Edition 13: Spring 2012
Early Years and Childcare News
Contents In this issue Welcome to the Early Years and Childcare News!
TLC – Talk! Listen! Cuddle!
Visual Impairment in Childcare
Green Fingers at Meadgate Nursery
What makes Little Angels Outstanding?
Great books from Essex Libraries make toilet training fun!
Children’s Centres contract award
Barn Kids Holiday Club, Thaxted
Free Early Education Entitlement Funding
Getting to Grips with Inclusion Conference
The question I am always asked is ‘Why?’ and my answer is always ‘Why not?!’
Quality Matters – Good Practice around Integrated Working
Coming soon - a new online childcare search and the provider web portal
Celebrating Twenty Years Childminding
New Bookstart packs arrive in Essex
Making the most of Inclusion Grants
The music goes on…
Roydon Pre-school outside learning and play area
A Great Deal for all registered childminders
CRB checks - something to think about!
An amazing opportunity for all early years practitioners in Essex
Early years and childcare sector training update
Men in childcare, what’s your opinion?
Workforce Development Funding for April 2012 - March 2013
How can the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service benefit you?
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Welcome to the Early Years and Childcare News! Hello and a final welcome from me to your newsletter! As many of you know I am retiring at the end of April after 22 years working for Essex County Council, plus being a childminder and a pre-school manager for some years (happy days!) when my own children were small. My two girls both now have children of their own including Sophie (nine) who attends breakfast and after school club, Joe (six) who has a beloved childminder, Denny (three) who has just started his ‘free entitlement’ and Rudy (5 months) enjoying his local children’s centre. It is fascinating for Grandma to see it all again in such a different era! Yet children are the same – full of the potential for energy, joy, creativity, curiosity, brilliance and love. I always have striven to keep this strong vibrant image of the child at the forefront of everything we do and every decision we make, however challenging. Remembering to ask, “Where’s the child in all this?” so often helps us to unravel complexity and home in on the answer about what path to take. I know, even in the more financially challenging times ahead, that Early Years and Childcare is in safe hands under the wider umbrella of Early Intervention and Support, led by Elaine Fulton, Head of Prevention, Local Partnerships and Integrated Localities in Essex. This raises our profile as a key part of universal services for all families, and quicker routes to more support when needed. I leave the day to day service in the hands of three great individuals. Carolyn Terry heads up ‘sufficiency’ for early years and childcare services, including children’s centres. Like me she comes from a diverse early years background as well as working in communities. Liz Norton, heading ‘quality improvement’ has teaching as well as extensive voluntary sector experience. Trudi Bishop leads for Workforce Development across early years and childcare and other related areas. She has extensive experience across early years, young peoples involvement and workforce practice. These three individuals are all high performers who have a passion for the early years and a vision for the future centred on our shared commitment to children and improving their life chances. So it just remains for me to say goodbye, and wish you all well for the future. Such a strong and diverse sector in Essex - it’s been an absolute privilege to work both with and for you.
Good luck Harriet and be st wishe s from us all!
Everyone in the Ea rly Years and Childcare and Pre-School Learning Alliance teams wishes Harriet all good things in her new life, as we are sure do her many colle agues and partners across th e sector.
Harriet Hill Head of Early Years & Childcare
TLC – Talk! Listen! Cuddle! We know that there are many children starting school with poor language and communication; skills which are vital for learning and for making friends. These children often have a limited vocabulary and find it hard to listen. In some areas, particularly areas of social disadvantage, this group may be more than 50% of the children entering school. However, for many of these children, such speech, language and communication difficulties are transient which means that with the right support, they may catch up with their peers. Recent long term studies have shown that the amount of words that surround a baby and young child will have a positive impact on their later communication development and vocabulary size. The research also showed that the quality of the language experienced is equally important. Essex County Council, through Early Years and Childcare is proud to launch a new county-wide campaign to promote quality language and communication opportunities for all children across Essex.
TLC T L C
■ strengthen children’s early language development by supporting all early years providers to improve the quality of language provision in their early years settings, encouraging the development of language rich environments. ■ support parents to understand the best ways to support and develop their children’s speech, language and communication. ■ provide guidance and ideas to aid the observation and monitoring of children’s language development, early assessments of needs and the provision of appropriate support. As practitioners, we need to encourage parents and carers to recognise that they are the experts offering support and guidance to their young children and that the opportunities they have to talk with their child are special.
communication skills. Resources will include posters, invitations, practitioner guidance, activity ideas for the event and parent information sheets. To launch TLC in Essex you might like to participate in this year’s ICAN Chatterbox Challenge with the theme of Kids in Motion, which means lots of movement, lots of chatter and above all lots of fun!
How to hold a Chatterbox Challenge 1) Pick a day for your Chatterbox Challenge. Feel free to hold yours any time you like. 2) Register for your FREE activity pack by calling 0845 121 2350, which will give you everything you need to run a fun and successful Chatterbox Challenge, from hints and tips on holding your event, fun activities and worksheets designed by learning professionals which will help develop the children’s communication skills and much, much more.
T alk…Children learn to talk... every time you talk to them.
Encourage parents to follow these three top tips:
Listen…Children learn to listen...every time you listen to them.
1) Get down to your child’s level.
3) Have lots of fun practicing the songs and rhymes with your children.
2) Follow their gaze and talk about what they are looking at.
Cuddle...Children learn to feel confident...every time you share special time with them.
Further events planned for the summer term are:
3) Build up your child’s sentences by repeating what they say and adding words.
‘No Pens Day’ A day to focus on communication. You could invite parents to join in with communication activities such as den making, storytelling, story kebab making, etc.
Talk Listen and Cuddle = the three ingredients needed to ensure young children’s communication and language skills develop.
