Subscribe to our newsletterAs the Early Years Alliance Central England Service Hub, we support approximately 1400 Alliance members in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Northants and Oxfordshire.

Our members include pre-schools, day nurseries, toddler groups, nursery schools, children's centres and individuals. 

We have been providing high quality support and advice to providers of early years education and childcare in the service hub areas above for many years. 

Locally, across all the Central England Service Hub, we also offer a comprehensive and up to date package of support to members, including:

  • training programme of topical high-quality workshops delivered by our team of experienced tutors, including NEW EIF workshops
  • bespoke workshops and tailored inset training packages for individual settings, including safeguarding audits, Pre-Ofsted audits and EIF packages, and management committee training  
  • a payslip service
  • Our new ALLIANCE CONNECT which puts on events in local areas — meetings with speakers on current topics, information updates, networking opportunities - non-members can also attend and then can become a member of the Alliance at the event if they wish
  • A regular Central England newsletter.

To find out more about our work and services contact us on 01525 715248 or email at centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk


Latest news

EIF workshop dates for Autumn*

Exploring the Education Inspection Framework

21/11/19   18:00 to 21:00 - 2 Burners Lane, Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes, MK11 3HB

Cultural Capital

All Autumn term workshops now completed - look out for the Spring tierm programme for new dates

To book please email centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk or call 01525 715248

*Individual EIF workshops cost: £35pp for Alliance members. £50pp for non-members. Or see below for our full EIF consultancy package.


Education Inspection Framework PackageWomen having a meeting

The new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) will come into place in September 2019. Ofsted says the EIF has been amended to include greater emphasis on the needs of younger children.

It will replace its “quality of teaching, learning and assessment” with a new “quality of education” judgement. The Early Years Alliance has developed a package of support to help early years practitioners navigate the changes and can be delivered on-site direct to you and your team. 

The package includes two specialist workshops Exploring the EIF and Cultural Capital  plus our new publication Exploring the Education Inspection Framework available in September.

Exploring the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) workshop

This workshop supports managers and leaders to better understand the requirements of the EIF. Participants will explore terms such as ‘intent, implementation and impact’. It will consider how the curriculum should look and offers support on ways to deliver successfully in their own provision.

It covers:

  • Key changes
  • The term Cultural Capital and what it means
  • The new judgement areas
  • Ofsted Inspector expectations of Intent, Implementation and Impact
  • The Important role managers and leaders play in the process
  • Paperwork necessary to support the process.

Cultural Capital workshop

Integral to Ofsted’s new inspection framework, the term Cultural Capital is described by Ofsted as being ‘the essential knowledge children need to be effective citizens’. This workshop considers the origins of the term and supports practitioners to recognise how the EYFS already supports Cultural Capital.

It covers:

  • What is the main theory behind Cultural Capital and how it has influenced Ofsted's definition​
  • What is meant by Cultural Capital
  • What Cultural Capital is not
  • How to enhance children’s learning using the concept of Cultural Capital
  • How to articulate how children experience the awe and wonder of the world through the seven areas of learning and development
  • How to demonstrate your provision enhances children's Cultural Capital.

Specialist EIF consultancy support

We also offer you six hours of face to face, on-site consultancy from a qualified and experienced early years advisor.

We will work closely with you to support you to implement your workshop learning to ensure it is embedded into your daily practice. You can choose how to receive this support to best suit your needs including phone, face to face or email.

Or

If you now feel confident about the EIF and would prefer to focus on related business support, you can choose from these areas:

  • Charity Health Check
  • Pre and Post Ofsted Inspection support
  • Business Sustainability Health check

The consultancy is delivered within a 12 week period to ensure your team meets the requirements as quickly and efficiently as possible.

So what does this cost?

You can buy this package with either one or both of the workshops. The package includes our new Exploring the Education Inspection Framework publication, due out in September.

