The Pre-school Learning Alliance changed its name to the Early Years Alliance on Monday 18 February.

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 member forums 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, Pre-school Learning Alliance Central England Service Hub, as follows:

Service Manager

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

Service Administrators

Claire Viola, based at our Flitwick office email: claire.viola@eyalliance.org.uk tel:01525 715255 option 1 or Jeannette Batash, based at our Milton Keynes office email: jeannette.batash@eyalliance.org.uk tel:01908 263700


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About us

As the Alliance Central England Service Hub, we support approximately 990 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 member forums 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, Pre-school Learning Alliance Central England Service Hub, as follows:

Service Manager

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

Service Administrators

Claire Viola, based at our Flitwick office email: claire.viola@eyalliance.org.uk tel:01525 715255 option 1 or Jeannette Batash, based at our Milton Keynes office email: jeannette.batash@eyalliance.org.uk tel:01908 263700

 

Our Services

About us

The Alliance Central England Hub has 3 office bases:

The Service Hub Team are based at Flitwick and Milton Keynes, and our Flying Start Luton team are based in Luton. The office addresses are as follows:

Central England Service Hub, Room 1 The Rufus Centre, Flitwick, Beds MK45...

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News and events

Read more

Training

We run a variety of training courses 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.

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

Read more

Member forums

Alliance communities are an opportunity for members to meet, share ideas and also be involved in arranging member events.

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...

Read more

Payroll service

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...

Read more

Crèche services

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...

Read more

Toy library

What is mk: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...

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

Children's services

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages 80 childcare services across England. Visit the Find Childcare page on the Alliance website and enter your postcode or town below to find the...

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

About us

The Alliance Central England Hub has 3 office bases:

The Service Hub Team are based at Flitwick and Milton Keynes, and our Flying Start Luton team are based in Luton. The office addresses are as follows:

Central England Service Hub, Room 1 The Rufus Centre, Flitwick, Beds MK45 1AH Tel: 01525 715248/ 715255/ 720414

Central England Service Hub, 2 Burners Lane, Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes, MK11 3HB Tel: 01908 266685 

Flying Start Luton, Tokko Building, 7 Gordon Street, Luton LU1 2QP Tel: 01582 548356

 

News and events

Training

We run a variety of training courses 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.

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

Qualification Courses

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

 

Workshops

Getting to Grips with EYFS

Schemas - Cognitive Therapy 

Learn to Talk ‘Sustained Shared Thinking’ 

Managing your Ofsted Inspection

Pension Workshop

Becoming a Committee Member 

Promoting Positive Behaviour 

Fun with Maths 

 

First Aid Courses

12 Hour Paediatric First Aid Course meeting the requirements of Ofsted and EYFS

 

Funding

Level 2 & 3 Course funding criteria:-

Full funding is available to all 16 – 18 year old UK residents.

Full funding available to 16 years olds and over who are employed with a contract containing apprenticeship agreement for a minimum of 16 hours per week. 

Applicants not eligible for funding may pay for their course fee by 10 monthly instalments.

Level 3 learners not eligible for funding can apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan.

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.

Current Courses Available

We are currently booking on to these courses:

 


12 Hour Paediatric First Aid Course

Course Dates:

Wednesday 13th & 20th February 2019

Saturday 9th & 16th March 2019

Time & Duration: Two sessions at 9.30am - 4.30pm (including breaks)

Course Fee: £80 PSLA Members / £85 Non PSLA Members

Venue: Early Years Alliance, 2 Burners Lane, Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes


 

WORKSHOPS IN 2019: Full details to follow:

Managing Your Ofsted Inspection - Wednesday 27th February 2019 at 9.30am - 12.30pm

An introduction to Schemas - Cognitive Therapy - Wednesday 13th March 2019 at 9.30am - 12.30pm

Sustained Shared Thinking - Wednesday 8th May at 6.30 - 9.30pm

 

Membership of the Alliance is not necessary to attend these courses.Course fee: £25 for members and £30 for non-members.

If you live near a county border you may find you can access training nearer to you in another county. Funding would come from the county in which you work. Please contact the local Alliance Office for further advice.

If you would like to apply for any of our training courses please complete the Application Form and return to Jeannette Batash, Early Years Alliance, 2 Burners Lane, Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes MK11 3HB or by email to centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk

Member forums

Alliance communities are an opportunity for members to meet, share ideas and also be involved in arranging member events.

