Having a financially healthy childcare provision

3 January 2020

Many providers have their accounting year end at the end of the calendar or fiscal year (31 December or 31 March), but whatever the provision’s year-end date Val Moore reminds us that childcare is a business, must be run on business lines and that includes keeping control of the finances.

Recruiting more men into the early years

3 January 2020

With one of the lowest levels of male participation of any workforce in the UK, the early years sector faces many challenges in addressing the gender imbalance in childcare provisions. Elizabeth Walker looks at the barriers to male recruitment and the latest guidance for early years providers on encouraging more men into childcare.

Five things employers should be aware of in 2020

2 January 2020

This new year is set to be a very busy one for employment law and employers need to be ready for this. As we welcome in 2020, Ben McCarthy, employment law writer at Croner-i, examines some of the key upcoming changes.

Using Bookstart packs to engage parents

13 December 2019

Many nurseries and pre-schools will receive an annual allocation of Bookstart Treasure Gift envelopes to distribute to their three- to four-year-olds within their provision. Liz Hodgman, an experienced childcare practitioner, suggests that rather than just handing them out to child and parent at pick-up time, with some planning these packs can provide a great resource for engaging parents within the provision and improving the home learning environment.

National Minimum Wage — exemptions

11 December 2019

While most employees and workers will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), there are certain groups who are exempt from this requirement, meaning they are free to agree their own rate of payment. Croner Taxwise explains the groups and where the exemptions lie.

6 ways to help support mental health in the early years

6 December 2019

Government data suggests that 8% of 5 to 10-year-olds and 12% of 11 to 16-year-olds may have a clinically diagnosed mental health condition. For many, their problems may have begun in the early years. Young children can show clear signs of emotional issues at a very early age, including signs of anxiety or depression, post-traumatic stress, attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorders and autistic spectrum disorders. Nursery staff must pay attention to these signs and act accordingly. Organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation firmly believe that many mental health problems in children are preventable and that there is considerable scope for intervention by early years care givers. What are some of the most effective actions that early years staff can take to promote good mental health in the under 5s and support families affected by mental health issues? Martin Hodgson investigates.

Self-assessment tax returns

6 December 2019

Self-assessment is the method used for accounting for income tax to HMRC. Tax is automatically deducted from wages, pensions and savings. Persons and businesses with other income (such as rental income, investment income, commissions) must submit a self-assessment return.

Supporting language development in the early years

28 November 2019

With increasing numbers of children starting school with poor speech and communication skills, it is essential that practitioners support young children’s language development in early years provisions. Early years staff play a key role in encouraging and supporting language acquisition as well as identifying any potential difficulties children may be experiencing, writes Elizabeth Walker.


22 November 2019

Babies are born completely egocentric but over time develop the ability to see situations from others’ viewpoints. Liz Hodgman, Childcare Consultant, looks at how children’s egocentrism declines as their empathy and social skills develop and how childcare practitioners can support this process.