For further information on the EIF package, or for more details about our current training programme, please call us on 01525 715248 or email at centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk


Find out more about Alliance membership

Benefits of membership of the Alliance include:

  • More than 20 free Cache-endorsed online training courses for your team via online training specialists EduCare
  • Access to 24hr legal helpline Law-Call 
  • 10 issues of Under 5 magazine a year — each issue is packed with sector news, policy updates and activity ideas
  • 'EY Instant Update' emails to alert you of any policy, legislation or funding changes as they happen
  • Access to our specialist and competitively-priced insurance packages
  • On-call support from our expert advisers
  • 20% off our extensive range of books and selected publications
  • Free mini guides on various aspects of running an early years setting

 

Subscribe to our newsletter

About us

The Pre-school Learning Alliance is now called the Early Years Alliance.

Our new name reflects the growing variety of early years professionals who are now a part of the Alliance, emphasising our ongoing commitment to supporting an ever-widening range of early years providers and providing a united voice for all our members, as well as providing an expanding portfolio of direct services for children and families.

As the Alliance Central England Service Hub, we support approximately 1400 members in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Northants and Oxfordshire. Our members include pre-schools, day nurseries, toddler groups, nursery schools, children's centres and individuals.

We have been providing high quality support and advice to providers of early years education and childcare in the service hub areas above for many years. The type of support we offer ranges from alliance connect meetings with guest speakers, networking opportunities with other early years member groups and sharing best practice and advice. We are a credited childcare training provider and run regular courses, including Cache Qualification courses in early years, and early years workshops such as "Managing your Ofsted Inspection", and First Aid courses, from our Milton Keynes office - please see our training page for details of planned courses. We also create and deliver bespoke workshops either for individual settings or practitioners and providers to access, recent workshops have included GDPR, Pensions and Auto-enrollment, and PDN (Professional Development Network) workshops.   

Please also refer to "Our Services" for current projects and work being carried out across the service hub.

For any queries, please do get in touch with us, Early Years Alliance Central England Service Hub, as follows:

Service Manager

Helen Middleton email: helen.middleton@eyalliance.org.uk tel:01525 715248 option 2

Service Administrator

Claire Viola email: claire.viola@eyalliance.org.uk, based at our Flitwick office on  tel:01525 715255 option 1,  and once a week at our Milton Keynes office tel:01908 263700 (days vary)

 

Our Services

News & Events

Girl at a party

Early Years Workshops

We are currently running a programme of workshops which include Exploring the Education Inspection Framework (...

Read more

Training & Workshops

Workshop

We run a variety of training courses and workshops to service the early years sector.

These courses are open to all members of the...

Read more

Alliance Connect meetings

Coffee morning

Alliance Connect meetings are an opportunity for members to meet, share ideas and connect with fellow members.

Member groups are able to...

Read more

Contact Us

Boy on toy phone

To enquire about our services or to see how we could support you, your setting or childcare service please contact:

...

Read more

Building Better Opportunities

Enterprising People

Helping people to a better future through business start-up support

Would you like advice on funding and support accessing childcare?

If you are looking to get back into work or training this is the project for you.

We help to...

Read more

Crèche services

Baby playing xylophone

MK: pop up crèche is an Alliance childcare service based in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes.  We offer crèches...

Read more

Our childcare provisions

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages 75 childcare services across England. 

...

Read more

Payslip service

Baby on a computer

We offer a comprehensive payslip service for pre‑schools, full day care nurseries and out of school clubs. Our payslip...

Read more

Picnic in the Park, Luton, Bedfordshire

    ...

Read more

Toy library

What ismk:toy library?

mk:toy library is a service in Milton Keynes for pre‑schools,...

Read more

News & Events

Girl at a party

Early Years Workshops

We are currently running a programme of workshops which include Exploring the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and Cultural Capital, for full details of these workshops and future workshops, please see our home page, training & workshops page and watch out for our service hub emails which are sent out regularly to our members and subscribed non members.  


Alliance Connect Meetings

Look out for future events here


Dates for your diary

Save the Date announcement due for Picnic in the Park 2020.......watch this space!!

