Spring – Newsletter Cheeky Monkeys The Essex

Cheeky Monkeys Newsletter The Essex

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Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprentice Cheeky Monkey Logo








Are you enthusiastic, cheerful, with more energy than average? Could you create the magic moments that make a childhood? Are you aged over 17?

The Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery Group, part of The Childcare Personnel Company, is looking for apprentice Childcare Assistants to join their growing team whilst studying towards a nationally recognised qualification.

Our nurseries are at the heart of the Colchester community. Purpose built for the children, our nurseries combine modern facilities with bright airy rooms and well laid out gardens for play. Equipment, resources and outdoor play facilities ensure that the children have constant access to a wide variety of activities and areas that support their development and learning.

You will be based at a chosen Cheeky Monkeys nursery (one of three proving childcare services in the Essex region / area and you will be supervised by our nursery managers. Working with the manager and her team which is picked for their expertise and experience. All our nursery nurses have a minimum level 2 childcare qualification (although most have level 3 and it is our aim for all staff to be level 3 trained), as well as food safety, paediatric first-aid and safeguarding qualifications. Cheeky Monkeys is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and we make sure all staff at Cheeky Monkeys share this commitment. All staff and volunteers are subject to an enhanced DBS check.

Baby, toddler and pre-school rooms each have a room leader and each child will have a key-person who has a special responsibility for their care, development and wellbeing. The key-person is there for a chat at the beginning or end of each day and there is an opportunity each term for you to book a key chat session, giving more time to discuss progress and future learning experiences.

If you want to work as part of a friendly, supportive and caring team, that’s dedicated to helping children to learn and grow to be the best they can be, then this is the Apprenticeship for you. Some of your daily activities could include:

Planning and assisting in activities such as arts and crafts, music and cooking

Helping children to learn numeracy and literacy skills

Feeding and changing babies

Upon successful completion of this apprenticeship you’ll gain a nationally recognised childcare qualification, along with functional skills in Maths, English & ICT.

Now is a great time to start your career in childcare as improving child care provision is high on the government’s list of priorities. Their aim to provide free places for all three to four year olds has created thousands of new jobs, and this Apprenticeship will equip you with the relevant skills and requirements to make the most of this growth.

All of your training will be provided by Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery provider at no cost to you.

Please send you CV and covering letter to info@cheekymonkeysessex.co.uk

(Please apply via our webpage www.cheekymonkeysessex.co.uk/careers)


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Autumn Newsletter – Cheeky Monkeys The Essex

What a fast half term that was! But what fun we had, with this half term set to be even busier with lots of celebrations to be had! We hope you enjoy reading all about us, don’t forget to let us know if you would like to know about anything in particular or if you want to share anything!

Nursery News

Staffing news

We would like to welcome Georgia to our team who will be joining us to complete her Level three apprenticeship.

Next step trees

You may have noticed we have new trees located outside each classroom, these colorful trees hold a special set of leaves for each child detailing their next steps that we will be working on this half term, please feel free to have a look at these and don’t forget to keep using tapestry to post pictures of their adventures at home and out and about as it really does help to build up a bigger picture.

On the week commencing 14th November we will be holding parents afternoons where you will be able to book in to come and see your child’s key person and discuss how they are getting on and explore the next steps further! Keep your eyes peeled for further details.

Autumn sensory den

Our babies have loved all the crunchy leaves and exploring their new sensory den! Feel free to pop in and have a look.

Funding changes and parent surveys

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions regarding the funding information in this months invoice, if you feel you are eligible please speak to Laura or Katie, and don’t forget to return the 30 hours funding parents surveys, as it can make a real difference to how we will offer it next September, thank you.

Pampered pooches!

The last few weeks our preschool have created a vets and shampooing parlour (all their own idea and have spent hours booking in their appointments, washing and grooming their pets and making them all better! Thank you to all of you who have brought in pictures of your pets we have loved looking at them!

Socket covers

New guidance published by the NHS this month advises against the use of socket covers, recommending they be removed with immediate effect. You can find more information on their webpage.

Dates for your diaries

Children in need

Join us in your spotty clothes on Friday 18th December as we raise money for children in need! £1 donation on the day would be great! Lots of other fun activities will be happening on the day such as cake sales and messy fun!

St Andrews day

Wednesday 30th November we will be celebrating St Andrews day with a Scottish themed lunch, tartan themed activities and making our own Loch Ness monster!

Christmas lunch

Our Christmas lunch this year will be held on Thursday 15th December, invites for parents to follow.

Parents challenge

What superstars you are, you certainly rose to the challenge in adding your favourite summer memories to tapestry! So thank you!

For this half terms parents challenge, we challenge you to try one of our parent resources that we have that are available to loan, this are based on some of our teams favourite things to do such as bug hunts, cooking, or making play dough, others include nursery favourites such as our travelling monkey that loves to explore new things with you or visiting your favourite places. These are all on the book shelf in the entrance corridor, just let us know which one you would like to borrow, take lots of photos and then return when you’re finished! Good luck!

Grandparents Day

A huge thank you to all those that came to our grandparents party, and for all the lovely comments, we hope to see you all again next year.

