Early Years Conference 2016


  • Alistair Bryce-Clegg - Early years trainer, consultant, author and owner of ABC Does

In his keynote Alistair talked from experience – both personal and professional – about his understanding of strategies which he has used that have had a significant impact for all children, but especially the dreaded ‘boy’!

  • Robin Balbernie - Child Psychotherapist & Clinical Director of Parent Infant Partnership UK

Robin examined the early parent-child relationship as a launch pad for learning and life, looking in particular at attachment theory.

  • Nathan Crook - Maths consultant and trainer

Nathan explored Maths in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Demonstrating teaching and learning that is dynamic, multisensory and engaging.

Vulnerable Learners

The conference focused on vulnerable learners and Narrowing the Gap, which is a key objective for the county council. Whilst we have been raising attainment in Oxfordshire, last year’s Good Level of Development (GLD) was 66% in line with national. Sadly we have not succeeded in narrowing the gap for those disadvantaged children.

45% of children who were eligible for Pupil Premium achieved a GLD in 2015 compared to 68% of non-eligible children.  This means that the gap in Oxfordshire is 23% which although narrowing slightly from 2014 (25%) is still significantly wider that the national gap of 17.7%. This gap places Oxfordshire as one of the lowest performing local authorities in the South East.

So what are we doing?

Robust data analysis is being used to target schools and settings with significant pockets of disadvantaged children. Local authority early years advisors, including leaders of early learning (system leaders), school improvement leaders, and primary colleagues, are promoting, leading and supporting this work.

 Actions include:

  • visiting schools/settings to work with head teachers/governors and managers to discuss the outcomes and progress of all children in the EYFS and to scrutinise data from 2015
  • providing workshops (cluster projects) and training for schools and settings with the largest gap – this includes training run by Ofsted for settings which will be available in March.
  • promoting phonics and developing early reading skills - through training available on CPD online/ targeted projects which involve schools and settings; partnership and network meetings will also have a focus upon this in the spring.
  • supporting the local authority’s ‘Equity and Excellence’ strategy for learners from birth, with the early years vulnerable learners project plan
  • developing a more integrated approach to two year-old old progress reviews with health colleagues
  • making sure that early years providers access and spend Early Years Pupil Premium funding and evaluate the impact of interventions. We still experience gaps in take-up of this funding, and we are targeting providers in areas of economic disadvantage

So what can you do?


  • You may already be involved with one of the various projects or visits from the advisory team, if not – it is all about knowing your children and meeting their needs. Remember high expectations are key to success.
  • Can you say how many children in receipt of the Pupil Premium (in reception) are on track to achieve a GLD in 2016? If any children aren’t then what are you doing to address this?
  • How are you going to ensure they are ready for Year 1?
  • How are you linking with your Year 1 colleagues to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of skills and progression especially with phonics?
  • Do your early years staff including Year 1 colleagues require a refresher regarding training of reading skills/phonics?
  • Are you tracking all children to ensure they make progress?
  • Is this information shared with Year 1? How are you working with parents?
  • Are you attending local partnership meetings?

Nursery Providers:

  • Can you say how many children in receipt of pupil premium are working in line with age related expectations?
  • How are you going to ensure they are ready for reception in September?
  • What phonics teaching do you deliver? How?
  • Be aware of training on CPD online – phonics/language course/Early Years Target Tracker (EYTT)

If you would like further information about any of the above or have questions /queries please contact your Early Years advisor; our webpages; Facebook page; CPD online or you are welcome to contact us directly on: early.years@oxfordshire.gov.uk