Education Skills Funding Agency Stage 1 Acceptance

Quick little update here regarding our process of becoming an EPAO for the EYE Standard and the CYPF Standards! We have officially been accepted through Stage 1 of the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)!  


I’m sure that anyone that has been through this process before knows how gradual and time-consuming something like this can be. We are so relieved to be able to focus on completing the following steps of OFQUAL and Stage 2! We are aiming to fully submit Stage 2 of ESFA in the next couple of weeks and OFQUAL within the next 4 weeks!  


With that being said, thank you so much to those who have supported us in this new journey! SSES looks forward to bringing you all valuable information regarding childcare, becoming a practitioner, and the end point assessment process!



 Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) logo

How to Help Set New Year’s Goals for Children

Given that it’s the first month of the New Year (Happy New Year’s everyone!), and most people are writing up an abundance of “New Year’s Resolutions”, we thought we would touch on how to successfully incorporate New Year’s Goals into  the lives of our littles ones – no it is not just for adults! 😊



Although wanting to develop healthier habits is exceptionally great, when applying them into resolutions, it becomes the concept of “all or nothing”. The last thing we want to teach our children is that when they don’t achieve a specific resolution on a specific day, they have failed their resolution.  According to – unfortunately – only 8% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions maintain it throughout the year. This is a direct product of people setting goals that are essentially unrealistic and far too broad. When trying to incorporate resolutions into a child’s everyday life, it is setting them up to become a part of the 92% of people who don’t stick to their new beneficial habits.  



So how do you make these resolutions last? The answer to this is simple; have them set GOALS that have acquire the following attributes: 



  • Specific, Measurable 
    • Instead of “I want to learn to read better”, alter the goal to “I want to read 15-30 minutes every day to increase my reading abilities”. By initiating this statement, it makes it much more tangible for the child to achieve due to the goal becoming measurable. 


  • Attainable, Achievable, Gradual 


    • It is unlikely that a child who has done hardly any reading, begins reading for an hour straight every day. Gradual goals will allow more room for achievement and growth to be acknowledged. Instead of, “I will read an hour everyday”, have them make it more obtainable by initiating, “I will raise my reading time to 15-30 minutes”.  

boy wearing gray vest and pink dress shirt holding book

  • Realistic and Relevant 
    • Although you – as a parent or guardian – may want the child to work vigorously on their reading skills, is it really something that your child wants to do? Is it realistically exciting for them? The child will be more engaged and set on achieving something they are willing to invest time in.  


  • Time-Limited and Trackable 
    • Setting time-limited and trackable goals gives your child a date to complete their goals by. In regards to reading, they could set their goal to end at the end of the month, and from there they can increase the difficulty of their goal depending on how much progress they have made (you will need to help them figure this out). In another example, if a low-mid level student wants to achieve better grades, they may have their goal end at the end of the term or next grading period.  


  • Smaller Goals to Achieve the Grand Goal 
    • Developing smaller, attainable goals on a daily or weekly basis allows a sense of achievement to be made. The 15-30 minute increase of reading will allow the child’s desire of reading faster/better become far more achievable simply due to the daily to increase of this skill. Another example may be a student who wants to raise all their grades by one letter grade by the end of the next term may set a goal to do one-two additional hours of studying every week to make their overall goal more attainable to reach. 


  • Multiple Goals 
    • One goal is not enough and could put too much pressure on your child! However, too many goals are unrealistic and could be overwhelming. We recommend around three goals 🙂 



One of the largest barriers of people/children not attaining their resolutions is that they are often far too unrealistic and broad. Teaching children to incorporate these methods and this level of detail into their goals – rather than resolutions – and everyday lives will give them something more attainable and sustainable to strive for. This will promote proper creation of goals to be constructed in the future, as well as a greater success rate! 

We hope we have provided some valuable information about the construction of goals and hope you implement them into the lives of our young ones, as well as yourself! Thank you! 🥰

The Nursery World Show 2020 Attendance Announcement!