 Parents reminder

Fees are due on the first of each month, if you would prefer to pay by BACS then please speak to Laura or Katie and we can give you the banking details.

As highlighted in this month’s invoice we will no longer be accepting cheques as a payment option, thank you for your co-operation.

Term dates

5th September: Funded sessions return.

24th October- 28th October: Half term, please note there are no funded sessions during this week.

16th December: Funded children break up for Christmas

Nursery closes at 6pm on 23rd December and re opens on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

9th January 2017: Funded sessions resume.

Keeping in touch

Have you seen our face book and twitter pages or our website? Stay up to date with all our fun adventures and exciting updates.

Facebook: facebook.com/cheekymonkeysessex

Website: www.cheekymonkeysessex.co.uk

Twitter: Cm_nursery


Don’t forget you can also use our Cheeky Monkeys post box to add your suggestions and ideas into!

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Happy Birthday Your Majesty The Queen

Queen Ltr 1Recently the children at Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery Colchester CI made an amazing birthday card for Her Majesty The Queen and we sent it to her at Buckingham Palace. Well today we received a very important letter from her Majesty the Queen thanking the children for the beautiful card they made her for her 90th birthday celebration. All the children and staff are very excited to have received the letter from the Queen and it will sit proudly in our reception area. Well done children!!! Queen Ltr 1

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Healthy Pack Lunch Options

School dinners have had a radical overhaul. But what about the lunchboxes we pack for our children?

It’s just as important to make sure the lunchbox your child takes to school provides as healthy and balanced a lunch as what they would eat at home.

This means plenty of foods that contain the nutrients that children need, and fewer foods high in sugar and saturated fat.

Preparing your child’s lunchbox

A balanced packed lunch should contain:

  • starchy foods – these are bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and others
  • protein foods – including meat, fish, eggs, beans and others
  • a dairy item – this could be cheese or a yoghurt
  • vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit

Starchy foods are a good source of energy and should make up a third of the lunchbox. But don’t let things get boring.

Instead of sandwiches, give children bagels, pitta bread, wraps and baguettes. Use brown, wholemeal or seeded bread, not white bread.

Low-fat snacks for kids

Children often like food they can eat with their fingers, so chop up raw vegetables such as carrots or peppers and give them hummus or cottage cheese to dip the vegetables in.

Breadsticks and wholemeal crackers are great finger foods that can be spread with low-fat soft cheese or eaten with reduced-fat cheddar and pickles.

Replace chocolate bars and cakes with fresh fruit. Vary the fruit each day and get them to try new things, such as kiwi or melon.

Unsalted nuts are a great snack food for children to have at home, but it’s best to leave them out of your child’s packed lunch. Many nurseries ban nuts to protect pupils with a nut allergy.

You could also make up a tasty fruit salad. Be inventive and encourage your children when they try something new.

Note that dried fruit is no longer recommended as a between-meal snack as it’s high in sugar and can be bad for teeth.

Making healthier food

It may take a while for your children to get used to a healthier lunchbox. But it will be worth it for their health, so keep trying.

You can help by eating a wider range of foods at home as a family. For ideas on how to introduce more fruit and vegetables into your family’s diet, read 5 A DAY and your family.

Reading supermarket food labels can help you buy healthier foods for your child’s lunch and family meal times. Learn more in Food and labels.

Save chocolate and cakes for occasional treats. Remember to praise your child when they’ve tried something new to show your encouragement.

You can find lots of ideas for healthy lunches at Change4Life: healthy lunchbox ideas.

The Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery idea fact sheet is attached below and contains some additional ideas for you. (Click on the image and it will enlarge)

Healthy Lunch Box Page1Healthy Lunch Box Page2


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Accommodating Special Diets at Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery & Pre School.

Accommodating Special Diets at Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery & Pre School.

Child Care

Here at Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery & Pre School we are aware that some children in our care have special dietary requirements. Food allergies, cultural and religious preferences, and vegetarian diets are common issues in a nursery setting and we work together with parents in order to ensure that children with special dietary needs receive appropriate foods.

We talk with Parents about Special Dietary Needs

Planning to accommodate a child’s special dietary needs would begin before the child is enrolled in our nursery. The key person would ask parents about food needs and family eating patterns when enrolling the child. Our Registration Form has a separate section for parents to inform us of their needs.

Details of the special dietary requirements are then passed to our kitchen where our cook then plans and arranges to provide the foods that meet the child’s special dietary needs and accommodate the child’s special diet.

Guidelines to Help our Nursery Handle Food Allergies

Food allergies are common in young children. Cow’s milk is a problem for some infants and young children. Other common allergens include wheat products, peanuts and eggs. Some young children also have trouble digesting high-fibre foods.

When a child with a food allergy ingests that food, they may have an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions range from mild skin sensitivity to very severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing. Because food allergies can be dangerous, or even life-threatening in some cases, the nursery must be aware of all allergies to the children in our care, again all this information is requested on our Registration Document.

