Entries by Mark

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Your Child’s “Progress Check at 2” — Explained

Your Child's Progress Check at 2 — Explained

Children in England are subject to an official Progress Check once they reach the age of 2.Both Ofsted and the Department of Education (DfE) require that all nurseries, pre-schools and early years providers in England adhere to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning and development framework. This prescribes the key areas of focus required for children’s education, learning and development, also providing guidelines and benchmarking for things like safeguarding, welfare and the continual assessment of every child under the age of 5. As part of the assessment element, a Progress Check comes into play for every child once they reach the age of 2.

The Progress Check at 2 — What’s it All About?

The progress check can occur any time from the age of 2 up to the point when children reach the age of 3. It’s a complete review of the child’s progress in key areas of their learning and development. It’s part and parcel of the EYFS’s policy of sharing information between the early years provider, parents and/or carers — and sometimes the child’s health visitor* — in order to support the child’s progress going forwards. The progress check happens jointly and a summary is provided to parents/carers in written form. This will help both the childcare provider to support the child when at nursery, pre-school or similar, and the parents/carers to support the child while they are at home.

The progress report must primarily identify:

  • Any strengths that the child has in relation to the 3 ‘prime’ areas of the EYFS The progress check identifies strengths and any concerns in relation to the 3 'prime' areas of the EYFS. (those areas being Communication and language, Physical development and lastly Personal, social and emotional development);
  • Any concerns about the child’s progress in any of those prime areas, i.e. where their progress has been less than expected. This may even include possible identification of one or more special educational needs or disabilities.

Practitioners may, at their discretion, also summarise strengths and any concerns they have in regard to areas outside the EYFS’s 3 ‘prime’ areas, for example in any of its 4 ‘specific’ areas.

Support Plans

The idea behind appraising the child’s overall progress at this formative age is, of course, to …

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FREE Childcare for Eligible 2-Year-Olds

FREE Childcare for Eligible 2-Year-Olds

The Government scheme entitles eligible 2-year-olds to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of a year.Having covered free childcare funding for 3 and 4-year-olds in England last time, we now look at free childcare for eligible 2-year-olds. Specifically, we’re looking at the Government’s scheme that entitles eligible 2-year-olds to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of a year. This is usually taken as 15 hours per week over 38 weeks, however some childcare settings can cater for a different pattern, if feasible.

The Benefits of Free Childcare Funding for 2-Year-Olds

Free childcare for 2-year-olds can be an absolute godsend for working families, often helping them to boost both household income and quality of life by being able to work while their child is safely cared for at a nursery.

It’s also hugely beneficial to the 2-year-old child, who benefits from an early start on their education. This allows them to receive an educational boost in readiness for school as they approach the age of five, meaning they can be several steps ahead, right from the moment they start. This can have a welcome domino effect. Starting early education by the age of two can lead to long-term gains including better outcomes in their lives and even eventually in their careers. Starting early education by the age of two can lead to better outcomes in the medium and long term.Such benefits, stemming from their experience at the age of just two, are incredible when you think about it. The findings are backed up by various studies around the world, including by the UK’s own Department of Education.

So, whichever way you look at it, free childcare funding for 2-year-olds is a great thing for children who are eligible — and their families.

What’s Included or Excluded

The free funding for 2-year-olds can be used to cover only …

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Free Childcare for Your 3 or 4-Year-Old

How to Get Free Childcare for Your 3 or 4-Year-Old

Eligible 3 & 4-year-old children can get 570 to 1140 hours of free childcare per year.You may have heard about the Government’s free childcare schemes for children aged 3 and 4, giving them between 15 and 30 hours of free childcare on a weekly basis. These ‘free funded hours’ give eligible children anywhere from 570 to 1140 hours of free childcare per year at a suitably registered, Government-approved childcare setting. Tic Toc Nursery is one such setting in Clayhall, Ilford, and we’re happy to support the schemes to make childcare more affordable for families. But how do the free childcare schemes work? What are the rules? More importantly, is your child eligible? In today’s post we give you answers to these and many other questions relating to free, funded childcare hours for 3 and 4-year-olds in England.

The ‘15 Hours’ Free Childcare Scheme for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

The good news is that pretty much all 3 and 4-year-old children living in England are eligible for 15 hours of funded childcare per week, across 38 weeks of the year. It’s not means-tested, nor is eligibility affected by whether parents/guardians are working — or unemployed.

This scheme allows 3 and 4-year-olds to receive free childcare for 15 hours per week and this is usually taken over the course of 38 weeks per annum. However, it must total no more than 570 hours in any one year. Exactly how the hours are spread out can vary, though, so long as:

  1. the childcare setting agrees to the adjustment in how the hours are spread out and;
  2. it still totals no more than 570 hours over the course of the year after adjustment.

Children are eligible once they reach the age of 3 and they can start at approved childcare settings in the term following that birthday. Terms at childcare settings usually start early in January, April or September. The children remain eligible for this free childcare scheme until they start in Reception year at school or reach the age of 5, the legal age at which full-time education becomes compulsory in the UK.

Applying for the ‘15 Hours’ Free Childcare Scheme

To apply for 15 hours of free childcare per week for your 3 or 4-year-old at Tic Toc Nursery in Ilford, please contact the nursery and we’ll be happy to help. If you’re elsewhere in England, you can apply by contacting your proposed childcare provider or through your local council.

Please note that funding for the free childcare hours is paid direct to the registered childcare setting, not you/your child. Claims cannot be backdated.

The ‘30 Hours’ Free Childcare Scheme for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

Eligible 3 and 4-year-olds can top up the standard 15 hour scheme with an additional 15 hours per week, potentially giving them 30 hours per week of free childcare over 38 weeks of the year. As before, it’s sometimes possible to use the hours so they’re spread out differently, so long as they total no more than 1140 hours per annum. Again, the childcare setting would also need to agree the alternative pattern.

Rules around the top-up to 30 hours per week are more stringent than the standard ‘15 hours’ scheme, however …