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!

However you wish to organise them, these events are a way of supporting local settings, voicing your opinion and having your voice heard and it is important that these communities are led by yourselves, the volunteers and members of the Alliance.

Payroll service

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: Payroll Prices 2018-19

Other information

Additional services are available upon request, such as holiday pay and salary calculations.  If you would like more information on our additional services, then please email us at bedfordshire.payroll@eyalliance.org.uk

We pride ourselves in being a dedicated payroll service for early year’s settings. We are often the first point of call for payroll/finance and HR queries that you may have. We will try to answer these queries, but do not always have the answers or expertise (especially 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 be found below:

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

Crèche services

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

Toy library

What is mk: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.

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

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

Children's services

Directly-managed settings

The Alliance directly manages 80 childcare services across England. Visit the Find Childcare page on the Alliance website and enter your postcode or town below to find the nearest nurseries to you.

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

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 Pre-school Learning Alliance “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 10am - 2pm Wardown Park, Old Bedford Road, Luton

 

The 2019 Invitation Pack has now been sent out to childcare settings in Luton who have consented via Luton Familiy Information Services for the Early Years Alliance to send out information on the event, it has also been sent to local organisations, and our partners in the local authority, health and social care. If you wish to receive an invite pack please contact Claire Viola, Service Administrator via email at centralengland@eyalliance.org.uk or by calling 01525 715255 option 1.

To help us promote the event please download a poster here

Come and join us at this year's Picnic in the Park, bring your picnic and we will provide fun, entertainment, information on local services and organisations for families with young children. There will be entertainment from Cheeky Dog Entertainments, story telling sessions from Luton Library and "Zumbini" taster sessions from Active Luton; along with free activities and a host of stalls provided by local childcare settings, and information stalls from local authority teams, health, social and wellbeing organisations. We are also being joined by the Bedfrodshire Fire & Rescue Service who bring their fire engine for the children to explore, and also a team from Bedfordshire Police. Our theme this year us "think active, be active" so there will be lots of fun, family activities to take part in and learn about on the day, including an activity trail with a free prize to claim. Come along and see what fun it is to live in Luton! 

 

 

 

 

 

The theme for our last event in 2018 was ‘Five to Thrive’ based on five keys ways to interact: respond, cuddle, relax, play and talk. Visitors to the event learnt about this innovative approach which helps parents to develop a strong attachment to their baby and supports babies’ brain development.

Luton’s Mayor, Cllr Naseem Ayub opened the event and spend a lot of time walking around the 33 stalls attending the event, talking to stall holders and learning about their organisations or settings. The event was also visited by Trevor Holden, Chief Executive, Luton Council and Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Pre-School Learning 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. Neil Leitch was very appreciative of the work achieved by the team behind the event commenting “How proud I was to be associated with what you have all done.  So I hope you all feel very, very proud because you should.” 

Once again attendance on the day was around 3,000 people, families with young children enjoyed the wealth of activities provided by the stall holders, as well as Cheeky Dog Entertainer, storytelling sessions from Luton Libraries and songs from staff from the Flying Start Children’s Centres in Luton, along with the Luton Roma Trust who attended in the afternoon and sang and performed for the crowds. Families also took part in an activity trail around the event to complete 5 key messages about the “Five to Thrive” event theme and collect stickers to win a goody bag.

This year a “Love Food, Hate Waste” food demonstration van was provided by LBC waste Management and Luton Adult Learning to promote how to reuse food leftovers and dishes were made which included savoury muffins, made from leftover potatoes and roasted vegetables; lentil curry and flatbreads from leftover vegetables and herbs, and children and parents enjoyed making “robot sandwiches” from leftover carrot and cucumber sticks, dip and bread.

Comments made by families who attended include “What a great day!” “This is our first visit, what a great event!” and “We always enjoy Picnic in the Park”. One family told the Flying Start South Children’s Centre team that they had spent a total of £44 for 2 adults and 2 children to attend a similar event in Hitchin and it wasn’t nearly as good as this one!

We are now a blog! Please see our blog on the Alliance's main website about planning an early years event.

For more information on the event please contact: Claire Viola, Service Hub Administrator centralengland@eyalliance.org.ukor 01525 715248 option 1

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

Room 1

Rufus Centre

Steppingley

Flitwick

MK451AH

Tel: 01525 715248

Email:helen.middleton@eyalliance.org.uk

Childcare

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