three- to ﬁve-year-olds any differently to the older children. My aim is to make them feel that they can ask me anything that comes into their head. I’ll answer as honestly and directly as I can because I don’t want to talk down to them or fob them off. Once I’ve spoken to them, I usually pop into the staff room for a chat with the staff and the head teacher. 5pm I’VE GONE MOUNTAIN BIKING for years and I really love it, especially when I’m out on the North Downs. It’s so invigorating and a real antidote to the ferrying around I do for my teenagers. They even make me park around the corner because I’m so embarrassing! WORDS: SOPHIE RADICE PHOTOGRAPHS: GEMMA DAY L L WANT TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN ‘A DAY IN THE LIFE?’ Drop us a line at the address on page 2 or send an email to [email protected] 26 www.surestart.gov.uk [letters] Have something to say? Drop us a line or email [email protected] and share your views! WRITE Star letter: Making inclusion work IN TO Our nursery has recently been approached by a family looking for a place for their son with Down syndrome. Your feature on Down syndrome (Issue 15, Summer, Need to know guide: Down syndrome, p18) was very useful. We are in discussions with the family now and are trying to take the steps to ensure that we can look after him in the best manner possible. We all feel very strongly that including a wide range of children enriches the lives of the staff and other children. WIN! The writer of our star letter will win this great 2GB iPOD NANO that holds 500 songs, so get typing. Please send your letters to The Editor, Sure Start magazine, 7 St Martin’s Place, London WC2N 4HA, fax 020 7747 0859, or email [email protected] redwoodgroup.net Money matters A vital resource I was interested to read your article on the new Early Years Professional Status (Issue 15, Summer, Status Symbol, page 8). It’s excellent that a new role has been created to lead practice across the Early Years Foundation Stage and to model the skills and behaviours that promote good outcomes for children. But I understand that it’s up to individual employers to develop salary scales for employees. Given that it’s such an important role, surely there should be a proper national pay scale for Early Years Professionals? This would really send out the message that this is a role to be taken seriously. I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy the Resources section of Sure Start magazine and ﬁnd it very useful. As a childminder, it’s essential in helping me ﬁnd out about new materials and workshops to assist in my job. The Resources section (Issue 15, Summer, p22) in the last issue was especially useful for me because I look after a Muslim child, so when I saw that a new booklet called Working With Muslim Fathers: A Guide for Practitioners was available, I ordered it. It’s helped me understand the issues the child and her parents face, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the same situation. Alice Weenon, Birmingham Patricia Starley, Newquay SureStart WANT TO GET SURE START MAGAZINE DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME? It’s so easy! For your FREE quarterly copy of Sure Start magazine, or to change your mailing details: L Complete this form and send it to Sure Start, FREEPOST LON13044, London N7 9BR L Or ﬁll in the form online at www.datadirectltd.co.uk/surestart L Or call FREE on 080 8101 6243 Grants for pregnant practitioners I’m an early years practitioner, and I’ve just discovered I’m going to have my ﬁrst child. Can you tell me if I’m eligible for the Sure Start Maternity Grant? Where can I ﬁnd more details? Jessica Gibson, Lincolnshire The Sure Start Maternity Grant is made from the Social Fund and is available from the Department for Work and Pensions. There’s no link between them and the Sure Start Unit or with Sure Start Children’s Centres. You can claim for the grant on form SF100 Sure Start, which is available from your local Jobcentre Plus ofﬁce. To ﬁnd out more, visit www.dwp.gov.uk SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR YOUR FREE COPY! Please tick where appropriate My mailing details are as follows F Please add my name and address to your mailing list F My details are incorrect or have changed F I no longer wish to receive Sure Start magazine F I would like to join the reader panel Title Surname What type of organisation do you work in? Postcode F Childminding F Pre-school/playgroup F School F Health service F Training/support F Charity F Parent F Nursery F Sure Start funded setting F Out-of-school club F Social services F Local authority F Student Initials Address FFFFFFFF Email Copies are available in these quantities F1 F2 F5 F 10 F 30 If your address has changed, please write your previous address below, or enclose the address label on your magazine wrapper with this form Previous address Which of these three options best describes your role? F Practitioner F Administrator F Management Postcode FFFFFFFF For extra copies of this issue, email [email protected] or call 0845 60 222 60. Please quote reference SSMAG16. Ê * Janet Tiddly, Hull 0 s! 0 5 toy £ ! of N I W rth o w Roar into action! DO YOU WORK WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES? The good news is that you can subscribe for free to Sure Start magazine. Simply call freephone 080 8101 6243, go to www.datadirectltd.co.uk/surestart or complete the coupon on page 27 of this issue and send it back to us. What’s more, all our new subscribers will be entered into a prize draw WOW TOYS to win £500 worth of educational toys, like this adorable tiger airplane, from WOW – a fantastic range of battery-free, high quality developmental toys that are guaranteed favourites with pre-school children. Subscribe now for a chance to WIN!
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