Here are some guidelines which we cover on our Registration process, to use to manage food allergies in our child care setting:

  • We discuss allergies with families when you first enrol your child. We ask about the allergy, when it was first identified, the likely signs of an allergic reaction, and the degree of sensitivity.
  • We prepare for allergic reactions. We ask parents how an allergic reaction should be treated. Some allergic reactions require immediate emergency medical treatment; others that are milder may be treated with over-the-counter medications. Parents leave written instructions about how to handle an allergic reaction to specific foods on our Registration Document.
  • Check labels carefully, and pay attention to ingredients that may cause allergic reactions. We are careful not to serve a food containing a certain ingredient to children who are allergic to that food. Some children who are allergic to certain foods may not be able to tolerate even the smallest amount used as an ingredient in other foods.
  • All allergens are highlighted in yellow on our daily menu sheets.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Some children have such severe food allergies that indirect exposure can cause allergic reactions. A child with a peanut allergy may have a reaction if you use a knife on their sandwich that has been used to spread peanut butter, even if you rinse the knife first. Be sure to wash all utensils and food preparation surfaces carefully, and avoid reusing tools that have touched an allergen until they have been washed with hot water and soap and sanitized. If you have prepared food that contains an allergen, wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water before touching the child with an allergy.
  • Consider prohibiting certain foods from the child care program. Some children have life-threatening allergies to certain foods. If a child’s allergy is severe, or there are several children with the same food allergy, we would prohibit that food in the child care setting to avoid the risk of allergic reactions.
  • Here at Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery we are a nut free environment as allergies to those foods can be severe or even life-threatening.
  • All our staff are Epi-Pen and Paediatric First Aid trained.
  • Packed Lunches are acceptable at the nursery if required.

Cultural or Religious Beliefs and Food Preferences

A family’s religious beliefs may prohibit certain foods or foods at certain times. When we discuss food preferences with our parents we ask about these special practices, and discuss with the parents the best ways to accommodate these dietary changes. Knowing families’ practices help us to accommodate your preferences in our child care facilities.

To ensure the child feels included in the environment certain foods that reflect their cultural background we would include some of these foods in our weekly menus, both to help children from that culture feel more comfortable, and to introduce other children in our setting to these foods that are part of their classmate’s culture. We would explain what these foods are, and tell them a little about the cultural background or practices that include the foods.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Pescetarian Diets in Nursery

Families who follow a vegetarian diet may request that vegetarian meals for their children. Vegetarian diets vary from family to family. Some children may eat poultry and fish but avoid red meat. Others may avoid all meats but eat dairy products and eggs. Still others may avoid eating all animal-based products. Our management team would discuss the specific vegetarian diet with the parents, and decide how to accommodate the child’s needs. If the menus cannot be changed completely, we would make substitutions for children who do not eat meat or other animal products.

An example of our menu would be provided at the initial application stage.

If you have any questions or require any clarification please do not hesitate to contact any of the branch managers who would be pleased to assist you.

I hope this document has been useful and we look forward to welcoming you to our nursery.

Kind regards,

Stephen R Hall

Business Development Manager

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SUMMER HOLIDAY – School Holiday Club

Its nearly time for the BIG HOLIDAY! The Summer school holiday (which is great for children but NOT for parents) so I am pleased to provide all the details for our School Holiday Club here at The Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery Group.

The details listed below are based on our Cheeky Monkeys Nursery at The Essex Golf and Country Club however each of our nurseries may decide to make a small change where they need, perhaps swapping individual days to something more specific to them.

Please do not hesitate to contact the nurseries direct for their School Holiday Clubs – their contact telephone numbers are Tel: 01206 574402 for Colchester (William Harris Way) for Colchester (Sheepen Road / Colchester Institute) its 01206 560814 and for Earls Colne (Essex Golf and Country Club) its 01787 221102 where we would be pleased to discuss in more detail and arrange your bookings.

Please remember that you do not need to be coming to the nursery on a permanent basis – we accept all children up to the age of eight.

We look forward to being of assistance.

Kind regards,


Stephen Hall

Business Manager


Monday 27TH JulyMessy Play DayCeramic painting



Today come and join us and paint your own personalized ceramic moneybox to take home.
Tuesday 28TH JulyCooking Day – BBQ We will be making our own burgers today and make our own burgers in buns with lots of salad & coleslaw, yummy
Wednesday 29th JulyBook DayCharlie Cooks favorite book


Charlie Cooks favorite book is another book by The Gruffalo writer and is a wonderful book to read and share with friends to act out the adventure.
Thursday 30th JulyAllotment Day 


We will go on the mini bus to our Allotment today for some weeding and digging. We have to re plant our onions and garlic into the raised beds as they are getting too big for the pots!
Friday 31st JulyBeach DayIt’s off on The Cheeky Monkeys minibus for a trip to the Beach! When the tides out we can find crabs and shrimps! What else will we find? We have to collect shells and make wind chimes!


Monday 3rd AugustMaking Music Day Today is music day. Let’s make our own instruments, see what noise we can make.
Tuesday 4th AugustPrincess and Pirate Day Let’s go on an adventure on the high seas come dressed as a pirate or princess and search for buried treasure
Wednesday 5th AugustTESCOBehind the scene tripWe are off on the Cheeky Monkeys minibus to visit our Tesco store but we are going behind the scene in the storeroom and even going in the freezer where the ice creams stored!
Thursday 6th AugustCooking Day – Afternoon TeaToday we are preparing for afternoon Tea. We will be making sandwiches, cakes, plus scones with Jam and butter for Tea,
Friday 7th AugustSenses Day We are going to look at all our senses today, what will we discover!! An amazing Science day.