Training & Workshops

Workshop

We run a variety of training courses and workshops to service the early years sector.

These courses are open to all members of the public and membership of our organisation is not a requirement.

Full details of all courses and workshops available in Central England Service Hub are fully detailed in our latest Training Brochure

The Alliance is endorsed by CACHE and is a preferred provider to deliver Level 3 training in Early Years Education and Care.


Workshops Planned for Spring 2020 in Central England include:

  • Managing your Ofsted Inspection
  • Quality Teaching and Learning in the Early Years
  • Supporting Children for whom English is an additional language

We are currently planning our Spring 2020 workshop programme, please let us know if you have any training needs in your setting or have a particular area of learning you feel we could deliver for you,or your setting. Contact us on 01525 715255 option 1 or email: centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk 

 

Bespoke & In-House Training

We are pleased to be able to offer a range of 3 hour workshops that can be delivered in-house to Early Years settings by one of our experienced tutors. You can choose from the range of workshops that the Early Years Alliance is currently delivering (these can be obtained from the Service Hub or are shown in our training brochure), or you can request specific subjects to meet the needs of your setting.

Workshop can be delivered in your setting or at a venue provided by you. Alternatively your setting can come exclusively as a group to our Service Hub offices in Milton Keynes or to an arranged venue if closer to you. 

Quotes for the cost of a workshop or bespoke training session can be obtained by email to centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk so please contact us to discuss your training needs.


Qualification Courses

Our training centre arrange CACHE childcare courses for the early years, for more information on the courses and any funding available, please contact Ria Clifton, Training Advisor on 0732 363070 or email ria.clifton@eyalliance.org.uk  

CACHE Level 1 Award in Caring for Children

CACHE Level 2 Certificate in an Introducation to Early Years Education & Care

CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator)

CACHE Level 3 by Distance Learning

CACHE L3 Award in preparing to work in Homebased Childcare

A Pre-enrolment day is held before the start of a Level 1, 2, & 3 course to assess the learners numeracy, literacy and writing skills as well as previous qualifications and experience to determine which course is most appropriate. Learners cannot be accepted onto a Level 1, 2 & 3 course until they have attended the Pre-Enrolment Day.

 

Alliance Connect meetings

Coffee morning

Alliance Connect meetings are an opportunity for members to meet, share ideas and connect with fellow members.

Member groups are able to get together as and when suits them. They can be informal meetings of like-minded people who wish to share information; have a good moan about early years(!); or discuss new changes/challenges.

Alternatively they can be a regular event in your Alliance calendar and have guest speakers, debating subjects of interest or something that is causing concern in your area. The choice is yours!

Forthcoming meetings in your area:

We are currently working on our Spring term events calendar, pwe will let you know by email when our next event has been arranged, or will show details here, so please keep an eye out for more news here soon.

Contact Us

Boy on toy phone

To enquire about our services or to see how we could support you, your setting or childcare service please contact:

Service Manager — Helen Middleton by email: helen.middleton@eyalliance.org.uk

Room 1

Rufus Centre

Steppingley

Flitwick

MK451AH

Tel: 01525 715248

Email:centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk

Building Better Opportunities

Enterprising People

Helping people to a better future through business start-up support

Would you like advice on funding and support accessing childcare?

If you are looking to get back into work or training this is the project for you.

We help to support disadvantaged people into employment or self-employment. 

We will address the barriers participant’s face and aim to help them overcome individual barriers to support back into work or training.  Each participant will be assessed and personalised programmes monitored throughout.  For example;

  • Getting childcare arrangements through links with two/three year funding, Pre Schools, nurseries etc.
  • Training opportunities available locally
  • Individual based support, working with the most vulnerable participants to enhance life freedom.  No short term time limit.
  • Working in partnership with the Building Better Opportunities team to help tailor to individual needs. 

