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BLOG: PACEY's festive roundup 2019

This year has been a busy and eventful one, and here at PACEY we wanted to share some of the key achievements and thank our members for being a part of it all. For a more detailed roundup of how we have impacted policy in 2019, take a look at the latest policy blog.

January

The year began with the then Childcare Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP, spending the morning visiting a childminding setting in Hayes, run by PACEY and board member, Vicky Finn. The visit was organised after a parliamentary question revealed the minister had visited five nurseries and four primary schools, but no childminders. It was a fantastic opportunity for the minister to see how these settings work and talk to him about the key issues facing the sector and our members.

February

This month a delegation from the early years sector in Malaysia visited PACEY to find out more about how we support providers, and the childcare and early years landscape in the UK. The group met with PACEY President Penny Tassoni as well as key members of staff, and openly discussed common challenges between the two countries.

We also announced two exciting projects to further support our members and the wider sector. Firstly, we shared details of our innovative digital CPD resource, EY smart, which is due to launch in early 2020. Our call for a Practitioner Insight Panel (PIP) received an overwhelming response and work on the project is well underway. Secondly, our Department for Education funded project Together for Twos launched its work with seven local authorities and Job Centre Plus to not only support the parental take up of the 2-year-old offer, but also to promote childminders as a childcare and career option.

February also saw the publication of the Spring 2019 issue of Childcare Professional in its new A5 size. The issue focused on de-stressing your body, brain and business, featured a one-to-one with author Eric Carle, talked about STEM in the early years and more.

March

In March we launched our campaign #notababysitter. We understand members’ frustrations when they’re referred to as babysitters rather than the childcare professionals they are. This campaign tackles this and other myths. Our campaign promotes the high quality care that childminders provide every day. To date the campaign has had a reach of over 700,000 on social media.

This month also saw the launch of new benefits exclusively for PACEY members. The first was a discounted health cash plan from Medicash, allowing PACEY members and their families to access low-cost insurance with cash back towards everyday healthcare bills. Secondly, all PACEY members now get a FREE online subscription and 30% off print subscription to the fantastic Creative Steps magazine.

March saw the launch of the WeCare campaign in Wales with PACEY Cymru a key part of this. The national campaign aims to help attract more people to work in care and is a collaboration between Social Care Wales and leading organisations representing social care, early years and childcare in Wales, as well as other national bodies involved in job-seeking and careers advice. A PACEY member and PACEY Cymru Associate were filmed as part of this campaign and have provided recognition for the work of our sector.

Also in Wales work began with NDNA Cymru to support delivery of their Childcare Works programme as a good example of collaborative working. As part of the programme PACEY Cymru began working to promote opportunities to become a registered childminder through a series of childminder information sessions in the ten local authority areas involved in the programme.

April

In Wales we reported on our work with Job Centre Plus that supports informing and updating individuals about the process involved in registering as a childminder and enable them to promote childminding as a career. choice.

May

This month we published what would become our most popular blog for 2019 about cultural capital. In advance of the publication of the Education Inspection Framework in September, Ofsted spoke to us about what cultural capital means for the early years. The blog has so far had over 46,000 page views.

PACEY also joined forces with other leading organisations in the early years sector to create the EYFS coalition. A survey was launched to better understand the sector’s opinion of and attitude towards the EYFS ahead of the government consultation later in the year.

June

We published the Summer issue of Childcare Professional in June with a focus on child poverty and how childcare professionals can best prepare themselves to support children and parents who are living in poverty. Additional features included conversations with clinical psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, who discussed supporting children who speak more than one language.

PACEY Cymru was excited to announce that they are a co-delivery partner of the Welsh Active for Early Years programme through Healthy & Active Funding from Sport Wales. Early Years Wales and Welsh Gymnastics partnered to deliver the Welsh Active for Early Years programme to 0-5 year olds across Wales with PACEY Cymru co-delivering the programme. The 4-week multi-skills movement and play based bilingual activity programme is delivered directly to children and parents/carers at community-based venues and outdoor spaces and the first sessions have now been delivered and have been well received.