Monday 10th AugustAllotment Day 


Let’s visit our Allotment to plant out our vegetables. We need to help them grow so we can pick them on the next holiday club so we can make our soup.
Tuesday 11th AugustBook DayBeautiful Bananas


On her way to her grandfather’s house with a bunch of bananas, Beatrice has a series of mishaps with jungle animals who each substitute something new for what she is carrying.
Wednesday 12th AugustCooking Day – FruitToday we are preparing fruit salads, fruit kebabs and smoothies!!!
Thursday 13th AugustTransportation day We are going to look at Land. Air, Water Come and enjoy a great theme day – what will you learn?
Friday 14th August 


All about our body dayToday we will be having fitness tests – how fast can you run? How high can you jump?


Monday 17th AugustSecret Outing Day Hop aboard the Cheeky Minibus for a mystery tour! Where shall we go?
Tuesday 18th AugustMake A Film DayWe are going to make a film – what will it be? A jungle adventure? A spy film?Lights, Camera, ACTION
Wednesday 19th AugustSpace DayLet’s be astronauts for the day!  Learn about the planets and the stars, make atelescope or a spaceship! Oh ALIENS!
Thursday 20th AugustMy Family DayLets learn all about families, make a family tree? Family picture collage, Who’s in your family?
Friday 21st AugustCooking Day – MilkToday’s all about milk! Let’s make ice cream! Plus waffles and even milkshakes! Yummy.


Monday 24th AugustCooking Day – BakingToday’s about baking!  Let’s make cakes and bread! What else can we make? Baked Potatoes? Lets design our own cup cakes, What color icing shall we use?
Tuesday 25th AugustBook dayHow are you feeling today?We all experience emotions and these are fine as long as we know what to do with them. This great book gives us interactive ideas to help us deal with a selection of significant emotions.
Wednesday 26th AugustAllotment Day At the allotment today we will be digging and weeding and making a new path from crushed shells we found.
Thursday 27th AugustUnder the sea adventures We love learning about the sea and the creatures that live within it. Can we find sea horses, fish, lobsters? How about a Sing along to the song?
Friday 28th AugustFabric Painting Day Lets design our own t shirts or bags and paint them to take home with us.


Monday 31st AugustNursery ClosedNursery Closed
Tuesday 1st SeptemberCooking – Indian Style We are cooking INDIAN style today! Aloo gobi, Onion Bhaji, Naan breads oh it’s going to be scrummy.
Wednesday 2nd SeptemberSports dayWe will have our own sport day, hula hooping, egg and spoon race and many more…………..
Thursday 3rd SeptemberAllotmentThis is our last holiday visit lets pick our vegetables and then take them back to make soup
Friday 4thSeptemberSuper Heroes Do you want to be a super heroCome dressed as your favorite super hero and use your special powers to have fun with your friends

Sessions times 9am to 3pm (additional hours are available upon request)

Ages 3-8 years

Email us here at info@cheekymonkeysessex.co.uk for more information or to book your sessions

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Newsletter: Summer Term 2015 Part One


We would like to welcome all our new families that have recently joined us! Welcome back from the Easter break, we hope you didn’t eat too much chocolate!

Nursery news

Best Practice for two year olds

Over the Easter holidays ten of the Cheeky Monkeys team were luckily enough to attend training at the best practice rooms provided by Essex county council.

The training included lots of ideas and activities to help support our younger children in areas of development such as communication and language, physical and social skills. We can’t wait to show you all the new ideas we have put in place over the next few weeks.

We would love your help too, so any donations of the following would be a great help:

  • Lids of all shapes and sizes including fabric softener lids, jam jar lids or any that make the popping sound, milk lids, gravy lids and any more you can think of.
  • Any bracelets, wooden curtain rings
  • Old mini laptops, phones that you no longer use.

Thank you in advance.

Sensory play

Babies will be starting walks to the children’s center week beginning 20th April to use their amazing sensory room filled with lots of equipment to excite the senses, look out for the pictures on Facebook!

Forest school

We currently have a couple of spaces for forest school available on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are interested and your child is over three and toilet trained, then please ask Michelle.

Writing in the world around us

Over the next couple of weeks Monica will be introducing the children to labels and words in the environment around them for example words on road signs, packaging etc. We would love to see any of your pictures with your little one looking at numbers and letters around them for example on your front door or car number plate. If you could send all pictures to the email below we can then make a display with them all. Thank you!

Chatters Matters

We are proud to announce we will be launching chatter matters to our parents and children aged 2 who may be need extra support in speech and language. It will be a six week course held at nursery, lasting around 30 minutes. It will be run with the children’s centre and nursery staff. Parents are encouraged to join in. For more information please ask.

Mother’s day

Tea parties

We want to say a huge thank you to all 56 Mummies and 2 nannies that came to our tea parties, we loved having you and hoped you enjoyed yourself. Thank you for all the lovely comments.

School leavers

It’s that time of year when you find out your confirmed school place for reception. If you could complete the list in preschool with their school name on, we can then start planning their transition plans for example school photo books for you to borrow, teachers visits etc.

