In this section you will find a summary of the briefings, guidance and policies we have sent you since 18 March 2020.
Should you require any further advice or support please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would be grateful if you could share the following guidance with your parents and carers. These can be shared through school's social media channels, email or other contact methods.
Nurseries and pre-schools can begin welcoming back all early years children from 1 June 2020. If you can reopen, how many children you can welcome back will be dependent on your risk assessments. The decision to open or not remains with the provider. We recommend every setting completed their risk assessment and use these to support their decision making.
Out of school and holiday clubs cannot reopen unless they operate on school premises and can ensure they follow protective measures guidance. Nurseries and other providers should also not operate before or after school care.
Childminders can open to children of all ages from 1 June 2020.
The DfE are asking settings to continue prioritising children of critical workers and those considered vulnerable (social worker or EHCP) first.
After this they recommend prioritising by age, with the older children first.
Where you are unable to provide a child’s funded place due to closures or a cap on numbers, the parent/carer may be able to access their child’s funded hours in another setting. In this instance, you may cease to receive this child’s funding until their place is made available.
No. You should communicate with your parents on your plans for reopening and assess how many children would return if they could.
There is still an expectation that children with a social worker will continue to attend.
CAN SHIELDED OR CLINICALLY VULNERABLE CHILDREN ATTEND CHILDCARE?
- Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible.
- Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
CAN CHILDREN ATTEND CHILDCARE IF THEY LIVE WITH A SHIELDED OR CLINICALLY VULNERABLE PERSON?
- If a child, young person or staff member lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance, it is advised they only attend a childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions. This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home.
- If a child, young person or a member of staff lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.
CAN SHIELDED ADULTS RETURN TO WORK?
- Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised not to work outside the home. We are strongly advising people, including education staff, who are clinically extremely vulnerable (those with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus and have been advised by their clinician or through a letter) to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Staff in this position are advised not to attend work.
CAN VULNERABLE ADULTS RETURN TO WORK?
- Clinically vulnerable individuals who are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions as set out in the Staying at home and away from others (social distancing) guidance have been advised to take extra care in observing social distancing and should work from home where possible. Childcare settings should endeavour to support this, for example by asking staff to support remote education, carry out lesson planning or other roles which can be done from home. If clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the safest available on-site roles, staying 2 metres away from others wherever possible, although the individual may choose to take on a role that does not allow for this distance if they prefer to do so. If they have to spend time within 2 metres of other people, settings must carefully assess and discuss with them whether this involves an acceptable level of risk.
Preventing the spread of coronavirus involves dealing with direct transmission (for instance, when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing) and indirect transmission (via touching contaminated surfaces). A range of approaches and actions should be employed to do this. These can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. These include:
- minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend childcare settings, schools or colleges
- cleaning hands more often than usual - wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
- ensuring good respiratory hygiene - promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach
- minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break times)
Please refer to the EYCIT Critical Thinking guide for further detailed guidance.
- It is still important to reduce contact between people as much as possible, and we can achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children and staff where possible, only mix in a small, consistent group and that small group stays away from other people and groups.
- Providers are expected to ensure that there are no more than 16 children in a single group within an early years registered setting. Providers can have several groups of 16 if ratios and space requirements allow. While 16 is the maximum, keeping groups of 8, whilst adhering to EYFS ratios, is preferable so groups are as small as possible
- Where settings can keep children and young people in those small groups 2 metres away from each other, they should do so. While in general groups should be kept apart, brief, transitory contact, such as passing in a corridor, is low risk.
- We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, the DfE are taking this into account. Settings should:
avoid contact with anyone with symptoms
ensure frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices
implement regular cleaning of settings
minimise contact and mixing
- Public Health England (PHE) is clear that if early years settings, schools and colleges do this, and crucially if they are also applying regular hand cleaning, hygiene and cleaning measures and handling potential cases of the virus as per the advice, then the risk of transmission will be lowered.
- Providers should consider the needs and age of children and their families when identifying which children will be in which ‘bubble.’ This may include mixed-age sibling bubbles where this is safe and meets government guidance.
Please refer to the EYCIT Critical Thinking guide for further detailed guidance.