Hello Everyone! We hope all of you are crushing your New Year and getting everything back to normal after the holidays! We are so excited to announce our attendance to The Nursery World Show 2020 on February 7th-8th at The Business Design Centre in London, UK! If you will be attending this amazing convention, please don’t hesitate to come to our booth and listen to our End-Point Assessment vision and grab yourself one of our personalized reusable and biodegradable bamboo straws/straw cleaners!  


We are unbelievably grateful to be apart of something that brings all of us together and we are looking forward to seeing you there! Click the link below if you would like to learn more about the exhibition! 


Nursery World Show 2020 Picture

Italian Lemon Drop Christmas Cookies!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Christmas cookies!   Fortunately, we have a pretty substantial excuse to bake as practitioners, educators and parents! Baking with children acquires a significant amount of benefits for our little ones; it improves bilateral coordination, introduces scientific concepts, boosts reading and social skills, encourages planning skills, exercises spatial awareness, initiates basic life skills, and most importantly, it promotes essential bonding time between the child and the parent/practitioner. SO, with that all being said and given that it is the holiday season, we decided it would only be necessary to bring you a much-needed Christmas Cookie Recipe that easily – we use that word lightly – can be carried out with the little ones! This recipe is an Italian Lemon Cookie Recipe that will satiate you and everyone else that you may decide to share with – remember, sharing is caring!  





italian lemon drop cookie ingredients

Cookie Dough: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • ¼ cup room temperature unsalted butter (we used Stork) 
  • 1 egg 
  • ¼ teaspoon 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (roughly 1-2 lemons) 
  • 1 tablespoons lemon zest (roughly 1 lemon) 
  • 1/3 cup milk (or any milk alternatives you prefer) 
  • Parchment paper 

Cookie Icing: 

  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar  
  • 2 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter (we used Stork) 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons milk (or any milk alternatives you prefer) 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (roughly ½ lemon) 
  • ½ tablespoon lemon zest (roughly ½ lemon) 





Cookie Dough: 

  1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius 
  1. Combine baking powder, all-purpose flour, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside for now! 
  1. In a different mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat together until the colour is pale and the consistency is fluffy. 
  1. Combine the egg and vanilla into the butter and sugar mixture. Beat together until the consistency is smooth and then add the lemon and lemon zest and continue to mix until fully combined.  
  1. Add half of the flour mixture you had set aside into the mixture you have just combined, and fully mix. Add milk and remainder of flour mixture, developing a sticky and thick cookie dough.  
  1. Use a spoon to scoop approximately 1 heaped tablespoon of batter onto parchment paper. 
  1. Bake your cookies for 11-13 minutes – or until the bottom is a light golden brown! 
  2. Remove from the oven carefully and transfer the cookies to an oven rack to prepare for the cookie icing! 

conglomerate of cookie dough mixture

Cookie Icing: 

  1. In a mixing bowl, fully beat together all the cookie icing’s ingredients until a smooth glaze is developed. (it turns out much more aesthetic than the picture on the right we promise!)
  1. Use a tablespoon to transfer the icing to the cookies and spread all over each cookie.  
  1. Let the icing sit on the cookies for approximately 15 minutes. 
  1. Serve! 
  1. Store in an airtight container if there are leftovers. 


picture of italian lemon drop cookies

Happy Holidays and we hope you enjoy! 🎄 Let us know how it is on Twitter/Instagram: @ssedservices 


This recipe is from a lovely lady named July, we highly recommend her website for more recipes!  


Introduction to Gateway!

What is Gateway and when does it begin? 


Great question! Gateway is one of the most essential stages in the apprenticeship process and lies directly between the on-programme stage and the End-Point Assessment stage. This is the point in which an Employer decides an apprentice is competent enough in their skills to do the job and that any further training wouldn’t be necessary to successfully complete the End-Point Assessment. 