Fee increase

We included a letter with Aprils invoice for notice of a fee increase that comes into effect from 1st May. You can find the new pricing structure on the parents area for you to view. Any questions please ask Laura or Sophie.

Parent’s reminders


We currently have had a couple of reported cases of headlice within the nursery, please can you ensure your child has been checked and treated regularly if any lice are found.

Sun Cream

As its finally getting warmer, please can you ensure you bring in sun hats (downstairs children), upstairs we have a supply and ensure you sign the permission form for use of our sun cream or bring in your own.

Dates for your diary

Term dates

Summer term Part 1: Monday 13th April Returning on funded week 1.

May half term: 25th May to 29th May.

Nursery is closed for bank holiday 25th May.

Summer term part 2: Monday 1st June. Funded return on week 2.

Funded last day of term: Friday 17th July 2015.

Keeping in touch

Stay up to date with all our fun adventures and exciting updates.

Facebook: facebook.com/cheekymonkeysessex

Website: www.cheekymonkeysessex.co.uk

Twitter: Cm_nursery


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Our distinguished guests from Nigeria – our overseas connection.

Last week we had the honour of hosting a management placement for three lovely ladies from Nigeria with us here at The Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery & Pre School – Colchester.

They all run their own schools in Nigeria and were coming to visit us as part of their ongoing training to see how day nurseries in the United Kingdom work and set up.

They were all extremely friendly and we enjoyed showing off all of the children’s work and our nurseries to them.

As well as demonstrating our curriculum and policies and procedures we also looked at how we monitor our staff, ongoing nursery development and parent engagement. We loved listening to their tales and stories of how they run, for example they couldn’t believe we had beds for the children to rest on whilst they used their school tables, they also couldn’t believe the size of our houses (they said they are very tiny!) and also mentioned how cold it was!

They finished off their time here with us at Cheeky Monkeys Essex by joining the children in preschool and our two to threes with a music and story session, dressing up in traditional clothes. The clothes are beautiful and the children really liked learning all about them.

They also love the traditional musical instruments including a very noisy drum!!

They left behind all these goodies so we can continue to build on these new experiences.

We have also promised to remain in touch as pen-pals so the children can send pictures etc to each other so we can continue to learn about the world around us!

A huge thank you to Joyce, Esther, and Tessy for being so lovely and teaching us so much, we hope you like using all your new found knowledge in your own schools!



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Free Early Education Entitlement for Two, Three and Four Year Olds A Guide for Parents

April 2015

FEEE_Guide for Parents_April 15_Final (PRESS TO DOWNLOAD)

The answers to the frequently asked questions in this guide seek to explain how Essex County Council (ECC) funds free early education for eligible two year olds and all three and four year olds in day nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and nursery classes/schools. These early years providers are known as the maintained, and private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sectors.  Before an early years childcare provider can deliver the Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) they must have a contract with ECC. This forms a binding agreement between them and ECC and states that they must abide by the conditions and requirements of the contract and the Department for Education (DfE) ‘Early Education and Childcare: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities September 2014’.

What is the Free Early Education Entitlement?
 The FEEE is at the heart of the Government’s vision for all children to have access to high quality early years education.
 Evidence shows that regular good quality early education has long lasting benefits for all children.
 The FEEE for two year olds is not universal and can only be accessed by families meeting certain criteria.
 The FEEE for three and four year olds is a universal free provision for every child from the term following their third birthday up until they reach compulsory school age.

Frequently asked Questions

Q. Is my two year old eligible for a free nursery place?
A. Two year olds can access a free nursery place if they meet one or more of the criteria set out below:
 Their parent/carer meets eligibility criteria also used for free school meals as set out below:
 Income Support
 Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
 Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
 Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
 The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
 Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not exceeding £16,190
 Working Tax Credit during the four week period immediately after their employment finishes or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week
 Their family receives Working Tax Credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190
 They have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
 They are entitled to Disability Living Allowance
 They are looked after by a local authority
 They have left care through an adoption order, a special guardianship order or a child arrangements order which specifies with whom they live

Q. How can I apply for a free nursery place for my two year old?
A. You can apply for funding through a referrer; this could be an early years childcare provider, Children’s Centre outreach or support worker, health professional (such as a Health Visitor), social worker or specialist teacher. The referrer will complete the application form with you and will confirm they have seen evidence of your eligibility.

Q. When can I access a free nursery place for my two year old?
A. Eligible two year olds can access a FEEE funded place in the term after their second birthday, see below:

Child born between 1 April – 31 August 1 September following the 2nd birthday, 1 September – 31 December 1 January following their 2nd birthday, 1 January – 31 March 1 April following their 2nd birthday

Q. What information do I need to provide to get my free nursery place?
A. Early years childcare providers will ask to see your child’s birth certificate to confirm their eligibility for the FEEE.
They may also wish to check whether your child is eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and may ask for a National Insurance number in order to do so. Children are eligible for the EYPP if they are three or four years old, receiving the FEEE and their parents meet the criteria used for free school meals. Children are also eligible if they:
• have been looked after by the local authority for at least one day
• have been adopted from care
• have left care through special guardianship
• are subject to a child arrangement order.