TLC aims to :
Throughout 2012 you will be invited to a number of events that you or your setting can take part in. Resources will be made available to support you in engaging parents in providing quality opportunities for children to develop key language and
‘Talk to Your Baby Party’ (TTYB) An event for practitioners and parents with very young children. You could invite parents or
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Here’s one to practice on
grandparents to the TTYB party, make shakers, sing rhymes etc. Party planners will be provided with suggested activities and timings. ‘Singathon’ With the Olympics coming up, why not have a singathon in your setting. How many rhymes can you sing in a minute, hour, day? Have a song or rhyme hunt? Have a song contest? A ready to use event toolkit will be sent to your setting via email. You may decide to choose one or all three of the events suggested. We would very much like to hear from you and receive photos and feedback. A special TLC area on the Essex County Council website is being developed where further information can be found and it will also be an opportunity for people to share all the fun had during their events. For more information, please email email@example.com
“It may seem an obvious thing to say but one of the best things we can do with young children is to have interesting and enjoyable conversations with them… as we go about our activities whether at home or at nursery, pre-schools, playgrounds, the childminding situation, or out and about we should make a special effort to answer children’s questions, point out things that interest us, involve children...” Michael Rosen
“Being able to speak clearly and process speech sounds, to understand others, to express ideas and interact with others are fundamental building blocks for a child’s development. Analysis shows that good communication, language and literacy at a young age have the highest correlation with successful outcomes in school at seven years.” ICAN Speech, Language and Communication Needs and the Early Years, Issue 7
“A child’s first word has behind it a history of listening, observing and experimenting with sounds and highly selective imitations of people.” M. Whitehead, Developing Language and Literacy with Young Children “Parents are their children’s first educators and understand their children better than anyone else.” Early Years Foundation Stage Guidance (DCSF 2008)
Visual Impairment in Childcare Justine Harrington, Volunteer at the Centre Pre-school, Basildon My name is Justine Harrington and I am twenty one years old. I have been visually impaired since birth and wanted to be a teacher since the age of five, (my first day at primary school). Some of the things I heard during my time at school were upsetting and put a negative perspective on life. Statements like, “You will not be able to be a teacher” and “Why should anyone let a blind person be in charge of children?” and “We would not let anyone in your condition teach, we think you should focus on realistic tasks, like computer studies. Childcare is not realistic for anyone with a disability, especially visual impairment!” It was my determination that kept me going, fighting for my education and my rights to make the same achievements and decisions as anyone else. This is why, after five long years of being pushed and shoved down that road of discrimination, I am now studying childcare and am able to have access to effective work experience. In March last year, I started volunteering every Wednesday at The Centre Pre-school, Basildon and am still doing so today. I enjoy helping there very much, and some of the things I have learned through placement even have an impact on the things I do in everyday life. For example, a few months ago I would have panicked at losing things, now I am able to think logically about situations as such as this.
A while ago, I would have not been happy about bumping into things, now everything I accidently bump into becomes a friend! I make it into a joke so that it doesn’t raise so much concern among people around me and I end up using the same strategies for my own relief! It’s not that bad, just an object! I feel as though I have settled into an educational environment that shows positive role-modelling and does not discriminate against my visual impairment. People generally accept me for who I am, regardless of disability and I find it is even educational for the children. Last week, a child asked me to look at something and I explained that I couldn’t look because my eyes do not work properly. The child then asked me why and after a moment’s thought, I answered that it was because they stopped working properly when I was still in my Mum’s tummy! Statements like this make me realise that not only do I take my disability for granted, but because it is an unusual topic for children to discover, it can help them to learn from direct, personal experiences. I thought about it and mentioned it to the pre-school staff. It was decided that I could make a Braille label to go on each of the tables so that the children could learn about Braille, and
alternative ways of reading and writing for people who would not be able to see. In this lives an educational experience, when we tell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we can allow them to try porridge. When we teach about animals, there are opportunities to visit a zoo, and many more interactive learning experiences. In everything I do now, I intend to help others and fulfil my own goals and do so by gaining as much experience as possible. I hope that I bring lots of experience and inspiration to The Centre Preschool and to any settings I may volunteer in or any in which I gain employment in the future.
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Green Fingers at Meadgate Nursery By Sandra Caleno, Nursery Assistant at Meadgate Nursery, Chelmsford Whilst visiting Hyde Hall Gardens near Chelmsford my Manager picked up a leaflet called â€˜Getting Schools Growingâ€™. As I enjoy gardening and grow vegetables at home she asked if I would be interested in running the scheme at Meadgate Nursery. I was, so we registered online at www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening which is the website of the Royal Horticultural Society. We were provided with a starter pack with everything we needed including lesson plans and a Risk Assessment template. I have attended two training sessions at Hyde Hall so far, where they give us ideas of things to grow in season and compost making. As we also run an out of school club we are able to get all ages involved. Last year we made hanging baskets, grew pumpkins (which the older children carved for Halloween), carrots, tomatoes and
runner beans. Many of our children do not have gardens at home so the experience of growing, washing, chopping and eating the vegetables was fantastic.
Lessons of patience, team work, communication, caring and respect were all invaluable.
So far this year we have planted broad beans, garlic, and onions in one area and the children have a large digging pit where they can dig without disturbing the plants. The setting has now also passed their level one gardening award, and we look forward to continuing with our gardening and growing more in the future.
What makes Little Angels Outstanding? Jo Bridgeman, Little Angels Pre-school, Halstead Finally our day had arrived! All the hard work, dedication and changes that we had made along the way, came down to a four hour visit by Ofsted! The self evaluation form (SEF) was in place, we had done all we could and had been waiting on an inspection for well over a year, the time had come for the feedback! The inspector began by selecting areas that she had seen through the day and being positive about things she had observed and comments staff and parents and the children had made. Still sitting there anxiously we waited for the final decision…
“Would you be disappointed if you didn’t get an Outstanding?” the inspector asked. My manager, Rachel Telling replied, “Yes, we’ve worked really hard.” I then said “Do you mean in a particular area that we were just discussing?”, “No, I mean overall for the whole inspection.” The inspector then presented us with the screen of her laptop, a list of 1’s the whole way down the page.
