Family Services Commissioning


Department for Education consultation launched on early years childcare fees

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a public consultation seeking views on a proposed increase to the application fee and the annual fee paid to Ofsted by childcare providers on the early years register, with a view to changes coming into force from April 2020. 

The DfE is also seeking views on the principles that should underpin a revised early years register fee model to be introduced from April 2021. 

The consultation is available here and closes on Wednesday 9 October 2019.

If, for exceptional reasons, you are unable to use the online system, you may download a copy of the form from the website and email it to or post it to:

Early Years Fees Consultation
Early Years and Schools Group
Department for Education
2nd Floor, Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London, SW1P 3BT

If you have an enquiry related to the policy content of the consultation, you can contact the department by email at

Libraries week 7-13 October

October is a busy month in Hertfordshire libraries; from 7-13 October we celebrate libraries week with a range of activities for both young and old. These include activities such as soft toy sleepovers, quiz nights to creative storytelling with story cubes as well as the weekly baby rhyme time and toddler tales sessions.

All details can be found on our website.

A visit to the library will reveal a range of stories for all ages about the magic of libraries. Choose from board books such as “Clive the librarian", to picture books such as “Luna loves Library Day” and many more celebrating the wonder of libraries and stories.

Author Michael Rosen has pointed out the important role libraries play in allowing children to choose books for themselves, developing browsing skills as well as opening their minds to new ideas and experiences.There are hundreds of books to choose from for free, as well as being great places to read aloud together.

There are books for the most active toddlers encouraging plenty of interaction. Also calmer more soothing stories, perfect for bedtime which will help little ones feel secure and sleepy. Please encourage families you work with, neighbours and friends to visit the library this October. There is a book for every occasion, situation and child.

Join in and celebrate the magic of libraries. The book list can be found here.

Community childminder

Are you a childminder with a passion for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Family Services Commissioning (FSC) is looking to recruit SEND childminders as part of the community childminder project.

The aim of the community childminder project is to have SEND childminders in each district who would offer free early education to families whose children have SEND.

During a recent survey with parents of SEND children, it was found that parents were more likely to take up their free early education if their provider had specialist training.

FSC would expect the SEND childminders to work closely with the specialist early years development centres (SEYDC), SEND family centre champions and parent champions.

FSC would expect you to undertake any relevant online training; any specialist training needed would be paid for by FSC.

Once we have an idea of the numbers of childminders interested, we will arrange a meeting to discuss further.

If you are interested and would like to find out more information about this project, please email

Are you up to date with SEND news in Hertfordshire?

There are numerous ways practitioners can keep abreast of what is happening in SEND services in Hertfordshire. Did you know about the following avenues you can subscribe to, to hear more? And we welcome your stories and updates too.

SEND Twitter      

HAND Facebook

HAND SEND News, soon to be renamed SEND news

You can also email us at

If you work with a young person who has a special educational need or disability (SEND) did you know they (or parents/carers) can join HAND, our Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database?

We’ve recently made a number of changes to the database, to improve data quality and strengthen security, and the new electronic HAND card is one of these changes.The member can view the card on their mobile phone or tablet and it allows the family/young person to access perks and discounts to lots of places for family days out in Hertfordshire. Different places offer different things - for example, some places allow you to 'jump the queue', and others will have reduced entry rates.

If the family already have a physical HAND card, they can continue to use it as they always have. If they dont yet have a HAND card they can find out more on our website.

Healthy Start

Are your families/parents/carers aware of Healthy Start?

If you’re pregnant or have a child under four, the Healthy Start scheme can help you buy basic foods like milk or fruit.

There is a set of eligibility criteria in order to qualify for this scheme which is outlined below.

If families are eligible then they will receive vouchers worth £3.10 each to spend on:

  • milk
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • plain frozen fruit and vegetables
  • infant formula.

You will get one voucher a week if:

  • you are pregnant
  • you have a child aged between one and four.

You will get two vouchers a week if you have a child under one.

To qualify for the Healthy Start scheme you must be:

  • at least 10 weeks pregnant
  • have at least one child under the age of four.

In addition to this, you must be receiving any of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit (but only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit (but only if your family earns £408 or less per month from employment)
  • Working Tax Credit (but only if the family is receiving the 4 week ‘run-on’ payment).

You are also eligible for the scheme if you are pregnant and under 18 years old, even if you do not receive any benefits.

There is an online form that needs completing and signing by a midwife, health visitor or registered doctor or nurse.

Further information in regards to the scheme including an eligibility checker and the application form can be found here.

Please make your families aware of this scheme if you think they may be eligible

Are you signed up for the Daily Mile?

Do you know about the Daily Mile? Is this something you could incorporate in to your daily activities with your children to help meet the target of 180 minutes of physical activity a day for children under five?

The Daily Mile, despite its name, is not a set distance, but just 15 minutes a day, outside, with each child walking, running or jogging at their own pace with their friends, making them fitter, healthier and more able to concentrate in the classroom.

The Daily Mile introduces daily physical activity outside and removes all barriers to participation as it is free and simple.

If you are interested in the Daily Mile, you can sign up or read the case studies available which may inspire you to become involved.

There are also a variety of resources available on their website including set up guidance, letters to parents and videos.

Herts Sports Partnership, with the help of Hertfordshire teachers and children, has created a short video on why they think the Daily Mile works.


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