Sector News

Hopscotch Announces Nursery Managers Conference 2023

Hopscotch Announces Nursery Managers Conference 2023

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Hopscotch Early Years Consultancy has announced that their successful Nursery Managers Conference will return on October 5th and 6th 2023. The annual conference is specifically designed around the needs of nursery managers and leaders, with expert speakers delivering masterclasses focused on the most crucial challenges that Early Years leaders face in their quest to deliver excellent provision and lead their teams.

Held at the five-star Rockcliffe Hall Hotel just outside Darlington in County Durham, the event promises to offer not only six expert-hosted masterclasses across two days, but also the opportunity to network and relax over lunch, a drinks reception and three-course gala dinner, as well as unlimited access to the spa facilities.

Managing Director Laura Hoyland said; “Our Managers conference is always a highlight of the year and this year is going to be bigger and better still. With an ever-evolving industry and fresh challenges that managers face, our masterclasses zero in on some of the major focus areas and empower managers and leaders to deliver outstanding results at inspection as well as to meet the challenges they face every day. We’re really excited to welcome the delegates to Rockcliffe Hall for two days that will be fun, informative and packed!”

For a limited time, Hopscotch are offering a second place at a discount of £100 when a manager signs up at the full price of £695. Head to for more information on the conference and to book your place.

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Government scraps “disqualification by association” rule

Government scraps “disqualification by association” rule

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Early years practitioners will no longer have an automatic ban from working with children due to their living arrangements.

The Government announced today its conclusions as a result of a consultation on disqualification arrangements in schools and childcare settings.

NDNA and the early years sector have argued for many years that the blanket ban on practitioners who lived in the same house as certain offenders being able to work with children was unfair and also confusing.

The consultation set out three options in its consultation document:

Option 1 –remove disqualification by association in schools and non-domestic registered settings 
Option 2 –
retain disqualification by association, but introduce a new right to make representations to Ofsted before the disqualification takes effect
Option 3 –retain disqualification by association, but reduce its scope and introduce a new right to make representations to Ofsted before the disqualification takes effect

The government will support option 1 which was chosen by the majority of respondents who thought the measure was disproportionate to the risk to children.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “We welcome the Government’s clarity on this issue and are pleased it has listened to the early years sector.

“The existing rules about disqualification by association were very complicated and unclear. We first highlighted this to the Department for Education a number of years ago and developed resources to help nurseries manage this issue.

“Nurseries must have robust safeguarding procedures which should ensure that all children are safe while any practitioners whose household arrangements are looked into carefully remain in situ.”

Changes to the Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 are being prepared and expected to be implemented from September 2018.

The response document also states: “We will support employers in this important area by strengthening our statutory guidance to address the changes we are making to the legislation. The guidance will reinforce the importance of existing safeguarding policies, including the requirements on all employers to conduct safer recruitment checks, as required by our Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance.

“It will also encourage employers to consider whether their policies are clear about the expectations they place on staff, including where their relationships and associations outside of the workplace may have implications for the safeguarding of children. Our aim is to help employers create the right culture and environment, so they can safeguard their employees’ welfare and help them manage children’s safety.”

Childcare provided on domestic premises will still be subject to the disqualification by association arrangements.

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Are You Ready For Data Protection Compliance?

Are You Ready For Data Protection Compliance?

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With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implementation fast approaching, Early Years Providers need to ensure they are complaint with the new regulations. All organisations that handle personal data need to apply the Regulation from 25th May 2018.

Whilst Early Years Providers are not classed as large scale providers of data and therefore do not need to appoint a Data Protection Officer, they hold significant amounts of sensitive data and need to ensure they comply with the regulations. Non-compliance can result in fines of up to £500,000 from the Information Commission office and individuals have the right to claim compensation if they are distressed by the misuse of their personal data.

In general, Early Years setting should already be compliant with the majority of the new regulations due to them following Data Protection and Privacy laws. However internal policy and procedures must be reviewed and updated. For example, as highlighted in the link below, statements on consent forms need to be to ensure Parents and Guardians know:

  • The setting’s lawful basis for processing their data
  • Retention periods
  • That individuals have a right to complain to the ICO

For more information to support your setting, access the links below:

Hopscotch can help you navigate through this process if you feel you need support – get in touch today!

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Government Launches ‘Childcare Choices’ Website For Parents

Government Launches ‘Childcare Choices’ Website For Parents

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The Government’s promised new website aimed at informing parents about their options and entitlement to financial support for childcare – including of course hot-button topics like tax-free childcare and the 30 hours scheme, has finally gone live.

Childcare Choices offers details of the above recent Government initiatives as well as giving parents information on other schemes, such as 15 free hours, tax credits, Universal Credit and childcare vouchers. Included with the information published are several calculator tools and also the ability for parents to sign up to be notified of the roll-out of new initiatives and the start of their entitlement for funding or support as their children hit the required age.

For providers, this should result in a) a higher uptake of services as parents are likely to have more knowledge to what they’re entitled and b) more time spent discussing the specifics of how parents access these schemes in their setting.

Whilst the ongoing discussion in the sector is still very much about the perceived gap in funding between what local authorities are offering providers to cover the costs of policies such as the 30 hours scheme and what a provider’s real costs are, an increased uptake of Early Years provision may in the longer term benefit the majority of providers. Hopscotch has spent a great deal of time already with some of our clients modelling how their finances and operational expenditure look under the proposals and where the expected pinch points are both with availability and of course capacity – we are of course always available to provide the same service to new and existing customers.

With the new scheme rolling out in April in some initial local authority areas, we are perfectly positioned to quickly understand and help our clients adapt to these changing times!

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