To plan for reopening you should:
- Refresh your risk assessments and other health and safety advice for children and staff
- Ensure all health and safety compliance checks have been undertaken before opening. Where the whole, or part of your premises, has been out of use ensure you complete a health and safety checklist. For early years settings this may be ensuring that electrical and safety equipment checks are still valid and that legionnaires checks are carried out where the premises has been closed. If this is usually the responsibility of your landlord then ensure you discuss this with them. You may find the guidance for school premises useful as a checklist of what you may need to consider – view guidance ‘Managing school premises during the coronavirus outbreak’
- Consider how to keep each small group of children together throughout the day and avoid larger groups of children mixing
- Arrange play equipment to ensure it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children using it (both in indoor and outdoor spaces) and that multiple groups of children aren’t using it at the same time
- Decide what activities will be available – how can you utilise outdoor spaces?
- Remove unnecessary items from each room in use by children
- Remove soft furnishings, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean
- Staggered drop off and collection times for parents and carers
- Arrange drop off and pick up protocols that minimise adult to adult contact
- Reduce any unnecessary travel on coaches, buses or public transport
- Ensure all staff are given advice on how to put on and take off PPE – view guidance ‘COVID-19: personal protective equipment use’
Once you reopen, you should:
- Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell. In practice this means excluding staff and children who show symptoms (including new continuous cough, fever, or a loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell) or where any member of their household is showing symptoms
- Keep windows open as far as possible to ensure ventilation, avoid the use of lifts unless essential and use outdoor areas as much as possible
- Ensure children are kept in the same small groups at all times each day and that different groups are not mixed either during the day, or on subsequent days
- Ensure the same staff are assigned to each group and as a far as possible, these stay the same during the day and on subsequent days
- Ensure children use the same area throughout the day
- Ensure thorough cleaning of rooms at the end of the day
- Follow the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance
- Ensure sufficient handwashing facilities are available. Where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in rooms
- Clean surfaces that children are touching, including resources, furniture, toilets, bannisters, more regularly than normal
- Ensure children and staff wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. This should include on arrival, before and after eating and after sneezing or coughing. Young children should be helped to do so
- Children should be encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
- Children should be encouraged to use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste
- Settings should consider how to encourage children to learn and practice good hygiene habits through games, songs and repetition
- Access to rooms should be directly from outside where possible
- Consider one way circulation of people or place dividers where possible
- Stagger breaks to ensure small groups are kept separate
- Use outside space for exercise and breaks and provide outdoor activities where possible
- Only use outdoor equipment where you are able to ensure it is appropriately cleaned between each small group using it and do not allow multiple groups to use it simultaneously
- Reduce the use of shared resources
How should we approach settling in?
- It is likely that children will display levels of anxiety and distress and that parents will also be worried about their child returning to the setting. Acknowledge these feelings and try to plan a settling in that will be as supportive, calm and nurturing as possible, recognising that the ‘new normal’ is different than the ‘old normal.’ Encourage parents to talk to their child about returning to nursery and preparing them for some of the changes they may encounter.
How do we ask parents to sign forms with the EYFS states must be in place?
- Providers will need to send an email notification to parents to inform them of accidents/first aid/medication etc. Ask parents to send an acknowledgement email back to show this has been received. It is also possible to request a read receipt when sending an email but an email acknowledgement is preferable.
You will need to communicate with several people, including:
- Suppliers – talk to them as early as possible to help them prepare to support your plans (cleaners, food and hygiene supplies, etc.)
- Parents and carers – let them know if/when you plan to reopen. Discuss when and how they will be dropping off and collecting their child (when, where)
- Staff – talk about your plans, safety measures, new processes and arrange any necessary training
- Everyone that usually visits your setting – let them know not to approach the setting if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus and pass on guidance that anyone visiting should walk/cycle to you where possible
Please refer to the EYCIT Critical Thinking guide for further detailed guidance.
EYCIT are offering an opportunity to review your assessments, check that it includes all of the relevant areas and advise where you may need to consider additional measures.
If you are planning on reopening up to 12 June 2020, please email your assessments to Kelsey.email@example.com.
Where you are planning to reopen after 15 June 2020 email them to Safina.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.
- If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
- If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
- PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).
- In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
- If a member of staff has helped someone who was unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.
Anyone with symptoms, of all ages, can apply for a test at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/.
Essential workers, which includes all childcare staff, can apply through https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers.
- When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.
- Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
- Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
- As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.
Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended.
Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings.
Childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.
Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings (or any form of medical mask where instructed to be used for specific clinical reasons) should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.