“Oh wow!” we all gasped, and then promptly burst into tears “We’ve done it!” It means so much to Little Angels Pre-school to have received an Outstanding. The whole team of staff; Rachel, Daniella, Fiona, Claire, Donna and Tina work together so well to provide the families in our community with a high standard of care. Comments from the inspector included... ■ “ Children make excellent progress as their care and learning is extensively promoted by knowledgeable and committed staff. Partnerships with parents and additional agencies are outstanding, with staff keeping parents very well informed of their child’s progress and learning preferences.” ■ “Staff are well supported by the management, who actively encourage all staff to
pursue further professional qualifications and attend a wide range of training opportunities.” ■ “ Security is very well managed as staff monitor parents’ arrivals at the school gates, ensuring the safety of all children.” ■ “ Partnerships with parents are excellent. Parents are actively encouraged to support their child through stay and play opportunities at the beginning of each term and through volunteering their help during sessions. Parents and children are warmly welcomed as they arrive at the setting.” ■ “ Children thoroughly enjoy their time at this setting and make excellent progress as staff are skilled in ensuring children have fun while they learn.”
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■ “ Managers and staff keep up to date with all current developments and have recently achieved a quality assurance award for driving forward further improvements. The setting regularly shares practice ideas with other settings and acts as an example to them, thereby supporting and helping greater improvement.” The work doesn’t end now, if anything it gets harder. We now need to work on maintaining our Outstanding grade and
continue to find ways of improving what we already do! On a personal note, the last eight years since I opened the doors of Little Angels have been an emotional and physical roller coaster. There have been times when I wondered how I have juggled a young family, being a wife and running my own business, which I naively thought in the beginning, would be a ‘part-time’ venture. Thank you to all my family for being there for me when I need you!
But I wouldn’t change anything, I have met some wonderful people, made great friends, and I love my job, even on the bad days! Working with children is so rewarding, seeing them grow and develop into little people ready to begin their school career. I take great pleasure knowing that my Little Angels staff have helped those children along the way. The team effort at Little Angels is what makes us Outstanding.
Thank you to all of you! 9
Great books from Essex Libraries make toilet training fun! Toilet training needn’t be a chore with great books from Essex Libraries. Sharing books with toddlers about potty training can be an excellent way of introducing related words and concepts. It can help to make them feel happier about taking the next big step towards growing up. To help parents and carers choose from the range available, Essex Libraries has put a list together available on their website, details below. All of the books can be ordered online for free and delivered to the library of their choice. Great books to share include Nappy Duck and Potty Piggy by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams. This delightful picture book has funny characters and simple text. Ducky wants Piggy to come and play but Piggy’s busy on his potty, can Ducky do without his nappies and become as grown up as Piggy? Even pirates use the potty! A perfect book for boys is Pirate Pete’s Potty, join Pirate Pete on a potty training adventure and press the sound button to cheer him along! There are also some straightforward guides for
parents and carers like A Guide to Potty Training by Caroline Young, with tried and tested methods for toilet training along with helpful advice. To reserve these books and more visit www.essex.gov.uk/libraries
The Potty and Toilet Training Booklist can be found in the Babies and Toddlers section of your local library. Don’t forget to recommend parents and carers start their toddler toilet training with a trip to the library!
Children’s Centres contract award On 12th January, Essex County Council announced the names of the organisations that were successful in securing contracts for delivery of the county’s 85 children’s centres. Four contracts were awarded, one each for the quadrants of Mid, West, South and North-East Essex. The successful bidders are as follows: Mid Essex Quadrant: 4Children North East Essex Quadrant: Barnardo’s South Essex Quadrant: Barnardo’s West Essex Quadrant: Spurgeons
The new contracts become operational from 1 April 2012. Since children’s centres were first set up in Essex they have been delivered under contract, by thirteen different voluntary and statutory organisations. As part of Essex County Council’s ongoing Transformation Programme those contractual arrangements have been reviewed and reshaped. The county’s children’s centres will now be divided into four separate areas reflecting the county quadrant model of commissioning and delivery for children’s services.
The new contracts confirm Essex County Council’s commitment to the 85 children’s centres, and whilst they will continue to offer universal services, there will be a much stronger emphasis on targeting those children at greatest disadvantage. For more information please contact Early Years and Childcare via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Barn Kids Holiday Club, Thaxted By Julie Barnard, Manager When we started our Holiday Club in 2002 we made the commitment to ensure that the bulk of our activities would take the children outdoors as much as possible, in all weathers. We were determined to exploit our own excellent facilities including a sprawling meadow and woods providing multiple opportunities for safe exploration, discovery and adventure. We know from many years of childcare experience that children enjoy and benefit particularly from outdoor activities, contrasting as this does, with the electronic world in which most children are absorbed much of the time. Our Holiday Club Camp Fire Day is always an exceedingly popular event. The event provides the kind of unfettered freedom from the confinement and constriction associated with so many indoor activities. The framework for the project is the provision of multiple opportunities for children to engage in co-operative teamwork and planning, and to demonstrate leadership skills, individual responsibility, and practical initiative from which amusing, quirky ideas often emerge. Planning takes place at the club base, where children and staff discuss plans for the day. Areas of responsibility are allocated to the children, including collection of firewood and useful items from which to construct makeshift tables for dining, drinks and a handwashing station. The children draw up the shopping list and have great fun choosing their favourite food, usually featuring chicken, sausages, burgers, fish, vegetables, fruit, dough twists and marshmallows. Under close supervision the children cook their own lunch over the camp fire and they particularly enjoy the novelty of peeling hazelwood sticks
on which to cook dough twists and toast marshmallows. The potential danger of fire, safe use of pen knives and general respect for the countryside environment are important safety features of the day. We programme into the Camp Fire Day a wide range of fun and games. We especially include those activities which are only suitable for larger outdoor spaces, for example, building a den from brushwood, parachute games, and ‘Splat’ from all of which the children derive enormous fun.
using appropriate sized bows. The children loved this activity and have requested that archery is repeated next summer. A significant aspect of the learning provision of the Camp Fire Day is having terrific fun in a spirit of freedom and adventure, whilst observing safety rules at all times. This also includes taking responsibility for extinguishing the fire safely and generally ‘restoring the habitat’ at the end of the day.