For more information please contact Claudette Dairo on claudette.dairo@eyalliance.org.uk or 07568 607036

This project is match funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund

 

Crèche services

Baby playing xylophone

MK: pop up crèche is an Alliance childcare service based in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes.  We offer crèches in the community to children centres and other local business acroff Milton Keynes.  This enables parents and carers to access educational courses either on a long term basis or as a one off crèche.

Our committted, friendly and well-qualified team provides high qualify care and learning opportunities for children aged between birth-5 years.  We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with a focus on learning through play and actively work in partnership with parents and childrens centres.

All crèche supervisors are qualified to an NVQ level 3 in Early Years and Childcare or above and a staff employed has an enhanced DBS disclosure.

During our crèches we promote healthy eating within our sessions and have been awarded our Smile Award in recognition of this.

For further information or any queries please contact

Laura Wilkinson
tel: 01908 266688 or 07718404592
email:crechemk@eyalliance.org.uk

Our childcare provisions

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages 75 childcare services across England. 

Visit the Find Childcare page on the Alliance website to see the full list.

The Central England Service Hub directly manages four settings. Please contact them directly.

Payslip service

Baby on a computer

We offer a comprehensive payslip service for pre‑schools, full day care nurseries and out of school clubs. Our payslip service is run by Jenny Whitbread and Shazia Latif.

Our basic payslip service includes:

•    Initial set up and ongoing maintenance of employee details

•    Calculation of tax, national insurance and pension contributions for each employee, each pay period

•    Producing summaries each pay period to show gross pay, PAYE deductions, pension contributions and net pay. These reports are sent via PAYDASHBOARD a secure online portal, to a nominated contact for your setting to print and retain

•    Producing payslips for each employee processed each pay period.  These are sent by PAYDASHBOARD direct to your staff on the actual pay date.

•    Issuing of a P32 (the payment summary for HMRC) monthly or quarterly, depending on your arrangements with HMRC

•    Setting up new starters on the payroll provided that we receive an employee record sheet and a P45 (if your new employee has provided this)

•    Issuing of P45’s for leavers, which are sent by PAYDASHBOARD as a PDF for you to print and issue to the employee

•    Calculation of statutory payments to include SSP, SMP and SAP etc.

•    Ongoing assessment of your workforce for auto-enrolment purposes, process any opt-in and opt-out requests and apply postponement as per your requirements. We can also submit your "Declaration of Compliance" and upload the pension contributions to your chosen pension provider and produce all statutory letters for your employees relating to auto-enrolment

•    Sending the “Full Payment Submission” (FPS) to HMRC each pay period

•    Sending an “Employer Payment Summary” (EPS) to HMRC as and when required

•    Sending HMRC the annual year end submission 

•    Liaising with HMRC on your behalf

•    We will keep you updated on any changes in payroll legislation by email

Please click this link to see what our current payroll service charges are: Payslip Services 2019-2020

We pride ourselves in being a dedicated payslip service for early year's settings. We are often the first point of call for payroll/ finance and HR queries you may have. We will try to answer these queries, but do not always have the answers or expertise (espscially in HR) that you may need. There may be times when we need you to direct your queries elsewhere, and the details of ACAS and Law Call can 

www.acas.org.uk

www.eyalliance.org.uk/contact-us

For further information, please call Jenny Whitbread or Shazia Latif at the Central England Service Hub: 01525 715248 option 3, email: bedfordshire.payroll@eyalliance.org.uk

Picnic in the Park, Luton, Bedfordshire

   

Our massively popular annual community event, Picnic in the Park, held in Wardown Park, Luton, Bedfordshire, has been running for around 20 years, and was started by the Early Years Alliance's “Luton Branch” of member groups, who met for a picnic in Wardown Park. As the years passed, the event got bigger and bigger, and much more popular, so the branch asked the Alliance’s county office to organise it for them. By then event had turned into a community fete style event, where local childcare settings were invited to hold stalls to raise funds for their setting and to also provide a free activity for the children who attended.