Most staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:
- Children whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
- if a child becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn
If a member of staff expresses their wish to wear PPE, it is important not to instantly dismiss this but to discuss the reasons as to why they feel the need to do so. Ensure they consider the impact of PPE on the children, how they are going to replace and dispose of these items correctly and whether gloves are a better alternative to regular handwashing.
- You should use your local supply chains to obtain PPE.
- If this is not possible, and there is unmet urgent need for PPE in order to operate safely, you may approach your nearest local resilience forum. Further details to follow.
- Providers can also get in touch with public sector buying organisation partners (for example ESPO, YPO, NEPO) about proportionate supplies of soap, anti-bacterial gel and cleaning products if needed
The following guidance is taken from Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures
Does the Early Years Foundation Stage still apply?
- The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework sets the standards that schools and childcare settings must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.
- We have amended legislation to allow for the temporary disapplying and modifying of a number of requirements within the EYFS, giving settings flexibility to respond to changes in workforce availability and potential fluctuations in demand while ensuring children are kept safe. These temporary changes come into force on 24 April 2020.
- Full details of the amendments can be found in the guidance on Early years foundation stage statutory framework (EYFS), which also includes details about how the temporary arrangements will be brought to an end. Settings and local authorities should fully familiarise themselves with these changes to ensure they understand the flexibilities available to them and are meeting the modified requirements, especially in relation to paediatric first aid, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Do settings need to meet the learning and development requirements in sections 1 and 2 of the EYFS?
- Following the amendments to the EYFS from 24 April, early years settings only need to use reasonable endeavours to deliver the learning and development requirements set out in the EYFS. We understand that these are exceptional circumstances and the priority at this time is keeping children safe and well cared for. As far as possible, children should also benefit from a broad range of educational opportunities.
Will schools assess children against the EYFS profile this academic year?
- The Secretary of State for Education has announced that there will be no exams or assessments in schools this summer. This includes no assessment of children in reception year against the early learning goals that form the EYFS profile. This also means no moderation by local authorities.
Will settings be required to undertake the progress check at age 2?
- Settings will not be required to undertake the progress check at age 2 during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Does someone with a paediatric first aid certificate still need to be on site?
- The requirements in the EYFS on paediatric first aid certification have been modified and guidance has been published setting out what this means.
- The existing requirement remains in place where children aged 0 to 24 months are on site. Paragraph 3.25 and Annex A of the EYFS set out the requirements, including that ‘at least one person who has a current paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present, and must accompany children on outings.’ The existing requirements also remain unchanged for childminders, as they are already required to have full PFA certification.
- The requirement is modified where children aged 2 to 5 are on site (with no children aged below 24 months) to a best endeavours duty to have someone with a full PFA certificate on site. If all steps set out in the guidance have been exhausted and settings cannot meet the PFA requirement, they must carry out a written risk assessment and ensure that someone with a current First Aid at Work or emergency PFA certificate is on site at all times. New entrants (level 2 and 3) will not need to have completed a full PFA course within their first 3 months in order to be counted in staff to child ratios.
What happens if staff need to renew their paediatric first aid certificates?
- If PFA certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus (COVID-19), or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended by up to 3 months. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020.
Can settings vary staff to child ratios and qualifications?
- Paragraph 3.30 of the EYFS states: ‘Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made.’
- We consider the extent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be an exceptional temporary circumstance in which the staff to child ratios set out in the EYFS can be changed if necessary. However, childcare settings or schools remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care.
- Amendments made to regulations from 24 April allow further exceptions to be made to the qualification level that staff hold in order to be counted in the ratio requirements. Settings should use reasonable endeavours to ensure that at least half of staff (excluding the manager) hold at least a full and relevant level 2 qualification to meet staff to child ratio requirements, but this is not a legal requirement.
- In nursery classes in maintained schools, caring for children aged 3 and over, reasonable endeavours should be used to ensure that at least one member of staff is a school teacher. Where this is not possible, there must be at least one member of staff for every 8 children, with at least one member of staff who holds at least a full and relevant level 3 qualification. Providers should use their reasonable endeavours to ensure that at least half of other staff hold at least a full and relevant level 2 qualification.
- Further detail is set out in Early Years Foundation Stage: disapplications and modifications for early years provision open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Can settings take on new staff (including volunteers) even if a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check has not been completed?
- The requirements set out at paragraph 3.11 of the EYFS remain in place.
