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EYRG Minutes 06 December 2022

Early Years Reference Group Minutes: Tuesday 06 Dec 2022, 18.00-19.30 via Teams 



  • Carolyn Knight - Chair Senior Partnerships & Commissioning Manager - SCC
  • Cllr Mark Sutton- Cabinet Member for Children and Young People

  • Helen Gibson - EEAC Officer SCC
  • Karen Greenan - EY Sufficiency & Marketing Officer - Entrust

  • Karen Winfer - Accountancy Support Team Leader-SCC

  • Debbie Nash - Education Commissioning Officer - SCC
  • Felicity Pepper - EEAC Entitlement Officer - SCC

  • Vicki Green - EEAC Sufficiency Data Officer - SCC
  • Natasha Richards - Wolstanton Kindergarten/ Cheadle Kindergarten
  • Philip Siddell - Humpty Dumpty / PVI Rep on Schools Forum
  • Helen Townsend - Hey Diddle Diddle

  • Sharon Keane - Childminder
  • Jayne Waterman - Little People Nursery

  • Sadie Shenton-Jones - Dollymixtures/PVI Rep on Schools Forum

  • Jo Di Castiglione - Greenhall Nursery

  • Megan McComiskie - Colwich Preschool


  • Tim Hopkins -Humpty Dumpty

  • Jude Russell - Staffordshire Safeguarding Childrens Board (SSCB)

  • Kelly Hill - Codsall Community Nursery

  • Sue Dangerfield - ABC Nurseries Codsall

  • Sarah McCormick - Little Owl Childcare

  • Julie Wetton - Sandytots

  • Emily Woodward -Three Peaks

  • Natasha Gilbert - First Steps Preschool

  • Rob & Tracey Lawford - childminders

  • Nadine Key - Oaklands Nursery School

Welcome and introductions

 Last minutes agreed

Minutes from last meeting

Actions from last meeting:

Kelly has been invited to attend a meeting next year.

Issues related to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) were raised with the Head of SEND, the Assistant Director for Wellbeing and Partnerships and at the Department for Education (DfE) LA Working Group meeting.

Helen Gibson will share Professional Development Programme 3 (PDP3) progress at next meeting in January.

Portal training sessions have been taking place.

EY Funding Workshop

Proposal to devote the planned EYRG meeting on 24th January to Early Years (EY) Funding workshop in a similar way to last year.

Information on funding has not yet been released by the DfE.

The final decision on funding rates will go to the Senior Leadership team for approval. Following this they will be communicated to settings.

The risk of settings closing was raised. Parents should be directed to the Early Education & Childcare team (EEAC) inbox for support to find alternative childcare should settings close.

Providers are warning of mass closures as private providers are unable to continue to operate at a loss. Providers are keen to learn of any changes to funding as soon as possible so that they can decide whether they are able to financially viable.

Providers stated staff are being retained through goodwill and any profits are being rapidly eroded. Inflationary costs are challenging across the board and across other Local Authorities (LA).

Challenges faced by providers are fed back to the DfE at regular meetings held with the LA.  

It was commented that the DfE are investing much funding into training but this is misplaced as the sector needs help to remain sustainable. The pressure of Business rates was raised. 


Review of Specialist Provision

Staffordshire is currently undergoing a countywide review of specialist provision. Representative from EY is part of steering group. Task and finish (T&F) groups are being set up focussing on various areas of SEND for 0-25 yrs.

  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Speech & Language
  • Autism
  • Cognition and learning

There are EY reps at each of the T&F groups.

There will be a wider consultation on strategy; sector will have the opportunity to be involved in this.

The T&F groups will involve regular 1 hour long meetings over the next 9 weeks. Jayne Waterman (JW) kindly volunteered to be EY rep on one of the groups to replace person who can no longer commit. 

Sector updates

Childminders / Nurseries/ Preschools / Schools

JW shared that her setting had received epilepsy training which the Integrated Care Partnership had arranged for free but usually there is a cost to Providers. This issue has been raised with Commissioners.

It was raised there is a disparity between PVI nurseries and nurseries on a school site in guidance on administering EpiPen. Action: Carolyn Knight will raise at next DfE meeting.

Local Authority Items

  •  Video webinar is now available to support work on Early Outcomes Fund (EOF). Speech & Language Therapy (SALT) team have compiled all the content from the 4 session training. This is free on EOF page on the SCC website.

  • EOF is coming to an end. Two sessions offered this year and these have both been filled. 150 settings have submitted ECS data; Data analysis will be completed in January 2023. Those settings that submitted data were invited to a further training session for children with SEND.

  • Another SALT training session will be offered in the evening for Childminders in the New Year.

  • Government funded projects-Experts & Mentors Programme-23 completed an expression of interest. A further 14 settings have been offered an invitation to sign up for the next programme.

  • PDP3 -update will be published in EEAC update in New year.

  • ‘Best Practice’ are now delivering EY Level 3 Senco funded training. 40 Staffs settings have signed up with 6 in first tranche.

  • Entrust update-data from sufficiency survey will be available January; this enables continuous monitoring of sufficiency.


Ofsted suitability letter-shouldn’t take too long but give them a prompt!

JW-reports that the feeder school reported that this years children have better levels of PSED than last years cohort.

EEAC team were nominated for regional Team Excellence award recently primarily for work on Hungry Little Minds campaign and work on 2 year old entitlements.  They attended award ceremony at Molineux Stadium.

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