In later years, we were able to secure sponsorship and organising support from the local authority, which were extremely welcoming, as by then the event was huge! Local partners and charities were also invited to promote their services in Luton. However in 2015, the Alliance became the sole organisers again, as our partners were unable to support us.

Each year we have a theme, and ask our stall holders to support the theme through either their stall or free activity. Previous themes have included Celebrating Fathers, Keep Luton Smiling (highlighting the importance of oral health), Keeping Luton Tidy and Communication and Language; Luton’s Little Voices, and last year was Think Safe, Stay Safe in Luton,  focusing on the prevention of accidents in the home and also when out and about. The theme was heavily supported by the Safe at Home, Luton, Scheme and in this year replaced their annual Safety Roadshow. We highlighted the key safety messages covered in the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s Child Safety Week (6-12 June 2016) which included warnings about the safety of e-cigarettes and refills, ensuring the same precautions are taken as with household cleaning products and medicines.

We largely self-fund the event from charging a stall fee and for car parking on the day (the event car park is in Popes Meadow, Old Bedford Road). There are a total of approximately 40 stalls, along with entertainment from a local children’s entertainer, Cheeky Dog, who has supported us for many years. Luton Library staff also provide regular story telling sessions, and Active Luton provide soft play facilities whilst promoting fitness programmes for all the family which is available in the town. Some of the stalls provide food, following our healthy eating guidelines. The fire service support us and bring along a pump for the children to explore, along with the police, who try to attend and have in the past brought a van with a cell in it, and great fun was had by all by locking children in!! The one and only time they will try this out!!

Feedback is collected each year following the event and every year our stall holders are amazed by how many families they are able to reach on the day, which they would normally never manage to do so.

In 2011 we also celebrated the 50th birthday of the Alliance, and in 2012 we were honoured to be joined by the Alliance’s CEO, Neil Leitch as our guest, he also managed to pop in last year after attending a local meeting, and in 2017 we were delighted to be joined by Dr Jason Wong from NHS England, the Vice Chair of the Healthy Teeth Happy Smiles Oral Health Promotion Partnership Board. 


Wednesday 26 June 2019 

The theme for our last event in 2019 was Think Active, Be Active’  and visitors to the event learnt about ways to engage as a family by thinking actively and being active in our every day life. We know that exercise helps our physical health but it also helps our mental health, and we invited families to join in with the fun activities on offer and to enjoy being outside in the beautiful surroundings of Wardown Park. There were lots of activities around the theme, including very active "Zumbini" taster sessions provided by Active Luton, and song time sessions from staff members from the Flying Start Children's Centres in Luton. We were joined by our key Flying Start partner agencies, who as well as activities, are here to provide information about services available to Luton families and local childcare settings. We also provided a free activity trail with a free prize to claim, and our entertainment programme also included very popular sessions from Cheeky Dog Entertainments, along standing supporter of our event, and story telling sessions from the lovely team at Luton Library.  

Luton’s Mayor, Cllr Tahir Malik opened the event and spend a lot of time walking around the 30+ stalls attending the event, talking to stall holders and learning about their organisations or settings. The event was also visited by Robin Porter, Chief Executive, Luton Council and Sophie Ross, Chair, Board of Trustees, Early Years Alliance who spent time walking around the event, and who both were incredibly impressed with the community spirit and positivity of both stall holders and families attending. 

We received lots of positive comments from families who attended the event, with many amazed by the amount of useful information available to them, and the variety and amount of fun, free activities for their children to participate in. Our stall holders were equally positive about how many families they were able to engage with and share information about their services or settings. The Library Service told us: "We received lots of positive comments about libraries. Bookstart books we gave out were gratefully received. Everyone seemed to enjoy our rhymetime sessions. We had some comments about our theatre shows for the under 5's which was great! There was lots of interest in the Summer Reading Challenge too. It was great to catch up with some families we had not seen in a while." 


 

Work has already started on Picnic in the Park 2020, watch this space for more news!