- Settings must obtain criminal records checks for new members of staff including volunteers. If an application has been made but the DBS disclosure has not arrived, new staff and volunteers can still care for children as long they are supervised by someone who has a DBS check. Under no circumstances can an
unchecked member of staff be left alone with children.
What if a member of staff already has an enhanced DBS check but is moving temporarily to another early years setting?
- Where members of the early years and childcare workforce are already engaging in regulated activity and already have the appropriate DBS check, there is no expectation that a new DBS check should be obtained for them to temporarily move to another setting to support the care of children.
- The onus remains on the receiving setting to satisfy themselves that someone in their setting has had the required checks, including by seeking assurance from the current employer rather than requiring new checks.
Is it still a requirement for early years settings to have a separate baby room for children under the age of 2 during this period of disruption?
- The EYFS requirement to have a separate baby room is a safety issue for the protection of very young children particularly when they are asleep. Paragraph 3.59 of the EYFS already allows for the mixing of children when this is appropriate. If the layout of the premises does not allow for a separate ‘baby room’ with its own door, a suitable area may be partitioned off to provide safety for younger children.
- Plan how all children will be supported to address the specific issues that may have arisen due to coronavirus, taking into account children’s individual needs and circumstances. The coronavirus outbreak may have caused significant mental health or wellbeing difficulties for some children. Be alert to harms that may have been hidden or missed while they have not been attending settings. Consider the mental health, pastoral or wider health and wellbeing support children may need, including with bereavement, and how to support them to transition into the setting after a long period of absence. Consider how you will involve parents and carers to identify specific support for children and how children’s needs may have changed and to prepare for their return to your setting.
- Consider whether a review of child protection arrangements is needed in light of coronavirus. Identify and plan how best to support high needs groups, including children with SEND, vulnerable children and disadvantaged children when the setting reopens. Settings should refer to government guidance on supporting vulnerable children when planning this. If your setting usually works with external agencies to support children with SEND or with behaviour or other issues, discuss with your local authority or other providers of support services to ascertain whether or when these services will be available and plan accordingly to suit your setting’s individual circumstances.
- Readjustment to the routines in a setting may prove more challenging for some children with SEND, particularly those who have been attending a different setting if their usual setting has been closed. Plan how to ensure your setting will have the staffing needed to support children with SEND at safe ratios, that there is a member of staff designated as a SENCO or interim SENCO and how this can best be accommodated in the planning of groups of children in your setting. Consider how you will involve parents and carers in planning and agreeing any changes to support, including reviewing EHC plans.
- Consider how to encourage attendance of vulnerable children and the best way to support them to transition into the setting according to their needs and their individual family circumstances. In cases where children are considered vulnerable and do not attend provision as expected, as with normal practice, follow up with the parent or carer – and social worker and local authority where appropriate – to explore reasons for absence. Settings should work with local authorities, and school nurses and health visitors where relevant, to monitor the welfare of vulnerable children who are not attending provision, and other children they might wish to keep in touch with for safeguarding purposes.
- While the Secretary of State for Education announced the suspension of routine Ofsted inspections in March 2020, the safeguarding responsibilities of settings have not changed, and regulatory action including visits to settings which are triggered by safeguarding concerns will continue. See Ofsted’s response to coronavirus for more information.