Another exciting programme that was launched this month with PACEY Cymru as a delivery partner was the Camau scheme. This scheme helps workers in the childcare, early years and playwork sector to learn Welsh and improve their language skills.  PACEY Cymru work with other Cwlwm partners and the National Centre for Learning Welsh to enable practitioners in the sector to use more of the Welsh language with children in order to give them a good start on their journey towards becoming fluent Welsh speakers.

July

After announcing the project earlier in the year the Together for Twos resources to support 2-year-olds were launched on the PACEY website. Thanks to the Together for Twos team and their work with members and local authorities, we were able to share a fantastic collection of ideas, inspiration and tools to help you reflect on and extend your practice working with toddlers.

PACEY also began work with the University of Plymouth to investigate the ongoing decline of childminding and gather up to date and valid evidence for the problems impacting practitioners. The response was overwhelming and a testament to how much childminding is valued. A big thanks to those who took time taking part in our research. Look out for more information on this in 2020.

August

Complementing the support given to members via our FAQs, free resources, videos and downloads, PACEY launched a comprehensive guide ‘Education Inspection Framework and You’. Written by early years experts, the guide explains how inspection procedures in early years settings in England have changed with the new framework and explains key terminology.

Our childcare directory SearchChildcare underwent a full makeover this year and was relaunched with a new look and functionality. Remaining totally free for all, our newly improved childcare directory puts high quality early years providers just a click away from parents. PACEY members are also able to access an enhanced listing to set them apart from other local professionals.

PACEY Cymru travelled across Wales to provide Teddy Bears Picnic events for childminders and the children in their care.  Four events were held across Wales funded through the Welsh Government’s Foundation Phase Excellence Network. 

September

We were thrilled to see so many PACEY members celebrating their successes at the prestigious Nursery World Awards ceremony. All those shortlisted for ‘Childminder of the Year’ and ‘Childminding Business of the Year’ were PACEY members. Katherine Cooling-Smith won ‘Childminder of the Year’ while Debbie Watling took ‘Childminding Business of the Year’. We spoke to Katherine about her win and her plans for the future.

Another new member benefit launched this month offering discounts for Butlin’s resorts. Members are now able to save money on selected Butlin’s events and their Privilege Holiday Club.

September saw the launch of a new suite of qualifications for the early years and childcare sector in Wales.  This included the launch of new units for home-based childcarers including childminders and nannies by PACEY Cymru. 

These units were developed in partnership with Social Care Wales to meet the needs of the sector and enable higher quality training pathways for home-based childcare. 

October

At the beginning of October, PACEY and Mummy’s Gin Fund joined forces for the second time for Together for Twos Day – a whole day dedicated to celebrating 2-year-olds and childminders. With videos, Facebook Live chats, blogs and free resources, we shared a wealth of conversation, information and inspiration, making the day a complete success.

November

A general election was called and we released our three key recommendations to politicians. We made it clear to all parties that children and families need high quality early education and childcare, with professionals being fully recognised and properly funded.

As part of our Together for Twos project we launched a new Facebook group for parents called ‘Play to Learn – activities to try at home with your child’. The group is already a popular place to share ideas and support for parents and home learning.

We also published the Autumn/Winter issue of Childcare Professional where we spoke about being confident as a childcare professional and how this is vital for managing stressful situations, maintaining relationships and keeping children happy and healthy.

Another huge member benefit was launched – PACEY members may now apply for a TOTUM PRO (formerly NUS Extra) card and access 200+ savings; ranging from clothing retailers to restaurants and more. With many TOTUM Pro cardholders saving over £500 per year, it’s a great additional member benefit.

December

We finished off the year with PACEY Chief Executive talking to ITV news about the decline in childminding and highlighting this valuable profession that is in danger of disappearing. Watch it all here.

Looking back on 2019 is a great reminder of all that we’ve achieved together. A huge thank you to all of our members and partners for supporting PACEY and the work we do. Without you we would not be able to provide fantastic benefits and influence change in the sector. We’re proud to represent you and the wider early years and childcare sector.

We hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

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