This summer our Camp Fire Day was a roaring success. The weather was glorious, and the archery activity proved to be a winner. This was mainly due to a very enthusiastic and patient instructor who ensured that all the children were given several attempts at hitting the bullseye,
Free Early Education Entitlement Funding Funding for two year olds Many providers are now participating in the offer of Free Entitlement funding for two year olds and by the time you read this, you should have been advised of the new details for the programme. If you are not currently participating in the programme but have an Ofsted rating of Good or Outstanding and have an Essex quality RAG (Red, Amber, Green) rating of green, then you may wish to think about whether you could offer funded places within the programme. Many providers have been adversely affected from the change of the
schools admissions policy last September. If this has affected your occupancy and you now need to look at other ways to increase your numbers this may offer a potential solution for you. If you would like more information about this programme, then please contact us via email at email@example.com or telephone us on 01245 438515. Should you wish to participate in the programme you will also need to contact your area based EYFS Intervention Officer 0-3’s QTS who may be required to arrange a visit to quality assess your provision for two year olds.
Funding for three and four year olds The 2012/13 Free Entitlement contract will have been issued to you in February, so this just a reminder (if you have not already done so) that this should be accepted and returned by 31st March at the very latest. A summary of the changes and more general briefing guidance, particularly in areas for concern and that affect compliance and breaches of contract, have also been issued to providers. Please ensure that these are readily available to staff and parents and that they have been read and understood by all staff responsible for the offer of Free Entitlement funding.
Getting to Grips with Inclusion Conference 6th February 2012 The annual Early Years and Childcare inclusion conference took place this year on the 6th February. The participants, from settings all over Essex, were rewarded for braving the snow and icy conditions by attending a conference that was described as ‘inspiring, interesting and interactive’. The conference was opened by Henrietta Barkham, Equality and Inclusion Manager for the service, who has organised the inclusion-themed annual event for the last three years. Keynote speaker was Richard O’Neill, a Romani Storyteller, who informed and entertained with his thought-provoking look at the perceptions and realities of Traveller life.
Delegates then had the opportunity to attend three out of four different workshops, run by Richard O’Neill (‘For every situation and every challenge there’s a story’), Mark Jennett (‘Me and my two mums: Sexual orientation and gender inclusion in the early years’), Nicola Gibson (‘The Equality Act: Developing the role of the ENCO’) and Siya and Judith Twani (‘Exploring cultural connections’).
Over 95% of delegates rated the workshops they attended as “excellent” or “very good”, and comments from enthusiastic participants included “gave me some fantastic ideas to take away”, “real confidence builder”, “got a different perspective on how we see people” and “amazingly brilliant”.
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The question I am always asked is ‘Why?’ and my answer is always ‘Why not?!’ By Simon Gresswell, Registered Childminder Soon after our son was born almost nine years ago I was made redundant from my job in the property industry, and as my wife’s work demanded more hours I quickly became a stay at home ‘househusband’. This was when I learned a whole new respect for the task of raising children! This has to be the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever had, but I just love being with the children. My wife says I’m just a big kid at heart, but I think you have to be! As our son got older I took on part-time work within the property industry working around the school hours, but as the recession bit, I was made redundant again just as our daughter (now two and a half ) was born. So I again took control of the domestic reins while my wife continued working. This convinced me to exploit my growing expertise and set up ‘Daddy Day Care’ and after completing the training and exams to become a fully registered childminder from home, I began my new career. Since our son was born, I have noticed that the attitudes are slowly changing and I disagree that childcare is women’s work. However, going back almost nine years I found it very hard, and mothers would look at me as if to say ‘What are you doing here?’, but once they got over
the shock, the majority were very nice. Apart from the time I went to a swimming lesson, and was bluntly told that this was a ‘Mother and Toddler group’. My reply was I think you will find that this is in fact a ‘Parent and Toddler group’. Soon after our daughter was born, I visited Harry’s school to do a talk on caring for babies, I was to understand that the children had expected a mother and baby to turn up and not a father and baby! Whilst I was the only male in my childminding classes, I would like to see other men
take on childcare as society changes to meet the challenges of the 21st century. With an increasing number of single parents, particularly mums, I feel a reliable male role model would be a benefit. Essentially I believe that being a good parent is not about gender, you just have to be very calm, understanding and very open minded. Since I first became a fully registered childminder I have now completed my NVQ Level 3 in childcare and I am just about to become an accredited childminder.
For further information I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality Matters â€“ Good Practice around Integrated Working Since April last year, when we introduced integrated working into the Early Years and Childcare quality monitoring criteria, we have seen a significant number of early years practitioners accessing online learning modules, attending face-to-face training sessions and/or becoming registered practitioners on CAFPoint. The following statistics demonstrate the important progress which has been made across the sector with regard to integrated working:
Numbers accessing online learning training modules: Integrated Working Module
Awareness Modules Accessed
Working with Parents
* figures include multiple user attempts if undertaken in different months
Numbers accessing courses/workshops: Course/Workshop
Attended Early Years Practitioners
Common Assessment Framework (CAF )
Early Intervention & Prevention
Effective Engagement & Involvement
Integrated Working Introduction
Lead Professional (LP)
LP Supervision, Managers Workshop
Team Around the Child (TAC )
Understanding the CAF Assessment Process
CAFPoint CAFPoint is the database to record a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) that has been undertaken for a child or young person living in Essex. To assess CAFPoint you must be a registered practitioner on the system, which is achieved by completing a registration form and this can be accessed via the integrated working website https://ecclms.co.uk/goecclms.asp Once you are registered this enables you to enquire if a CAF exists for a child/young person, via a telephone line managed by the Contact Essex Team. In order to support practitioners, we have developed a CAFPoint poster, which provides the telephone number and guidance on the information that you need to have available. A copy is also enclosed in this mailing to display within your setting. If you require any additional copies you can download from the website mentioned above.
CAFPoint – registered practitioners We have registered or updated the records of 389 early years’ practitioners on the CAFPoint database ranging from childminders and staff working in daycare settings, nurseries, preschools and children’s centres. We would recommend that you review the practitioners that you have registered within your setting to ensure that the appropriate members of staff are registered. If you require any more information or support you can contact the team by emailing email@example.com or call 01245 434073.
