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Workshops and training courses in Central England — important update

Because of the national lockdown due to Covid-19 workshops and Alliance Connect events will not be taking place for the forseeable future.

We are currently exploring options of delivering our workshops through online training and if our initial trial is successful, we will be sending out more information to you through our newsletters and on our website.

If you would like more information, please email us to register your interest.

Thank you for your understanding and please be assured we are doing all we can to keep you connected locally.


Subscribe to our newsletter

The Early Years Alliance supports an ever-widening range of early years providers and provides a united voice for all our members, as well as providing an expanding portfolio of direct services for children and families.

As the 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. However we work closely with the other eight service hubs across the country and promote cross boundary working for members. 

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 by email at centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk or telephone 01525 715248


Workshop plus+ Be inspired

Enhance the experience! 
 
Any training attended shouldn’t be seen in isolation – it’s there to bolster and enhance your knowledge and practise, so don’t let the learning stop at the door.  
 
For the learning process to continue, to be reflected upon, to be shared with your colleagues and embedded within your setting after the training day is over, some further work and thought may be needed.   
 
Workshop plus+ has been developed to take the learning a step further. All participants now have the option of booking additional support alongside the training workshop. 
 
The additional support can be provided in-house to:

  • reinforce the learning to the whole staff team
  • focussed support with the workshop participant on a 1:1 basis
  • to be able to answer any follow up questions regarding the concept of the training
  • to aid self-reflection and provide more practical support to draft development plans or facilitate discussion
  • or can be tailored to meet any bespoke need.

 
All Workshop plus+ support would be designed to meet your individual needs to maximise the impact and ensure your time and energy is rewarded, and all from as little as £70…. 
 
Interested? 
 
To find out more please call us on 01525 715248 or email centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk 


Feedback from previous workshops 

" i now have a much better understanding of what Ofsted define as teaching and what they expect to see" - Quality Teaching & Learning in the Early Years workshop March 2020

"Thank you for this very useful info" - Managing Your Ofsted Inspection workshop March 2020

"A great training session on a relevant subject. Alleviated any worries about receiving an Ofsted visit" - Exploring the Education Inspection Framework workshop September 2019


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

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


Workshops and training courses in Central England — important update

...

Read more

Training & Workshops

Workshop


Workshops and training courses in Central England — important update

Because of the national...

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

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 Crèche service is an Alliance childcare service based in Milton Keynes.  We offer crèches in the community...

Read more

Our childcare provisions

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages 75 childcare services across England. 

...

Read more

Payslip service

Baby at computer

Reduce the time and burden on your business or group by using the Early Years Alliance payslip service.

We offer...

Read more

Toy library

What ismk:toy library?

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

Read more

Picnic in the Park, Luton, Bedfordshire

    ...

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

News & Events

Girl at a party

Early Years Workshops


Workshops and training courses in Central England — important update

Because of the national lockdown due to Covid-19 workshops and Alliance Connect events will not be taking place for the forseeable future.

We are currently exploring options of delivering our workshops through online training and if our initial trial is successful, we will be sending out more information to you through our newsletters and on our website.

If you would like more information, please email us to register your interest.

Thank you for your understanding and please be assured we are doing all we can to keep you connected locally.

 


Dates for your diary

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING PICNIC IN THE PARK 2020

In light of the uncertainty and increasing risk around coronavirus, the Early Years Alliance’s Central England Service Hub and Flying Start Luton have been advised by our National office to defer all activities taking place nationally and locally which bring together large groups of adults with immediate effect currently until the end of June. Therefore we have taken the difficult decision to cancel Picnic in the Park 2020 on Wednesday 24 June  at Wardown Park, Luton.

It has not been an easy decision, as in all the years our amazing event has taken place, it has never once needed to be cancelled – even due to bad weather, but in the current climate we are sure you will understand the need to make this decision now.

We really look forward to working with you and welcoming you back to Wardown Park next year for Picnic in the Park 2021, please look out for information on next years event in early 2021.

If you think you may not be on our mailing list, please email claire.viola@eyalliance.org.uk to request to be added to the list.  

Training & Workshops

Workshop


Workshops and training courses in Central England — important update

Because of the national lockdown due to Covid-19 workshops and Alliance Connect events will not be taking place for the forseeable future.

We are currently exploring options of delivering our workshops through online training and if our initial trial is successful, we will be sending out more information to you through our newsletters and on our website.

If you would like more information, please email us to register your interest.