For more information on the event please contact: Claire Viola, Service Hub Administrator centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk or 01525 715255 option 1


Planning an early years event?

Read our blog on the Early Years Alliance's main website about planning an early years event.

Toy library

What ismk:toy library?

mk:toy library is a service in Milton Keynes for pre‑schools, childminders and parents. We love to loan out educational and entertaining play equipment to suit babies and younger children. We have lots of toys and resources to suit settings, individuals and parties, which we lend out on a three-week or weekly basis

We have two services weekly loan of larger party/outdoor play equipment and long-term loan of Discovery Boxes.

Our Weekly Loan equipment starts from £15 for a week and includes a range of packages some with bouncy castles aimed at older toddlers and pre‑schoolers and a toddler package for babies and younger toddlers, as well as outdoor play equipment. Visit our  weekly loans page for more information. Members of the Alliance receive a 10% discount on their Weekly Loan booking.

Our Discovery Boxes are themed around a particular topic such as Space, Transport or Magnets and cost £5 for 3 weeks (minimum spend £10). These themed Discovery Boxes contain a range of games, toys, books, role play equipment or learning resources as well as ideas for extending activities. Some of the Boxes aren’t actually boxes but equipment such as larger games or physical play equipment, check out the Long-term Loan (Discovery Box) page for more information. Members of the Pre-school Learning Alliance can loan boxes for FREE.

We also have a range of specialised SEN equipment which is available for loan to families with a particular need, long‑term loan of this equipment can be arranged in person.

Visit the mk:toy library website which has an online catalogue of all our toys.

Why does Milton Keynes need mk:toy library?

The members of the Alliance believe that all children are entitled to play. Play is a valuable way to learn and the aim of mk:toy library is to allow all children to have access to a variety of different play equipment and resources.

We have a large selection of specialist SEN equipment that is available to borrow on a medium to long term basis.

Some of our most popular items come from our Party Equipment range. Whether you are throwing a party in a community centre, garden or front room we have lots of exciting toys to put a smile on your young child’s face.

Why do people use mk:toy library?

The equipment we have is available to borrow at reasonable hire charges. You have to collect and bring back to Kiln Farm. We have years of experience at knowing what children enjoy, so we can advise you on getting the most out of the equipment.

History of mk:toy library

The toy library was established in 1986 but had a grand opening event in 2000 at Greenleys Community Centre with former actress and MP Glenda Jackson cutting the ribbon. Glenda was President of the National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries. In April 2014 mk:toy library relocated to the offices of the Alliance at Kiln Farm due to a reduction in its funding and it is now managed by volunteers. In March 2015 mk:toy library introduced online booking for party equipment and then in September 2015 to online booking of Discovery Boxes.

Glenda Jackson MP opening the Toy Library in 2000

We want to provide the best possible service to local families, childminders, pre‑schools, nurseries and schools looking after children under five. Our mission statement is ‘To help children to succeed, create childcare that families need and to build learning communities’.

Visit www.mktoylibrary.co.uk which has an online catalogue of all our toys.

Volunteering at mk:toy library

We have two regular volunteers working in mk:toy library on a Thursday morning. The volunteers sort toys, prepare marketing materials and prepare party packs. If you could spare some time we would love to hear from you.

To use mk:toy library

Please note that we only accept cash or cheque payments as we do not have credit card facilities.

tel: 01908 263700
email: mktoylibrary.help@gmail.com

visit: On Thursdays 10.30am - 12pm (term time)

Milton Keynes Service Hub

Early Years Alliance (formerly the Pre-school Learning Alliance)
2 Burners Lane
Kiln Farm
MK11 3HB

Press the buzzer for mk:toy library to be let in and we are on the first floor. Unfortunately we are not very accessible so please don’t bring a pram. Children are the responsibility of their carers whilst visiting mk:toy library.

Childcare

Central England Service Hub
Room 1 The Rufus Centre
Flitwick
Bedfordshire
MK45 1AH
United Kingdom
Tel: 01525 715248