Coming soon - a new online childcare search and the Early Years web portal The next few months will see the launch of a brand new online childcare search on the Essex County Council website. This facility will enable parents to look for childcare using various search criteria such as postcode and type of childcare. The real bonus is that they will be able to refine their search and also access the information day or night – so at a time most convenient for them. The online childcare search will supplement the existing telephone-based Family Information Service, which provides information on childcare provision to public enquirers from across the county. What this means for you as a provider in Essex is that information about your setting will potentially reach many, many more people. We know that some of you, especially childminders, experienced a significant drop in business when the online childcare search at direct.gov was taken down a year ago. We hope that this will offer a real solution for you and give you all a great way to promote your business. The information will be drawn from the contact and provision details which we hold on your setting at the moment and which the vast majority of you validated late last year when we asked you to confirm that all your details were up to date. The other exciting aspect of this programme is that each childcare provider will be given access to an online portal through which you can log in and update your provision’s records.
The web portal is intended to reduce the administrative burden on childcare providers, by introducing an accessible and secure way for providers to update their information and to submit funding claims and headcount details. It will help consolidate existing data collections, reduce the need for existing paper forms and will present information on pre-filled forms to make the update process as quick and easy as possible. We are currently putting together a full range of training and support materials for these exciting new developments, and will be providing more information and release dates in the very near future. We also have grants available to purchase IT systems or upgrade out of date ones. This will enable settings to be well equipped to use the new web portal and have the right tools to be able to run their businesses. For more information about the IT Grants and how to apply email business.consultancy@ essex.gov.uk or call 01245 438554.
g in d in m d il h c ’ rs a e y ty n twe Angela Craig, Pre-school Learning
Alliance Development Officer
from s given for childminder Trish Heard A surprise afternoon tea party wa their to say thank you for childminding ily fam by Rig the by rcy, D’A t hun Tolles children for the past twenty years. ty for ed Trish to help her organise a tea par The children’s mum, Mandy Rigby ask friends, ved, out of the bushes popped family, work colleagues and when Trish arri their way rs, photos from the past years found children and parents! After a few tea tea and cakes, cream teas - along with endless to the tables with much laughter. Cup in the garden. enjoyed by all on a sunny afternoon coffee served by the children - were nty years, speech thanking Trish for the last twe Nick Rigby, the children’s dad gave a and giving y, Godmother to two of our children “Trish has gone beyond the call of dut times when we lost two children”. strength and support during the sad ers the family of a very large balloon, flow from s gift ed lud inc o als on rno afte The family and Trish thanked the Rigbys and other n. ldre chi the by en giv ry elle jew and twenty years) da Page (who has also minded for Lin er ind ldm chi ow fell s plu s, ent par rs. for helping her during all those yea was ampion Childminder in 2000’, and she ‘Ch for h Tris ted ina nom ndy Ma and Nick all to London to receive the award from delighted to win. This meant a trip for awarded ‘Outstanding Volunteer’ Claire Rayner. In 2010, Trish was also for her work at a local by the Pre-school Learning Alliance, baby and toddler group. the Rigby’s youngest This childminding story ends when rt secondary child left primary school in July to sta rs school, thus ending the twenty yea at of childminding for the Rigby family Minding Yours!
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New Bookstart packs arrive in Essex
Cathy Garrington, Audience Development Officer from Essex Libraries talks about the new resources coming to your setting soon. New Bookstart packs have arrived in Essex and you will soon see them in your settings. The ethos behind the free book-giving programme is to help parents share books with their children from an early age. Books are a wonderful conversational focus, a great excuse to put on silly voices, to point out objects and living things that babies and young children can relate to, the best excuse to cuddle up for a few minutes any day! The Bookstart Baby pack is for babies aged 0 – 12 months. It contains two books, a rhyme frieze, a guidance leaflet called Babies Love Books, plus a £1 book token. Also included is a black and white book aimed at newborns; but the images can be enjoyed from birth onwards within a babies first year. Bookstart baby packs are given to families by health professionals with libraries as a back up for ensuring these reach families. The Bookstart Treasure pack is for children aged three and contains two books, a scribble pad called My First Marks, plus crayons and Treasure – A Book of Ideas guidance booklet. In Essex, this pack is given to children at pre-schools, and libraries act as a back up for ensuring these reach families.
As well as the usual routes, families also receive Bookstart by way of a broad partnership which includes Ethnic Minority Traveller Achievement Service, Early Support and children’s centres, in fact some children’s centres in Essex have signed up to take part in a targeted outreach programme for Bookstart called Bookstart Corner. We’ll keep you updated with this programme in a future edition of Early Years and Childcare News.
Childminders (with parents permission) and foster carers are very welcome to collect either of the packs from their local library for children in their care, although please note that preschools should receive Bookstart Treasure in their setting. If your setting is not registered to receive Bookstart Treasure packs for your three year old children, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at Colchester Library on 01206 245900.
Find out more about Bookstart, visit www.bookstart. org.uk and for information on what local libraries offer to families visit www.essex.gov.uk/libraries
Making the most of Inclusion Grants Angela Craig, Pre-school Learning Alliance Development Officer, reports on how an Early Years and Childcare Inclusion Grant was used by a registered childminder. Allison Matthews is a registered childminder living in Clacton. Allison has been childminding for twelve years and is graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. During this time, Allison has worked closely with a family whose two children both suffer from Brittle Bone disease. The older sister is now at school and seems to be coping well with the condition but her little sister, who is two, is having a much more difficult time. Not being able to cope with the walk to school each day, being a major factor. Allison does not use a car for childminding and walks or takes public transport everywhere she goes, but this does not stop her taking all the children out nearly every day. In April 2011, at one of the groups held at the children’s centre in Clacton, the younger child broke her leg whilst playing. Allison began thinking that she may need help, with some sort of buggy or seat that would provide the extra support that she would require. Allison approached her Development Worker to ask if this item would or could be covered by any Local Authority funding. After listening to what had happened, it was suggested
she apply for an Inclusion Grant. Allison put a lot of work into researching whether it was possible to borrow a suitable buggy from the SENCo Library, the children’s centre, or indeed whether there was anything available in the UK. There was nothing available locally or in the UK, however, a suitable special needs buggy was found in the United States. With the support of the child’s parents, the parents of the other children she cares for and the professionals involved with the family, (including an endorsement from Great Ormond Street Hospital), an application for funding was written. This was submitted to the Essex Early Years and Childcare Grants Panel and was subsequently approved. Allison found the whole process rewarding and not too complicated, especially with so much support available. Allison would recommend
that childminders access this funding if they felt a child in their care requires extra support or a specific piece of equipment in order to meet their needs. The outcomes for this child have improved immensely, as the pressure has been removed from her bones and she is able to join in with the others on all school runs and trips out. The buggy has a special needs seat, a baby seat and can seat up to four children. Allison says that, “considering its size, the buggy is surprisingly light and very easy to manoeuvre”. It has been a rewarding experience for both Allison and her Development Officer. Allison is the first childminder in Essex to have successfully received an Inclusion Grant. However, it should be remembered that it is the outcomes for the children that are the most important element of the grant funding.
