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Complete our facebook Poll on whether we are overfeeding babies and creating obese children.

Public health England has stated it is now time to tackle overeating from birth. Givernment advisors have completed new advice on how to feed babies. the report states that three quarters of babies and roddlers are eating more calories than they should.

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Are we overfeeding our babies, or is this article just another exaggerated statistic from the government putting pressure on parents and carers? what are your thoughts, do we need to change our babies and children's diet?


Complete our Poll here:


Philip Inman Writes an article on the decline of Apprenticeship starts in 2017-2018

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Call for apprentice scheme revamp as training places fall
Number of people starting an apprenticeship fell by 34% in first three terms of 2017-18

Opposition MPs and business bodies said much of the blame for the collapse in apprenticeships could be put on a £3bn apprenticeship levy brought in last April.

The government has come under pressure to revamp its apprenticeship scheme after figures showed the number of training places slumped by a third over the last nine months.
In the first three terms of the 2017-18 academic year, the number of people starting an apprenticeship fell to 290,500, a 34% reduction on the 440,300 during the same nine-month period in the previous year. It is also nearly 25% down on the 384,500 apprenticeships started in the equivalent period in 2015-16.The figures are a blow to the education secretary, Damian Hinds, who in his short time in office has emphasised the need for students to acquire workplace skills.

Opposition MPs and business bodies said much of the blame for the collapse in apprenticeships could be put on a £3bn apprenticeship levy brought in last April, which they said was overly bureaucratic and failed to accommodate the needs of businesses.
Gordon Marsden, the shadow minister for higher and further education, said the government was “ignoring the widespread concerns about apprenticeships” that had meant figures for new starts falling in every month since April 2017.
“Labour, businesses, and providers have called for an urgent reassessment of the process but ministers have buried their heads in the sand. Their refusal to review the levy is now causing major damage to the apprenticeship brand,” Marsden said.

Edwin Morgan, the director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said the figures “do not make for pleasant reading” and that, on the current trajectory, it would not be possible for the government to meet its target of 3m apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Businesses have complained that the levy is payable even when staff are away on secondment or attending course at suppliers. Firms pay the levy up front and claim it back when they employ apprentices.

Morgan said: “From the beginning, businesses have raised valid concerns around the complexity and rigidity of the system. Improving skills is a leading concern for our members. It’s now time for government to rethink the approach and work with businesses to turn the levy from a drag on apprenticeships into a system that delivers the right skills in the right places.”

The apprenticeships and skills minister, Anne Milton, admitted there was a decrease in the overall number of people starting apprenticeships but said there had been a 1,000% increase in the number of “higher-quality” apprenticeships.
She said: “There are also tens of thousands more people starting on higher-level apprenticeships, which are available in a range of cutting-edge industries, and more people achieving their apprenticeships.”

Businesses complained before the levy was introduced that it was cumbersome, especially for small and medium-sized firms, and was being implemented too quickly. Many only had a few months to put in place the scheme once ministers agreed on the finer details.
Karen Jones, the group HR director at the housebuilder Redrow, said critics should take into consideration that the results would be skewed by the surge in starts last April before the levy was introduced.

“However, this is not to say that barriers do not persist.,” she said. “Apprenticeship uptake among lower-income and disadvantaged backgrounds is still too low and reducing the financial burden for young people and their families by ensuring that they do not lose their child benefit would be a good way to better the situation.”


safeguarding blog imageSafeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. ... protecting children from abuse and maltreatment. preventing harm to children's health or development. ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care.

ROLE OF THE DSL                                                                                   The role of the Designated Safeguarding Person was specified in the Children Act 2004 and ensured that every organisation had a “named person” for safeguarding children and young people. Prior to that, the role had frequently been known as the Child Protection Officer. The Designated Safeguarding Person has a responsibility at both a strategic level within the organisation and on a day to day basis.



safeguarding key blog

Key Aspects of the role includes:

 ü Making sure all staff are aware how to raise safeguarding concerns

 ü Ensuring all staff understand the symptoms of child abuse and neglect

 ü Referring any concerns to social care

 ü Monitoring children who are the subject of child protection plans

 ü  Maintaining accurate and secure child protection records



jigsaw safeguarding blogAll schools and childcare settings should ensure they have designates and appropriate senior member of staff to take lead responsibility for child protection. This person should have the status and authority to carry out the duties of the post including committing resources and, where appropriate, supporting and directing other staff.

The designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. This should be explicit within the role-holders job description. This person should have the appropriate status and authority to carry out the duties of the post.

For more information on our safeguarding and designated lead safeguarding courses please click here


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It has been widely documented over the last few years that recruitment and retention within childcare is reaching crisis point; the catalyst appears to be the change in GCSE requirements which has not rebalanced since reverting back to functional skills. The general consensus across the sector is that staffing issues are impinging on settings being able to meet the increasing demand for childcare places compounded by the 30hrs funded childcare.

The NDNA have recently published their childcare workforce survey 2018. This produced some statistics that were shocking even for those of us whom work within the sector. Key findings included:

• The level of level 3 qualified staff in settings has dropped to 66%, a decrease from 75% in 2016/17 and 83% in 2015/16

• 34% of practitioners surveyed told us they were considering leaving the sector

• 66% of employers struggle to employ level 3 staff

• Of the practitioners surveyed 34% stated they were considering leaving the sector.

Main reasons given for leaving the sector:

  • Salaries
  • Not suited to the childcare sector (51% of unqualified and apprentice level personnel entering the sector had not been retained)
  • Loss of passion for the sector due to government policy changes
  • Stress
  • Too much paperwork
  • Demands and responsibilities of the job
  • Lack of career progression

What can be done to turn the tide?

        1. Become an Employer of choice:

         Salary is a major issue for many in the sector so wherever possible it is best practice to be competitive in your area, however given financial constraints this may not be an option, so                     additional benefits can both attract and retain staff:

  • Benefits scheme – healthcare, high street discounts etc
  • Recommend a fried scheme
  • Free lunch
  • Free uniforms
  • Additional days off – birthdays, long service
  • Discounted childcare
  • Staff surveys
  • Mentoring schemes
  • Awards
  • Reward days and staff development days

To give credence to the above the award-winning nursery chain Elmscot Group completed a staff survey which highlighted what they wanted from an employer:

  • Working for a provider with a good reputation
  • A good financial and benefits package
  • Being treated well by their manager and having interest shown in their welfare
  • Getting on with colleagues
  • Training and professional development
  • Being able to take the initiative at work
  • Job satisfaction
  • Clear priorities and objectives
  • Being with a company that is fun to work for

             2. Continuous professional development

Many people are leaving the profession as they feel they cannot progress. Career options for Nursery Practitioners are often not discussed as settings are afraid of losing staff if alternative paths are discussed. It is important to look at the bigger picture of keeping people within early years as a whole. Discussing options such as community nursery nursing, family intervention work, and teaching may keep people engaged for longer whilst they look at study options.

Running regular internal training sessions, mentoring schemes and bringing in external trainers delivering inspirational courses can have a huge impact on staff morale and spark those ‘lightbulb moments’.

It is worth noting that ‘Apprenticeship funding’ can be used for both new employees hoping to secure relevant experience and childcare qualifications, but also to upskill existing staff. By utilising the apprenticeship funding in this way an employer is demonstrating their commitment to the continuous professional development of their existing staff team (relevant training that could be accessed could be team leading, management, higher level Early Years qualifications, and even Early years Teaching qualifications) . This will be extremely beneficial to your employee’s long-term career prospects, but the benefits to your nursery will outweigh any cost implications, in terms of having a knowledgeable and highly trained team and can support your long-term succession planning. More importantly a highly trained team will, in return, create best outcomes for children in all areas.

