It’s June, which means we’re already nearly halfway through the calendar year and are drawing to the end of the academic year, with all the changes, transitions, goodbyes, and hellos that that brings. In schools, children usually sit exams and look forward to the long summer holidays and the adventures that a new term will bring. In the early years sector, the new academic year brings changes and now is the time to be thinking about getting ready for September before the holiday season kicks in and it is too late to order that latest piece of furniture or recruit the best staff!
With so many changes happening this year (lockdown ending, social distancing easing, and the economy opening up again), it would be easy to miss some important things, so we’ve created an ‘aide memoire’ to help get you organised and ahead of the game.
All change in the EYFS and Early Learning Goals
The new EYFS Framework and new Early Learning Goals become statutory in September. Hopefully, you will have been following our articles over the last few months and will already have begun to incorporate some of the new requirements into your settings. If not, look back through our last few magazines where we have explained the changes and what they mean for you. Remember to look through the new Development Matters and Birth to Five Matters advice documents too.
Fill those spaces
Each June/July, children leave nursery and prepare for the transition into the Reception year. This can leave gaps in your books (and in your income) come September if you have not thought ahead and been marketing your setting effectively. Many parents begin looking for nursery places early in the year, months or even years before they need them, so make sure your marketing and social media sites are up to date and that they show your nursery in the best possible light. You might consider advertising on different media to fill your places or ask parents to spread the word to potential new parents, family and friends. Think about making use of free ‘advertising’ as well – such as sending in news stories and images to the local paper – they are often looking for local interest stories to fill their pages and a report of your setting’s summer fete might be just the one they need.
Plan your year
One thing that successful companies do is to put together a marketing plan for the year ahead, and you could think about doing this in your setting to maximise your time and budgets. Decide when things need to be ready, and then work backwards so that you are not running around at the last minute trying to create a Facebook post or a video guide on the day it needs to be published. You could consider outsourcing some of your marketing or check if your staff have hidden skills in this area that you can make use of and offer them some new career opportunities too.
Get on top of recruitment
If you are hoping to employ new staff in September, make sure you are advertising well in advance, especially if you are making use of the government-funded apprenticeship schemes. School leavers will be looking for jobs early in the year and you may have secured your new recruits then, but remember too that many school leavers are waiting for exam results that come out in August before deciding on their next move. Parenta can help you with all your recruitment needs. Just call us on 0800 002 9242 and leave yourself time for all the safer recruitment checks you need to do too.
Update your policies and admin files
The summer months are a good time to update and review your policies and protocols and update all admin files ready for the start of the term. There are usually updates to safeguarding advice each year and many councils also update their own policies at this time of year too. Look out for updated guidance and advice from children’s services, safeguarding partners, Ofsted, industry organisations and the Department for Education.
Check your buildings/rooms
Is it time to update your spaces? Do they need a lick of paint or is this the time to build that sensory corner you always wanted? Some settings don’t operate in the summer holidays giving them time to refurbish areas, and others sometimes see a drop in numbers during the holidays. By thinking ahead and getting any changes done now, you will save yourself stress in September when you are dealing with all manner of new people and challenges.
Order your stock
Everyone will be ordering for the new year at this time, so make sure you get your orders in early so that you are not disappointed and waiting for games/chairs/tables when you need them most.
Update your training
Plan your CPD schedule for the forthcoming year – are there courses that you’d like to attend, or can you schedule in some CPD each month? Parenta have a number of CPD courses so you could diarise a few over the year to help you plan. See cpd-elearning-courses.parenta.com for more information.
Update your annual calendar and get yourself prepared – put in awareness days/weeks you want to follow, add your staff and statutory holidays and have curriculum items marked on such as religious festivals, days out, and special days like Halloween or St George’s Day, or even highlight the time you suspect Ofsted will be round!
Top ten checklist
- Check all fire and first aid equipment making sure it is still in date and replace as necessary
- Clear your book corner and replace any lost or damaged books
- Check your stationery cupboard and order new items
- Organise your recycling centre – can you recycle anything else?
- Clear your outside space – how about creating a vegetable garden or a nature corner?
- Get your filing done and sort all your teaching resources so things are easy to find
- Set up any new computer/tablet software and train your staff on how to use it
- Revamp your display boards
- Update your social media accounts
- Rename or relabel pegs or lockers with new student names