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The music goes on… The Musical Minds project is coming to an end after a year of music making in settings across the Harlow area. It has been a busy time organising the sessions and in particular, the three big musical events that took place in the Meadows Children’s Centre. Children, parents and staff who have been part of this initiative have given it an overwhelming thumbs up. Many of the families had never heard an orchestra live and it has been wonderful to see the look of awe on the children’s faces as they hear the notes coming from the instruments. Central to the project has been the group sessions run by our music leader Adam Amor. His enthusiasm and innovative adaptations of traditional songs has captured the imaginations of even the youngest babies, who sway and clap in time with the tunes. The eighteen settings who took part are also eligible for a set of musical instruments supplied by Essex Early Years and Childcare. Participants were asked to complete feedback forms plus a small report that was used as evidence of the impact of the project for Youth Music, who gave the initial grant. Although the project has now ended, Adam is continuing to work with settings as a private consultant, so the music goes on. Renowned early years musical expert and writer, Linda Bance is also visiting six of the settings to discuss how the legacy of the project will continue.
Development Team will continue to work together to look for further opportunities to make art, drama and music projects accessible to families in the county. For further information about this article, please call Barbara Greenley on 01245 438523 or contact adam@ musicalmindsworkshops.co.uk
Essex County Council’s Early Years and Childcare Team in partnership with the Arts
Roydon Pre-school 0utside learning and play area By Jackie Clarke, Roydon Pre-school Deputy Manager On Friday 14th October, Roydon Pre-school successfully held the opening ceremony of its new outside learning play area. After three years of applying for grants and fundraising we finally made it! FROM THIS... Realising the importance of outside learning and play to children, Roydon Pre-school decided in 2008 to develop an area of land, adjacent to the village hall into an outside learning environment for the pre-school children. Roydon Pre-school obtained much needed grants from West Essex Area Community Initiatives Fund and Essex Community
Initiatives Fund, to supplement the fantastic fundraising efforts from the parents, parents forum, village community and staff. This could also not have been achieved without the cooperation from the village hall committee and Roydon Parish Council. The children have used the area almost daily, with activities ranging from planting, Diwali ...TO THIS
chalk drawing, composing music, storytelling, building our own Noah’s Ark and having a camp fire, as well as physical play. Comments from the children range from ‘Brilliant’, and ‘really, really, really good’ to ‘it’s 100,000 coins!’ Roydon Pre-school is extremely pleased with the area and thanks everyone involved in realising this dream.
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A Great Deal for all registered childminders By Gail Jamnitzky, Registered Childminder The local community is such a valuable resource to childminders for supporting the active learning and development of our children. As childminders, we are all aware of the benefits of well planned play, which supports our childrenâ€™s well being and healthy development, and a visit to our local soft play centre ensures our early years children are able to learn with challenge and enjoyment. However, affordability can be an issue, especially if there are three or four children to pay for. The owner and manager of a play centre in North Essex is working closely with local childminders by recognising the important work they bring to the local community, and providing them with very low cost incentives for his play centre. This centre already offers creative and story time activity sessions, which are run by two Clacton childminders.
On a recent outing there, a group of childminders were invited by the owner to join him in a friendly meeting, organised to discuss their needs and what would be cost effective for them. He listened to their views and ideas, and after a little negotiation he came up with an offer for all registered childminders, which they agreed was fair. To qualify, childminders are required to
complete a short form and provide proof of their registration. Most of us have been affected in some way by the financial problems which the country is experiencing. Therefore, the local childminders would all like to show their appreciation and say a big thank you for making an outing more inviting and above all, affordable.
There are now less than six months to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Following a request in the November newsletter, ten Early Years Ambassador settings in Essex have now been established who will be developing ideas in their setting and possibly in their wider communities. Look out for ideas handouts to be given out through upcoming early years events and also check out www.essexlegacy.org and www.london2012.com to find out the latest news. Please let us know about your plans to celebrate this once in a lifetime event! Email email@example.com
CRB checks - something to think about! Have you thought about the validation of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check? Here at Essex County Council, all employees who work within the Schools, Children and Families Directorate have to renew their CRB every three years. Whilst this is not a legal requirement, Essex County Council feels that it is good practice. This provides a safeguard that anyone who works with children or has access to children and settings’ sensitive information is suitable to do so, and no one is allowed to commence work until they have a completed a satisfactory CRB check. ■ A re you aware that all new employees have to complete a new CRB check, even if the employee’s latest one is only a few months old? ■ D oes your setting have a policy on CRB checks? ■ A s an employer are you happy that a CRB check does not have to be renewed? ■ Do you know your parents/ carers thoughts on this?
■ I f you are a childminder, and as such are not required to regularly renew your CRB check, have you considered doing it anyway as an example of good practice and as evidence to parents. We are all passionate about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, so remember to double check your CRB and safeguarding policies are all up to date.
The government’s vetting and barring system which was due to come into place is now on hold. It would have given employers another way of checking employee and volunteer suitability to work with children. For latest information on the government’s vetting and barring scheme visit www.isa.homeoffice.gov.uk
An amazing opportunity for all early years practitioners in Essex Claire Warden, founder of Mindstretchers is set to travel to Essex to lead a day of excitement, fun and outdoor exploration. The event will be held at Cressing Temple Barns near Braintree and will involve interactive practical outdoor activities.
