Consultation for early years providers on our new approach to quality support and training

Closed 8 Dec 2017

Opened 13 Nov 2017


Please respond to our online survey here after you have read the consultation background below.
Camden has worked successfully in partnership with early years providers in the voluntary, community and private sector for many years.  
Membership of the partnership has until now been free and based on an agreement to work together, access training and share good practice. Camden’s quality support and training team have provided a comprehensive range of visits, improvement advice, inspection support and training, all fully funded and free at the point of delivery for providers. The outcomes achieved through this approach have been excellent with, at the time of writing,  99% of group-based providers and 97% of childminders currently judged as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
However, the introduction in April 2017 of a new national funding formula for the early years Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) means a change of approach is needed. The new formula:
  • requires local authorities to ‘pass through’ a higher percentage of DSG income to providers than previously, and
  • sets limits on the amount of funding Camden Council can retain to fund services such as quality support and training.
The positive side of this is that, while the Council will have less money to fund support services, early years providers in Camden will receive a higher hourly rate for their funded children. 
As a result, the Council will no longer be able to afford to provide all quality support and training services free at the point of delivery. We will need to ask providers to invest some of the higher hourly rate to sustain the provision of high quality training and support.
We know the financial situation facing many private, voluntary and independent providers is challenging and we are committed to working in partnership to maintain the high quality of all local provision.
To do this we proposing to establish a new Quality Improvement Partnership. 
To become a member of the partnership, providers must agree to: 
  • provide excellent early years education and childcare for every child
  • deliver inclusive practice, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to succeed and no child gets left behind
  • give due regard to the provider agreement for the provision of Free Early Education Entitlement
  • inform the named advisor if the setting has to notify Ofsted of any issues
  • attend termly briefings
  • accommodate advisory visits
  • implement any agreed action plan following inspection or adviser visits
  • maintain an appropriately trained and qualified workforce.

Why We Are Consulting

Camden has enjoyed a strong relationship with early years providers, which has helped a very high percentage of settings to be judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The Council is determined to maintain the high standards of early education that young children receive in the borough and we will work hard to sustain our relationship with all providers. 
In order to maintain our strong and equitable relationship, ‘core’ advice and support services will remain free for all members of the new Quality Improvement Partnership. However, because of the financial constraints of the new national funding formula, we will have to charge for training sessions and any additional bespoke advice and support services over and above the core offer. 
Providers will be encouraged to subscribe to Camden’s comprehensive training and additional bespoke support offer through a subscription to the new Quality Improvement Partnership as ‘Enhanced Members’. Enhanced Members will, for a subscription fee, be able to access a set number of training and additional bespoke quality support opportunities free at the point of delivery. 
It will also be possible for providers to buy additional support above that available for the subscription fee. Subscriptions to the partnership and the ad hoc purchase of additional training and support sessions will be managed by Camden’s Integrated Early Years Service, in partnership with Camden Learning. Camden Learning is a not-for-profit schools company set up by the Council and all Camden state schools. In a similar way as we do for schools, we will use ‘learning blocks’ as the ‘currency’ for buying sessions, which will also make administration easier for us all.
Enhanced Members of the Quality Improvement Partnership will receive 20 learning blocks for their subscription fee to buy training sessions or additional advice and support services (over and above the free core offer). 
We would like as many providers as possible to join the partnership as Enhanced Members so we are allocating learning blocks to Enhanced Members at a reduced price, 20% lower than the ad hoc purchase price. 
Providers who choose not to subscribe as Enhanced Members will be able to purchase learning blocks on an ad hoc basis at the rate shown below. Enhanced Members will also be able to purchase additional learning blocks on an ad hoc basis at the rate shown.
Due to the borough’s diverse range of providers, we propose to price learning blocks differently for childminders and small* and large providers - see below.
Enhanced Member annual subscription price (includes allocation of 20 learning blocks):
  • Small provider* - £960
  • Large provider - £1,280
  • Childminder - £320    
Ad hoc purchase price:
  • Small provider* - £60
  • Large provider - £80
  • Childminder - £20
*Small providers will be those who have fewer than 48 children on roll.
As stated above, Camden Council values the high quality of early education that children enjoy in the borough and has prioritised continuing free core advice and support across the early years sector. All members of the partnership will therefore receive a comprehensive core offer of free advice and support from our team of skilled and experienced advisors. We have listed the range of fully-funded activities that all providers will receive below.
We also know from the high participation levels and positive feedback that providers have valued the high quality training we have provided. We will continue to offer a training programme tailored to meet the needs of local providers and we hope that all Camden settings will subscribe to the partnership as Enhanced Members for the fee shown above and so continue to access training provided by the Council.
The training sessions will be priced in learning blocks with each learning block paying for, in most cases, a half-day’s training. Therefore, Enhanced Members, who receive 20 learning blocks for their subscription fee, will have ‘pre-paid’ for 10 days of training. The number of learning blocks payable for bespoke support such as mock Ofsted inspections will be negotiated on a ‘case by case’ basis, depending on the costs of providing these.
The quality support offer available to all members of Camden’s Quality Improvement Partnership will be:
  • Named adviser for all settings
  • Access to duty advice line (times to be confirmed)
  • One annual ‘standards’ visit from a named adviser, with letter advising outcome and recommendations
  • Focused work on areas of challenge (half day)
  • Advice about access to services for children with special educational needs and disabilities, e.g. access to PAL line or SENDCo forum
  • New initiative briefings as necessary, e.g. EYFS changes
  • Access to annual ‘transitions to school’ meetings
  • Termly briefing meetings for all settings / childminders
  • Electronic early years bulletin (at least three times per year)
  • Support on the EYFS Profile assessment and progress check at 2.
Mandatory training: 
  • Safeguarding children training – Level 1
  • Safeguarding children training – Level 2 / 3.
Camden will continue to provide a range of high quality, relevant training opportunities for early education providers. The training programme will be published termly through the Camden Learning website and providers will need to book onto sessions using their learning blocks as payment. As set out above, enhanced providers will have a basic allocation of 20 learning blocks as part of their subscription but can purchase additional learning blocks on an ad hoc basis as required. 
Camden will continue to work with providers to ensure that the training offer meets local needs.
We highly value the strong relationship that we have developed with providers and, while we recognise that this represents a significant change, we hope that all providers will want to continue to benefit from the full range of support services that are available and will decide to join our new Quality Improvement Partnership as Enhanced Members. 
Before we implement a new model next year, we would like to hear your views about our proposals. Please complete our brief online survey.
You can also come to our next early years providers’ forum at the Crowndale Centre on Wednesday, 22 November, from 2 to 4pm, where you can ask us questions about these proposed changes face to face.



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