3. Employing apprentices

The NDNA survey highlighted that 51% of unqualified staff and apprentices did not stay the term. Hiring an apprentice should also be part of your long-term succession planning, many apprentices leave as the pressure of the sector is too much. The initial recruitment process should be as thorough as when recruiting qualified staff (though expectations will be lower) and the demands of the job should be highlighted before any hire. Ongoing support for an apprentice is essential to ensure they complete the qualification and then stay in the sector. Working a 40hr week on a shift basis is difficult for anyone new to work, with additional work on top is almost ‘setting people up to fail’. Providing apprentices with 20% off the job training is mandatory but also enables the learner to have quality time completing assignments, shadowing, mentoring and reflecting.


4.Flexible working

A huge barrier to recruitment is the lack of flexibility from the sector as a whole to accommodate shorter working hours or job shares. The requirement to work 40 hrs on a set shift pattern is excluding many people from the sector, especially those with families and/or returning to work from maternity leave. Implementing hours such as such as set patterns of 9am to 6pm, 8am to 5pm, or 2/3 long days can Initially this can be a logistical nightmare, but once in place remunerations of being able to hire very experienced and qualified staff whom are able to enjoy a work life balance will redress this preliminary challenge.

Many nurseries are now implementing this with success rates including the aforementioned Elmscot group and Little Garden Day Nurseries.

5. Lobby government, join campaigns, attend school careers fairs

With a collective voice things can change the #saveourearlyyears campaign was proof that support in numbers really can support a change in government policy.

Government policy changes have contributed to the crisis the sector is now facing so lobby your local MP to highlight the issues facing the sector which are potentially crippling the growth of many nurseries and impacting the availability of childcare provision (this in turn affects the economy and the educational development of children). Support the #MITEY (men in Early Years) campaign.

Bamboo Childcare and Bamboo Training & Apprenticeships regularly attend schools speaking with young people from year 11 onwards about career paths to raise the profile of the sector. We need to change the perception of the sector and look at the long-term plan of raising the profile of the sector; collaborative working with government;, education; media; governing bodies; partner organisations as well as making quicker changes to the benefits of working in nurseries.

The above is not a guarantee of an instant fix for the issues many settings are facing but can be a step in the right direction. For many people working in childcare is still a fantastically rewarding vocation for many reasons, and the majority are very happy in their roles, it is up to those of us still passionate about the sector to spread the message as far as possible.

Bamboo Childcare is a specialist permanent recruitment company supporting nurseries to find quality staff in an increasingly demanding sector. Quality, knowledge and reputation have always been at the forefront of our company and we run networking events for the sector.

Our new division Bamboo Training & Apprenticeships is hoping to address the shortfall in the sector through quality apprenticeship delivery whilst also delivering short courses such as safeguarding, First Aid, the wonder of babies etc.

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What age are children ready to stay home alone?

As all parents know, children mature at their own pace, so there is no magic age when kids are ready to be left home alone. Essentially, age isn’t what determines whether your child can handle the responsibility of staying home alone ─ his stage of development does.

5 questions to ask before you let your children stay home alone
It can be outright scary to think of your children home alone, making decisions for themselves without your care and direction. Answering these five questions will help you feel more at ease about letting them care for themselves while you step out.
• Are they at least 12 years old?
• Do they want to stay home alone?
• Do they have additional needs?
• Are they independent
• Have they had any safety training?
• Have you worked with them to prepare for when you're not home?

What is Babysitting?          babysitting 2

Babysitting is essentially the temporary care of a child for a short period of time often when parents are going out socially, or attending an evening event with work. The role varies from keeping an eye on sleeping children, changing nappies, playing games and geenray entertaining them, making snacks, watching TV with them.

Who does it?
The majority of the time, babysitters tend to be in the later years of high school or college (age 15+), although parents/caregiver will often utilise friends and family adults for this purpose.

Think About What You’re Asking a Babysitter to Do
There’s more to babysitting than showing up on time and hanging out with your children. Your babysitter is being asked to assume responsibility for your child’s life when you’re away. There’s no bigger job than that!
Here are some guidelines:
• Consider the number of children the sitter will be caring for and for how many hours.
• Short babysitting jobs are best for new sitters.
• More than two children are too difficult to supervise

Hire a sitter that’s taken a babysitting course. It’s great for the safety of your children as well as your sitter. Teens who’ve taken a course are more equipped and confident in their life and safety skills.


More info on this topic