If you are applying for the two year old FEEE and are not eligible under Free School Meal criteria you will need to provide other evidence of your eligibility, e.g. a photocopy of TC602a form for the working tax credit eligibility.

To find out more about the Free Early Education Entitlement for two year olds:
 visit an early years childcare provider, you can find your nearest at http://www.essex.gov.uk/Education-Schools/Early-Years-Childcare/Pages/Early-years-and-childcare.aspx
 visit a children’s centre, you can find your nearest at http://childrenscentresfinder.direct.gov.uk/childrenscentresfinder/
 speak to your Health Visitor or allocated Social Worker
 contact the Family Information Service by email at fis@essex.gov.uk or by telephone on 0800 055 6874

Q. When does my child qualify for 3 and 4 year free entitlement funding?
A. The term after their 3rd birthday, see below:
Child born between 1 April – 31 August 1 September following the 3rd birthday, 1 September – 31 December 1 January following their 3rd birthday, 1 January – 31 March 1 April following their 3rd birthday

The dates have been fixed by DfE in line with the current Statutory Guidance

Q. How do I apply for my 3 year olds free place?
A. If your child is already attending an early years childcare provider they will claim the FEEE on your behalf and will ask you to sign a parent/carer agreement form to confirm this. If your child is not registered with an early years childcare provider yet you will need to find a provider that offers FEEE places and register your child with them.

You can search for a provider at http://www.essex.gov.uk/Education-Schools/Early-Years-Childcare/Pages/Early-years-and-childcare.aspx
Or contact the Family Information Service by email at fis@essex.gov.uk or by telephone on 0800 055 6874

Flexibility – what does flexibility mean?

Children are able to take up their full FEEE at times that best support their learning and at times which fit with the needs of the parents.
Providers delivering the FEEE flexibly must ensure that the entitlement is offered to you in a way which meets your needs and gives you real choices about how you access a free place.
Frequently asked Questions

Q. How do I know I am getting what I am entitled to?
A. Your provider must complete a Parent/Carer Agreement with you as it sets out how you are accessing the FEEE. It is really important that you are aware of all the details relating to your child’s place before you sign the form. Ensure you are aware of any additional costs and what these are for. Providers must make sure you are able to access your entitlement without any additional cost unless these have been agreed prior to your child taking up the place. Please take note of the following:
 Completing and signing the form confirms the contractual agreement between you and the provider for the duration of the term
 The Parent/Carer Agreement Form records the number hours/weeks of FEEE for the duration of the term
 The Parent/Carer Agreement Form informs you that if you decide to move your child after headcount, the point in the term when the provider provides data on funded children to ECC, you may be liable to pay full fees at the new provider
 For the FEEE for three and four year olds the Parent/Carer Agreement Form records whether you are accessing the funding in one or two provisions
 The Parent/Carer Agreement Form informs you of how hours can be taken
 The Parent/Carer Agreement Form informs you that additional charges can be made
 The Parent/Carer Agreement Form informs you about the restrictions of increasing hours in a term
 The Parent/Carer Agreement Form informs you about what happens if your child starts school

Q. Can lunch or meal times be included in the free entitlement and will this have to be paid for?
A. Free Entitlement hours can cover a lunch time period where it is structured to support the children’s overall learning & developmental process
When the Free Entitlement hours do include a lunch time period there may be a charge for lunch or snacks, any charge for the lunch must be agreed with you in advance. If you don’t want to pay this charge the provider must give you the choice to bring a packed lunch or allow you to take your child out of the setting over the lunch period

Q. The provider has asked me to pay a top up fee – is this allowed?
A. Providers cannot charge a ‘top up’ fee (the difference between what they would normally charge and the amount they receive from ECC) for any free entitlement hours.
Providers can only charge for hours and services that are not part of the free entitlement. Any costs that you may be liable for should be made absolutely clear on the parent/carer agreement form which should show that;
 you have received your child’s full 15 hour funded place completely free, there should be no monetary value attached to the free 15 hours
 additional hours and services can be charged for, e.g. meals or hours in addition to the funded free hours. The provider must notify you of these before you take up the place as you will be agreeing to them by signing the parent agreement form
Please also be aware that;
 the rates that a provider charges for additional hours outside of a child’s FEEE place are a private matter between the provider and the child’s parent/carer, local authorities cannot intervene in providers’ private business outside of a child’s FEEE place
 if your child is only accessing the 15 hours of FEEE you will not need an invoice. However, the provider must tell you that an application for funding has been made on your behalf and ensure you complete a Parent/Carer Agreement Form
 charges for any additional hours and/or services must be clearly recorded separately on an invoice.