This exciting event will inspire everyone who attends and is open to early years practitioners working in an Essex based setting.
Claire is an award winning lecturer who has an international reputation for pioneering work in education. Her key areas of work focus on motivational maths, consulting children, and children’s connection to the natural world. In her talks, she shares her passion for early years education and explores the amazing curiosity children have for learning through nature.
Date: 29 March 2012
Venue: Cressing Temple Barns, Cressing, Braintree, CM77 8PD Time: 9.30am to 3.30pm If you would like to be part of this special event please email the Workforce Development team at firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE – the session is being held in the ‘Wheat Barn’ which can be very cold and the afternoon session will be spent OUTSIDE in the weather. Please ensure you are prepared for all weather conditions.
Spaces are limited, don’t miss out!
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Early years and childcare sector training update Between May and December 2011, we delivered thirty ESCB Approved Safeguarding Children Foundation Training Level 2 courses across Essex, with 925 early years practitioners updating their skills and knowledge on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The training is always well received and spaces fill very quickly. Since May 2011, we have secured Essex County Council Adult Community Learning to deliver the following courses and feedback from delegates has been very positive, and they will be delivering this training for the year April 2012 - March 2013. ■ P aediatric First Aid: 25 courses delivered across Essex with 110 delegates attending ■ H ealth & Safety CIEH Level 3: 6 courses delivered across Essex with 41 delegates attending ■ H ealth & Safety Level 2: 7 courses delivered across Essex with 109 delegates attending ■ F ood Hygiene Level 2: 6 courses across Essex with 104 delegates attending. For this spring term we currently have core training courses booked as follows: ■ E SCB Approved Safeguarding Children Foundation Training Level 2: 18 courses running with a majority of them now fully booked
We have had some new training opportunities available this term including Emotional Health and Wellbeing – A Practical Introduction to CAMHS across Early Years Provision and United Nations Rights of the Child (UNRC). We hope to be able to report back on the success of these courses in the next Early Years and Childcare newsletter. We have listened to your comments and read your feedback and as a result have delivered training on Saturdays to meet the needs of a busy workforce. We have also trialled delivering training during half term holidays which again has been very successful. This is something we will be looking at again for the future. We are always keen to receive your feedback so please feel free to email earlyyears.training@essex. gov.uk with your comments and we will respond to you personally.
The Early Years and Childcare Training Brochure goes electronic! The Summer 2012 edition of the Early Years and Childcare training brochure will be the first one which we will be issuing electronically and not in hard copy print. We hope that you will appreciate that this will make significant savings on the cost of printing, post and distribution, and release funds for other pressing priorities. It also means that as a setting you can choose to print a copy off or to cascade it to staff via email. However if this does cause a particular issue for you please let our Early Years and Childcare Communications team know via email to email@example.com
■ P aediatric First Aid: 12 courses, plus three extra booked due to high demand ■ H ealth & Safety CIEH Level 3: 4 courses ■ H ealth & Safety Level 2: 4 courses ■ F ood Hygiene Level 2: 4 courses, plus one extra due to high demand
Men in childcare, whatâ€™s your opinion? The Early Years and Childcare Careers team are following in the footsteps of other local authorities and promoting the importance of men working in the early years and childcare sector. The work sets out to challenge and break down the common misconceptions that the public have which has an influence on the low number of males within the profession. The Early Years and Childcare Careers team sent out three questionnaires to gauge the opinions of settings, parents and menâ€™s own opinions of males working in childcare. We received a fantastic total of 314 responses. All three questionnaires gave similar results with each group of respondents indicating positive views of men working in childcare, but recognising the negative viewpoint of others which can make an individual question their own career decision. Responses received from settings indicate a very positive
view about the value of having male practitioners; however, a high percentage of settings expressed wariness about the concerns which parents can have regarding a male practitioner looking after their children. This could prevent settings being more proactive in seeking male employees. The common factor between male respondents and those of parents was the often negative media portrayal of men working with children which can generate misunderstandings and at worst, suspicions of why men might make this career choice. Parents commented that although they would be wary at
first of a male being employed in a setting, if information and support was provided from the beginning, this would alleviate any concerns they may have. Although there are a low number of men working in the early years and childcare sector, the questionnaires had a high response rate from males expressing their interest in a career within the profession. However, the factors mentioned previously, combined with the perceived lack of support from settings and potential colleagues meant that they felt concerned about pursuing a career within early years.
Parents - Generally are positive about a male working in childcare, however, because of negative media perception and the lack of males working in a setting, this causes concern.
Men - Generally would consider a career in childcare, however, worried about the opinions of parents, media perception and acceptance from potential colleagues.
Settings - Generally believe there are many positive aspects of a male worker, however are worried about what the parents might think and how the male would deal with a female dominated environment.
Early Years and Childcare News in If information was provided to parents about the male worker, and information sessions or training were held to break down the barriers and commonly held misconceptions, then as a community we could break this continuous cycle and reinforce the fact that it is positive for men to work in the early years and childcare sector. The Early Years and Childcare Careers team hope to use this information to inform our future communication strategy to attract more men into the sector. Additionally, they are currently organising a focus group, so if you are a male practitioner who would like to assist in shaping the future of our male recruitment drive please email workingwithchildren@essex. gov.uk or call 01245 438550 for more information. In the meantime please see a quote from one of the respondents which we feel said it all! “By excluding males from a child’s early years we are enforcing the idea that men should be avoided or mistrusted, stereotypes are reinforced at a time when the divide between men and women - and what’s expected of them is becoming ever more blurred. Bringing up a child with ‘half a story’ will in the long term be of no benefit to anyone!” Thank you so much to all who gave their opinions to assist with the male recruitment campaign and we shall keep you posted as we progress with this exciting project.
Workforce Development Funding for April 2012 - March 2013 Early Years and Childcare Training Fund The Early Years and Childcare Training Fund supports the growth for qualification development across the early years workforce to continue to raise quality in practice. At the time of going to press, and due to finalisation of budgets we are unable to confirm the level of any financial support that Essex Early Years and Childcare may be able to offer for the 2012/13 funding period. All current contracts end on 31st March 2012 and it will be necessary for your setting to reapply. Levels of funding, along with eligibility and criteria do change year on year and you are advised to familiarise yourself with the conditions of any funding. Please look out for further details that will be sent to your setting, and note the cut off dates for applications. If you are awarded any funding, please ensure you thoroughly read and understand your contractual responsibilities including monitoring requirements before signing.