Thank you for your understanding and please be assured we are doing all we can to keep you connected locally.


If you need more infromation please contact us at centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk

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.

Feedback from previous workshops 

" i now have a much better understanding of what Ofsted define as teaching and what they expect to see" - Quality Teaching & Learning in the Early Years workshop March 2020

"Thank you for this very useful info" - Managing Your Ofsted Inspection workshop March 2020

"A great training session on a relevant subject. Alleviated any worries about receiving an Ofsted visit" - Exploring the Education Inspection Framework workshop September 2019

Cost of workshops:

£35 Alliance Members

£50 non-members

Become a member of the Alliance to receive a number of Alliance benefits such as discounted workshops, over 20 free online training courses for your team via online training specialists EduCare, access to 24 hour legal helpline Law-Call  and the Alliance Under 5 magazine.


Are you, or a member of your team, wanting to undertake a NCFE CACHE LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA FOR THE EARLY YEARS WORKFORCE? 

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

To find out more about this training contact Ria on 01732 363070 or email ria.clifton@eyalliance.org.uk

For more information on our training and qualifications for early years practitioners and apprentices please visit the Training Page of our national website. 

Training Centre, First Floor, Bridge House, 97-101 High St, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1DR, 01732 363 070, training.centre@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 office 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.


Workshop plus+ Be inspired

Enhance the experience! 
 
Any training attended shouldn’t be seen in isolation – it’s there to bolster and enhance your knowledge and practise, so don’t let the learning stop at the door.  
 
For the learning process to continue, to be reflected upon, to be shared with your colleagues and embedded within your setting after the training day is over, some further work and thought may be needed.   
 
Workshop plus+ has been developed to take the learning a step further. All participants now have the option of booking additional support alongside the training workshop. 
 
The additional support can be provided in-house to:

  • reinforce the learning to the whole staff team
  • focussed support with the workshop participant on a 1:1 basis
  • to be able to answer any follow up questions regarding the concept of the training
  • to aid self-reflection and provide more practical support to draft development plans or facilitate discussion
  • or can be tailored to meet any bespoke need.

 
All Workshop plus+ support would be designed to meet your individual needs to maximise the impact and ensure your time and energy is rewarded, and all from as little as £70…. 
 
Interested? 
 
To find out more please call us on 01525 715248 or email centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk 

 


 

 

 

 

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!

Information on forthcoming Alliance Connect events will be released in due course, and will be shown here.

 

 

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 07568 607036 or Emma Stace on emma.stace@eyalliance.org.uk 07808 039012

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

 

Crèche services

Baby playing xylophone

MK Crèche service is an Alliance childcare service based in Milton Keynes.  We offer crèches in the community to children centres, charity’s, local business and for events across Milton Keynes, Luton, Buckingham and Northampton.  This enables parents and carers to access educational courses, recreational activities and events either on a long term basis or as a one off crèche.

Our committed, friendly and well-qualified team provides high quality care and learning opportunities for children aged between 6 weeks-8 years.  We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with a focus on learning through play and actively work in partnership with parents, careers and settings.

All crèche supervisors are qualified to an NVQ level 3 in the Early Years and all staff employed have an enhanced DBS disclosure.

During our sessions we promote healthy eating and have been awarded a highly commended Smile Award in recognition of this.

For further information or to make a booking 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 at computer

Reduce the time and burden on your business or group by using the Early Years Alliance payslip service.

We offer a comprehensive, secure payslip service for pre‑schools, full daycare nurseries, out of school clubs and other community groups across England and Wales.

The service includes:

 

Enquire about our payslip service

 

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.

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." 


 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING PICNIC IN THE PARK 2020

In light of the uncertainty and increasing risk around coronavirus, the Early Years Alliance’s Central England Service Hub and Flying Start Luton have been advised by our National office to defer all activities taking place nationally and locally which bring together large groups of adults with immediate effect currently until the end of June. Therefore we have taken the difficult decision to cancel Picnic in the Park 2020 on Wednesday 24 June  at Wardown Park, Luton.

It has not been an easy decision, as in all the years our amazing event has taken place, it has never once needed to be cancelled – even due to bad weather, but in the current climate we are sure you will understand the need to make this decision now.

We really look forward to working with you and welcoming you back to Wardown Park next year for Picnic in the Park 2021, please look out for information on next years event in early 2021.

If you think you may not be on our mailing list, or reuire more information about the event please email claire.viola@eyalliance.org.uk to request to be added to the list.  


Planning an early years event?

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

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

Childcare

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