Q. How do I know if I am being charged the right amount?
A. You should be provided with an invoice which must be clear and transparent so you can clearly understand what has been charged for.
The invoice a provider sends to you should include the following:
 The relevant date
 The provision details
 Details of you/your child
 The period of time the invoice is for i.e. one week, two weeks, a month
 It should itemise what is free of charge i.e. FEEE funded hours, and what are chargeable items
 FEEE hours cannot be represented as a monetary value or as a discounted item on the invoice
 Chargeable hours that have been taken outside FEEE hours should be clearly itemised on the invoice
 Any snacks, meals and additional activities should also be clearly itemised on the invoice
 The provider should indicate when you should pay their invoice

Q. Do I have to pay anything if I just want my free entitlement?
A. No, The entitlement is a free, part time place for each eligible two, three and four year old child. If you only want to access your FEEE funded hours you should not be expected to pay any additional charges e.g. snacks or extra-curricular activities unless you have agreed to these before taking up your place.
Early years providers must not;
 attach any conditions to the funded place which oblige you to purchase additional hours or pay lunchtime charges in order to secure free early education
 charge for any goods or services where such payment is conditional to access the free place for example a registration fee or charges for a uniform
Q. How many days a week can I take my free entitlement over?
A. The FEEE can be taken up in a number of ways. ECC has a duty to ensure that, as a minimum, you can access the FEEE in the following patterns:
 either three hours a day over five days of the week
 or five hours a day over three days of the week
The free early education place does not offer a guarantee of a place to you at any one provider or a particular pattern of provision. Most providers choose to deliver the FEEE places in line with school term times, but there is no requirement for them to do this.
Q. Can I still choose to take my Free Entitlement funding for fewer than 38 weeks?
A. You can take the funding for fewer than 38 weeks at a provider of your choice, the minimum they should offer is 33 weeks.
If your provider is receiving funding to deliver a reduced entitlement they cannot charge you for additional hours of provision if your child is accessing 15 hours or under per week.
If you choose to use a provider who offers fewer than 38 weeks it is not then possible to make up the remaining weeks up at another provision. If you need the full 38 weeks it is best to choose a provider that can accommodate this.
Q. Am I able to take up my Free Entitlement over more than 38 weeks?
A. Yes you can, but the maximum number of hours per term you can claim for does not change nor does the amount of funding you are entitled to.
If your provider does offer funding over 50 weeks of the year please be aware that the 15 hours maximum hours per week will be worked out pro rata and therefore the hours will be reduced to approximately 11 hours per week.
Q. The DfE guidelines say that I can claim from 2 hours up to a maximum of 10 hours in a day – is this right?

A. These are guidelines set by central Government however ECC have made the decision that in Essex parents can claim between 2.5 and 10 hours in any one day.
It is also possible for a parent to take their 15 hours over a minimum of two days and maximum of five days, and be claimed between 7am and 7pm.
Q. Is it okay to just ask for the hours I want to claim for or do I have to take up the full entitlement?
A. Yes, you can just ask for the hours you want, you do not have to take the full 15 hours if you do not want to.
When asking for your hours at the start of each term be clear with the provider how many hours you can take and when. This should be confirmed on your parent/carer agreement form.
NB. The provider will only be funded by ECC for the amount of hours that your child actually attends the setting.
Q. What if I want to split my Childcare entitlement between two Essex early years childcare providers – can I do this and how does the number of hours claimed get checked?
A. Yes, if you are accessing the FEEE for three and four year olds you can split your 15 hours between two providers if it meets your needs. However, you need to be aware that some settings, particularly schools, will have a sole provider policy and will not allow split funding.
If you are splitting the funding you will declare this on the Parent Agreement form you sign with each of your chosen providers at the start of each term detailing the amount of hours you will take at each provision.
Both provisions will then submit the details of your claim for your child at each provision to Essex County Council who then cross check details of each child to prevent any over claims.
If your child is accessing the FEEE for two year olds, they can only attend one provider.
Q. Can you combine school places and nursery places?
A. You can split your free entitlement between a PVI provision and a maintained school nursery/nursery class if you wish. However you should bear in mind that most schools will have a single provider policy and this may not be possible.
The ECC FEEE contract gives providers the option to operate a ‘sole provision policy’ if this is their policy they must inform you at the time you complete the Parent/Carer Agreement Form.
You cannot split the funding between a PVI and a reception class. When a child enters reception class at any school they will no longer be entitled to the FEEE.
If your child is due to start in a reception class at a state school (not a private or independent school) you will no longer be eligible to claim Free Entitlement funding. However, some schools stagger their reception class intake over the opening four weeks of the term. If your child continues to attend an early years childcare provision during this period, your provider may claim for Free Entitlement hours for your child, for up to a maximum of four weeks.

Q. Can we insist that the provider is open for longer hours?
A. No. This is still left up to individual settings, but equally they must be mindful of parent demand (sufficiency) as another provider may fulfil the need for any gaps in the market.
NB. Free entitlement hours can be accessed between 7am -7pm
Q. I now want to increase my hours, even though the term has started is this possible?
A. No, at the start of each term we ask parent/carers to sign a declaration form with the provider for them to be able to claim funding on your behalf. Increasing hours after the headcount day means that provider cannot claim for the extra hours requested by the parent. ECC will not pay the provider for these extra hours. In this instance the provider can ask the parent to pay for the additional hours until the end of the current term (this should be included in the provider/parent contract).