If you are an apprentice it is crucial to remember that being gateway-ready does not propose just doing the mandatory prerequisites that the Employer has assigned; being gateway-ready is compelling the Employer that your overall competency meets – or even surpasses – the standards and can be implemented in a professional, and straightforward manner. By achieving this in the on-programme, the Gateway will then be granted and the process of preparing for the End-Point Assessment begins! 

With that being said, the Gateway has an abundance of different requirements depending on the apprenticeship being obtained. Here is a simple list of a few gateway requirements:


  • Maths L2
  • English L2 
  • Reference from Employer
  • Standards Completed/Portfolio 
  • Declaration of Authenticity 


Once the desired requirements are completed, they must be handed off to the chosen End-Point Assessment Organisation to be evaluated before moving on to the EPA.  


Men discussing topic


How does an Employer conclude that the apprentice is ready for Gateway? 


The Employer asks themselves a series of questions when considering if an apprentice is at a desired point of competency and ready to move into the Gateway: 


  • Is there adequate proof that the apprentice is prepared to move on? 
  • Does the proof reveal achievement of the knowledge, skills and behaviours? 
  • Does the achievement fulfil or surpass the level required? 


Once these questions are (hopefully) all confirmed, the Employer will then ask the final question: 


  • Does the apprentice reach full competency? 


If the answer is “YES” then the apprentice will be granted access to the Gateway! 


To sum it all up, Gateway reveals that the Employer and training providers are confident that the Apprentice is equal or exceeds the level of standard required and that their skills can be beneficial to the workforce. It is critical to remember that the climb to the Gateway is a long one and requires a lot of knowledge, skills and behaviours to be obtained and it is not something that is given out negligently by the Employer. Although this may be one of the most stressful times for an Apprentice, it is imperative to remember that this is just one step closer in completing the apprenticeship process and either starting on their chosen carrier or enhancing the role the Apprentice already undertakes

Introduction to End-Point Assessment!

What is an End-Point Assessment

Welcome to our first blog post! We will be diving into the basic principles of what an EPA is, who assesses it, how assessments may vary and we give a few examples to top it off – Enjoy!



What is an EPA? 

Anyone who desires the completion of a Standards Apprenticeship will have to have to undergo an End-Point Assessment – also known as an EPA. An EPA is carried out by an Independent End-Point Assessor (IEPA) after the Apprentice has completed Gateway (we will cover that in another blog post!) and at the end of their on-programme training– the stage in which an Apprentice must go through a series of training and development by an Employer and Training Provider. The EPA may by constructed in different forms based on the Apprenticeship being completed: assignments, exams, projects, discussions, interviews, etc.  

Ultimately, the EPA works as an essential and additional level of accreditation for the Apprentice to show that the knowledge, skills and behaviours that they had acquired through their on-programme had been intellectually absorbed and can be properly implemented into their following career! Employers will decide when the Apprentice is occupationally competent to take the EPA.  



Who assesses the EPA, and how is it graded? 

An End-Point Assessment Organisation – also known as an EPAO – consist of IEPA’s and are the providers of EPA’s. These EPAO’s are responsible for creating, providing and awarding the Standard to the apprentices who are wishing to capitalise and complete their apprenticeships. The Standards SSES will be working with are graded in a Fail, Pass or Distinction outcome. It is important to remember that EPA’s may vary greatly in regard to form, topic of discussion, and assignments – all in which will have a different influence on the overall grade based on the Apprenticeship being tested. 



Here are some examples of what an EPA may look like for a few of the Apprenticeships we will be providing: 

Early Years Educator Standard: Knowledge Test (35 questions, 60 minutes), Professional Discussion (90 minutes) 

Children, Young People, Families Level 4 Standard: Observation of Practice (80-90 minutes), Competence Interview (60 minutes) 

Children, Young People, Families Level 5 Standard: Situational Written Judgement Test (4 Questions, 45 minutes), Competence Interview (60 minutes) 

writing - What is EPA? education