Settings with a current EYP contract All current EYP funding contracts end on 31st March 2012 and we expect to be in a position to advise next year’s funding details by March. We will write to all EYPs that have been in receipt of funding during the current financial year with details of the grant as soon as we are aware, giving full details of the application process and deadlines. Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with any
changes to the fund and submit your application, along with your supporting evidence in plenty of time.
Newly Achieved Early Years Professionals (EYPs) Congratulations on achieving your Early Years Professional Status (EYPs). If your setting is eligible and wishes to apply for funding on your behalf, please contact the Early Years Workforce Development team as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and setting details, including a brief summary of your role and responsibilities. We will then contact you to explain the funding criteria.
Current Foundation Degree contracts (due to start Year 2/3 in 2012) We will write to your setting during February 2012 giving full details of the application process and deadline. Please ensure you read the eligibility of the grant and apply in plenty of time.
New funding applications for 2012 Level 3 – 5 For practitioners looking to undertake further qualifications (Level 3 – 5) from April 2012, or for further information regarding qualification funding, please telephone Victoria Thomas on 01245 438552 or email email@example.com
How can the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service benefit you? The Early Years and Childcare Careers team manage the www.essexeyjobs.co.uk website where settings can advertise their vacancies. The Recruitment Practice Adviser can support settings with all aspects of the recruitment and selection process to help ensure applicants with the correct knowledge, skills and abilities for the role are recruited. Debbie Lamb, owner of Little Lambs Pre-school of Mistley, tells us how the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service has benefited her setting. How long have you used the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service for? I have been using the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service since the end of May 2011, when the Little Lambs Pre-school of Mistley opened. What benefits do you feel the Early Years and Childcare Careers team offers over other advertising medium or recruitment agencies? The Early Years and Childcare Careers Service advertise vacancies on the www.essex-eyjobs.co.uk website and through Job Centre Plus, which attracts a good pool of applicants. As well as advertising the pre-schoolâ€™s vacancies, the Recruitment Practice Adviser assisted in all aspects of the recruitment process, including undertaking a job analysis, devising job descriptions and person specifications and assisting with developing a fair and consistent approach to shortlisting candidates for interview. Additionally, the Early Years and Childcare Careers team provided information on employment legislation, in particular with relation to the Working Time regulations and the current national minimum wage. The Early Years and Childcare Careers team can assist with all aspects of the recruitment process rather than being solely an advertising medium.
What is your opinion on the quality of applications received from the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service? The quality of applications that I received from the Careers team was outstanding. I have recruited three members of staff since May 2011 through the www.essex-eyjobs.co.uk website. How easy is the online system to use in terms of adding a job onto the www.essex-eyjobs.co.uk website and what technical support is available? When I first started using the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service a Recruitment Practice Adviser gave technical support to assist in adding a job onto the website. The online system is easy to use and allows for vacancies to be added onto the website as and when required. Additionally, job descriptions and person specifications can be attached to the vacancy to help attract applicants with the knowledge, skills and abilities that are required for the role.
Have you attended the Recruitment Best Practice training? I have attended the Recruitment Best Practice training and I found it very helpful and informative. Throughout the training I received a lot of useful information that has helped shape Little Lambs Pre-school of Mistleyâ€™s recruitment and selection procedures. I would happily recommend this course to any other early years practitioners who are directly involved in the recruitment process. Would you recommend the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service to other settings? I would definitely recommend the Early Years and Childcare Careers Service to other settings as I found the team very helpful and my questions and queries were answered to my satisfaction. The www.essex-eyjobs.co.uk website is widely used by early years practitioners and all of my vacancies have attracted outstanding applicants.
For more information on how to advertise a vacancy on our website, receive advice on recruitment and selection procedures or book onto the Recruitment Best Practice training please visit www.essex-eyjobs.co.uk or call 01245 438550.
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Contacts for Early Years and Childcare in Essex Contact Address Early Years and Childcare PO Box 47, Chelmsford CM2 6WN
SENCAN Special Educational Needs and Children with Additional Needs
General Enquiries Tel: 01245 438500
Mid Area Team (Chelmsford, Braintree & Maldon) Crossman House Station Approach Braintree CM7 3QA Telephone: 01376 550349
Business Support and Funding Information for Registered Childcare Providers Business Support Helpdesk Tel: 01245 438554 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Childrenâ€™s Centres and Childcare Capacity Please telephone the Early Years and Childcare main number: 01245 438500. Early Years and Childcare Recruitment Team Tel: 01245 438550 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.essex-eyjobs.co.uk Early Years and Childcare News Charlotte Lodge, Communications Officer Tel: 01245 438543 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Family Information Service Tel: 0800 055 6874 Email: email@example.com Free Early Years Education Entitlement Terry Hollingsworth, Free Entitlement Funding Manager Tel: 01245 438553 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
North East Area Team (Colchester & Tendring) Park Road Colchester CO3 3UP Telephone: 01206 711112 South Area Team (Brentwood, Castlepoint, Rochford & Basildon) The Knares Basildon SS16 5RX Telephone: 01268 632360 West Area Team (Epping, Harlow & Uttlesford) Latton Green Resource Centre Riddings Lane Harlow CM18 7HT Telephone: 01279 453507
Training and Qualifications Guidance Please telephone the Early Years and Childcare main number: 01245 438500
Partner Contact Details Pre-School Learning Alliance For information and support on pre-school (including baby and toddler groups), full daycare, out of school, crĂ¨che and childminder provision: Tel: 01245 438563 Email: email@example.com
This information is issued by Essex County Council, Schools, Children and Families Directorate Early Years and Childcare You can contact us in the following ways: By email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our website: essex.gov.uk/earlyyears By telephone: 01245 438500 By post: Essex County Council, Early Years and Childcare PO Box 47, Chelmsford CM2 6WN Read our online magazine at essex.gov.uk/ew Essex_CC
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Published February 2012
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