Outcome: all children are able to take up their entitlement to funded early education in a high quality setting. Evidence shows that higher quality provision has greater developmental benefits for children, particularly for the most disadvantaged children. The evidence also shows that high quality early education at age two brings benefits to children’s development. This guidance reflects the Government’s intention that, as far as possible, early education for two-year-olds is delivered by providers who have achieved an overall rating of ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ in their most recent Ofsted inspection report.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I know my child is getting the best care?
A. ECC must ensure that all early years providers who deliver the FEEE must:
 deliver the full Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and either be registered with Ofsted as an early years provider, or are a school taking children aged three and over and therefore exempt from registration with Ofsted as early years providers
 submit to an inspection by Ofsted
 maintain records about children receiving the FEEE and make that information available to the local authority, and Ofsted on request
Q. Can I get my free entitlement at any provider I choose?
A. ECC will only fund providers who are registered with Ofsted and hold a FEEE contract, and will:
 base their decision whether to fund a provider to deliver early education places solely on their most recent Ofsted
 fund places for two, three and four year old children attending any provider rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted
 fund places for three and four year old children attending any provider rated ‘Requires Improvement’
 only fund two year old places in ‘Requires Improvement’ providers where there is not sufficient, accessible ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ provision
 secure alternative provision and withdraw funding , as soon as is practicable, for children who are already receiving their funded entitlement at a provider when it is rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted
 fund new providers registered with Ofsted until their first full Ofsted inspection judgement is published.

Funding FEEE places
Outcome: fair and transparent funding which supports a diverse range of providers to deliver early education places and encourages existing providers to expand and new providers to enter the childcare market. This diversity enables parents to choose a provider that best meets the needs of their child and family.
Eligible children are entitled to up to 50 weeks of FEEE over the year. The entitlement is divided into three terms ranging from eleven to fifteen weeks which mirror the school terms. ECC will fund a provider to offer any number of weeks between a minimum of 33 and to a maximum of 50 (reducing hours pro rata).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does the provider claim the funding from ECC?
A. The provider enters your child’s details on an online form at set times each term, the table below sets out the term dates when funding can be claimed. Term Inclusive term dates Duration of FEEE Equivalent in hours Summer 2015 13/04/2015 to 22/07/2015 13 weeks 13 weeks x 15 hours = 195 hours Autumn 2015 03/09/2015 to 18/12/2015 14 weeks 14 weeks x 15 hours = 210 hours Spring 2016 04/01/2016 to 24/03/2016 11 weeks 11 weeks x 15 hours = 165 hours
The provider can claim up to 570 hours of FEEE throughout the year. If providers are stretching the entitlement over longer than 38 weeks they still claim the full 570 hours within the dates above.
FEEE funding is paid to the provider if the following conditions are met:
 your child is included in the headcount and registered at the provision on the day of the headcount
 or if your child is included in the headcount but ill or otherwise absent during that week, and genuinely expected to take their place during that term
 if your child joins after headcount date a late claim can be submitted providing your child has NOT claimed FEEE at any other provision within Essex for that term
Q. How much does the provider get paid?
A. All providers offering the FEEE for two year olds are paid a flat rate of £5 per hour per child for those two year olds in place.
Providers of the FEEE for three and four year olds are paid using a Single Funding Formula (SFF) which takes into account the variable cost of delivery for different types of setting. The hourly rates for different provider types are set out below
 Pre-Schools – £3.82 per hour
 Day Nurseries – £4.01 per hour
 Independent Schools – £4.01 per hour
 Childminders – £4.61 per hour

 Maintained Schools with Designated Nursery Classes – £4.27 per hour
 Maintained Nursery Schools – £6.19 per hour
Providers may also receive a social deprivation supplement of an additional 10p, 20p or 30p per hour for qualifying children based on their home postcode.
They may also receive the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) for eligible three and four year old children attending their setting. The EYPP is calculated at an additional 53 pence per hour for every hour of FEEE.
Q. My child has special needs am I entitled to any extra funding?
A. It would be down to the Childcare provider to make a claim, such as an inclusion grant to meet any Childcare requirements for your child. Supporting evidence for any such claim would need to be substantiated by a Childcare professional such as a Special Educational Needs advisor. The funding would go to the provider to be able to offer any additional service to your child.
Q. Is it okay to take holiday during the term, and if so will my Childcare provider be penalised when my child is not attending?
A. Yes, this it is okay. The childcare provider would not have funding withheld if a child is absent for a short period due to holiday or sickness
Q. Are Schools allowed to say you have to come to our nursery if you want a place at the school?
A. No, they are not allowed to say this, but equally we are aware this could be happening. If you are told this, we would appreciate this being brought to our attention so we can take action.
Q. I have recently moved to Essex from another Local Authority – am I able to claim for Free Entitlement funding even though the term has started?
A. We would allow a childcare provider to claim for any child not already enrolled in Essex. They would be able to make a ‘late claim’ for the entitlement remaining for that term.
Q. What if I want to move my child from one Essex childcare provider to another, is this possible and how does this get funded?
A. The Free Entitlement contract that we supply to providers requests that they transfer funding if a child moves to a different provider. However, ECC are unable to insist on this therefore you may be liable to for the fees for the rest of the term at the new provider.
Q. What do I do if my provider closes unexpectedly during the term?
A. If a provision has to close during a term you will need to seek an alternative provision, please contact the Family Information Service who will assist you with this. Once you have secured and alternative provider, they will submit a late claim for your child’s FEEE for the remainder of the term.

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