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The FSF Podcast

The Foundation Stage Forum (FSF) podcast is our weekly show where the education team discuss early years and primary education. All ex-teachers, members of the team have many years of experience in early years, primary and special education, senior leadership, local authority advice and inspections. Helen, Jules, Ben, Jack and Stephen discuss issues in-house for the podcasts, or, more often, invite guests with specific expertise to join them. You can find our most recent episodes below as well as subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.


The importance of self-belief and leaving a heart print on those around you.

Let your day be filled with sunshine as you listen to Action Jackson talk about the importance of self-belief and leaving a heart print on those around you.


Bring your whole self to work

Jules and Jack speak to Gareth who shares his experience on adopting a “bring your whole self to work” ethos. We discuss the possible barriers and numerous benefits of being a more authentic version of yourself at work. As well as some sage advice for anyone thinking about pursuing a similar journey.


Understanding children’s language and communication development

Stephen and Jules spoke with Kirstie Page, founder of Launchpad for Literacy. Kirstie explains why it is so important for educators to have a knowledge of language and communication development as well as an understanding of each child, and the value of embedding interventions to make them part of your daily practice.


Encouraging early writing

Ben and Jack chat with Martin Williams (@EarlyImpact1), an early years teacher and founder of Early Impact . Taking a look at different ways to encourage children to become confident writers from an early age, Martin shares some simple but effective ways to keep mark making fun. Find out more about Martin’s work here:


Embracing children’s rough and tumble play

Stephen and Jules chat with teachers Rachna Joshi and Carla Jones about the approach to rough and tumble play adopted in their school, prompted by their action research project. They explain why rough and tumble play is so important for children, how they teach it in their PE sessions, and the positive impact this has had on children’s physical and social literacy.


Early Adopters discuss their first term of the new EYFS

Helen and Ben are joined by admins Vic, Helen and Sharon as well as moderators Corrie, Anna and Kathryn. Together they manage the hugely popular Early Adopters Facebook group. Vic set up the group to support Early Adopters and it has quickly grown to 8000 members, all benefiting from the expertise provided by this enthusiastic bunch of teachers. We spoke about how they managed to adjust to the new framework, and how first term under the new EYFS has been.


How Tapestry’s Child Login feature is being used at school

Ben and Jules chat with Olivia Dicker, Year 5 teacher at Arundel CofE School to hear how they use Tapestry’s Child Login feature to support independent learning, parental engagement, and the celebration of children’s work throughout the school community.


Teaching with soul – wellbeing and belonging in a school community

Ben and Jules talk with experienced Head Teacher and Independent Education Consultant Alison Kriel about wellbeing, recognising what is enough, and the importance of belonging.


Language and labels and how they impact children

Stephen and Jules talk with early years consultant Leslie Patterson about the language and labels we use with or about children and the impact this has on them. The conversation covers the measures we use to assess children and ways to explore CPD in settings.


The Early Years Sector and Higher Education

Annie Richardson is a university lecturer with over 20 years experience in the early years sector. We discuss with Annie her journey, how qualifications in the early years have changed, some of the current challenges in the sector and what needs to change in the future.


Working with the revised Early Years Foundation Stage: Principles into Practice

The education team discuss the newly published book ‘Working with the revised Early Years Foundation Stage: Principles into Practice’ by Dr Julian Grenier.


The new Development Matters on Tapestry

The Education Team chat about the new Development Matters guidance, what it looks like on Tapestry, and the thought process that led to this opportunity for change.


The Early Years is the jewel in our community’s crown – Jamel Carly-Campbell

Jules and Ben chat with early years ambassador Jamel Carly-Campbell. Jamel shares his own journey into the early years, the importance of having mentors, what needs to change to encourage more black men into the sector and the impact early years educators have on the children they work with.


Why CPD Is More Important Than Ever

Ben and Jack talk with Jenny Barber – an early years trainer, consultant, and author with over 30 years experience. We discuss the importance of CPD, how things have changed in the current climate, and some top tips on how you can access quality CPD at your setting.


One childminder’s journey, ethos and advice

Stephen and Jules catch up with Doreen Barton from Sounique Child. Doreen shares her experience of running a childminding business and opening a pre-school nursery, encouraging independence in children and connecting with families – listen out for lots of advice for childminders.


Transforming lives through early years teaching and learning

Jules and Helen are in conversation with Wendy Scott, President of TACTYC and early years representative on the board of NAPE. They discuss Froebel and how his philosophy has influenced Wendy’s work in early education, building relationships with families, starting with the child, and how the early years can transform lives.


EYFS Early Adopters – your questions answered

Helen and Jules host a Q&A with Dr Julian Grenier, author of the new Development Matters, Gill Jones, HMI and Deputy Director of Schools and Early Education, and Wendy Ratcliff, HMI and Principal Officer for Early Education. They ask questions gathered from teachers about evidencing children’s learning, the role of assessment, and what to say to your SLT.


Challenging male stereotypes in the childcare sector and putting love at the centre of your practice

Stephen and Jules chat with Joss Cambridge-Simmons, founder of Jossy Care and known as the UK’s leading ‘super manny’. They discuss how to talk to children about love, building relationships with families and reaching out to Dads, and challenging male stereotypes in the childcare sector.


Looking at what’s at the heart of the new Development Matters and busting some data myths

We are joined by Julian Grenier, author of the new Development Matters, Gill Jones, HMI and Deputy Director of Schools and Early Education, and Wendy Ratcliff, HMI and Principal Officer for Early Education. Julian talks us through some of the principles underlying the new DMs and busted the myths around assessment. Gill and Wendy talk about what Ofsted is doing this term and how myth-busting on the use of assessment data continues.