- The DfE guidance ‘Planning guide for early years and childcare settings’ states that to minimise contact between groups of children and staff, children should attend just one setting wherever possible and parents and carers should be encouraged to minimise as far as possible the number of education and childcare settings their child attends. Childminding settings should consider how they can work with parents and carers to agree how best to manage any necessary journeys, for example pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children
- We acknowledge that ‘wherever possible’ is difficult to use as a measure and have sought further clarity on this from the DfE
- However, it is clear from evidence previously published that the fewer people that encounter each other, the lower the risk to individuals of becoming infected by COVID-19
- We therefore recommend that every endeavour is taken to ensure that children only attend one setting, and where they must attend two settings that they work together to limit the contact children have with other ‘bubble’ groups
- We hope that the following scenarios provide some ideas on how settings may manage this
A child that usually attends two early years funded settings
We recommend that where a child usually accesses two early years settings that they do not do so at the moment. To support this, we will continue to fund both settings that usually provide early years funding. The parent/carer will be able to choose which setting the child attends, and if the chosen setting can accommodate it, the child can access their full entitlement and receive funding to do so
- Child normally attends 15 hours universal funding at setting A and 15 hours extended entitlement at setting B
- Parent agrees to only attend setting B temporarily. Setting B agrees that they can offer the child’s full 30 hours entitlement
- Setting A continues to receive 15 hours funding; setting B continues to claim 15 hours through headcount and submits a COVID funding request for the extra 15 hours
A child that usually attends school and a childminder
The advice is that during wraparound care, that children continue to only be in the same small groups that they attend during the school day. Schools may have a policy, based on a risk assessment, in place which excludes children who are attending more than one setting
The decision on whether it would be safe for children to attend both a school and childminding setting would depend on the individual circumstances and may be influenced by the number and age of children attending the childminding setting. Each situation will need to be assessed and wherever possible children should only be cared for within the same small group that a child is cared for during the school day
Schools are also being advised that where they offer wraparound care, that the children only mix with children from the same school group as during the school day
There would be a higher risk if a childminder is caring for children from multiple schools and/or multiple year groups and in these instances, it would not be advisable for children to attend both school and the childminding service
Childminders caring only for children from the same household (and no others of any age) would mean that the children are not mixing outside of their small group within school
Childminders should also consider the travel arrangements and whether they would be able to socially distance children on the journey to and from school
A child that usually attends a school and an out of school club
At this time only out of school settings that operate on school premises can be open. In these circumstances children should remain in the same small group as during the school day. Groups will need to ensure they follow the protective measures guidance before they open.
- Yes. The furlough scheme can still be used “if you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus.” Further guidance can be found here.
- As the scheme stands, staff who are still supernumerary to the levels of demand for childcare places from 1 June will still be eligible to be furloughed as long as they are within the limits of the private:public funding requirements. If you have staff on furlough, we recommend you keep up to date with guidance as this is subject to change.
Providers will need to discuss with individual staff any reasons why they do not want to return to work. If there are specific circumstances in place e.g. staff member is clinically extremely vulnerable, providers must abide by government guidance.
It is inevitable that there will be anxiety and concern from staff about exposure to the virus and the practicality of caring for young children in such restricted conditions. This must be explored with staff and assurances given as much as possible; the sharing of risk assessments, operational plans and involving staff in discussions on these will hopefully alleviate their concerns.
If you can create a safe working environment and there are no specific circumstances as to why a member of staff cannot return to work, you will need to refer to your policies and procedures for staff conduct and attendance.
Further advice and support is available from ACAS at https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus.
- If you are unable to open for your usual opening hours due to staffing or other processes, you will need to communicate this to parents and carers.
- You may also need to amend the individual start and finish times for children to accommodate your new drop-off and collection processes.
Please refer to the Early Years Funding Policy – June 2020 for further details.
- Where parents are accessing hours beyond the free entitlements they are eligible for, early year providers should continue to charge parents in the normal way.
- The wider business support packages can continue to be used as appropriate, including the loan schemes and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), on condition that the principles in Department for Education’s sector specific guidance continue to be met.
- You will need to consider your policy for charging for private hours/fees when a child can return, but the parent chooses not to do so.
Do we need to continue support children who are not attending either due to closure or parents’ choice to delay return?
- Settings should consider how to continue to support the learning of children who do not attend settings, including how these children can maintain contact with their key person and peers through the early years setting, and how parents and carers can be supported to provide a positive learning environment at home.
- The Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign features tips and practical activities that parents and carers can do at home with children to support their early learning. The campaign website has been updated to include a wealth of online educational resources available for parents and carers to support their child’s development at home.
- Settings can also direct parents and carers to the BBC’s Tiny Happy People campaign and the National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone for more ideas and content.
- The Department for Education has published further guidance on how to help children aged 2 to 4 to learn at home during the coronavirus outbreak
Ofsted recently updated their guidance and asked that when providers operating circumstances change (opening or closing) they notify them by sending an email to email@example.com with ‘Change in operating hours’ in the subject field. In the body of the email, confirm your unique reference number (URN) and the details of the change.
Guidance for all Redbridge residents on coronavirus is available at https://find.redbridge.gov.uk/kb5/redbridge/fsd/site.page?id=0XTUXqqZ8B0.
Information is available for families on bereavement support. Please visit https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-hub/.
How can we contact FiND?
- Due to the increased number of queries and concerns around the current uncertainty we are struggling to answer/return all calls. Our priority is staying in contact with you, however we are now asking that all contact is initially made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This means that where an individual FiND staff member is unavailable there is a wider team who can respond to your queries. We will then be able to call you if it is necessary and we can prioritise the most urgent issues.
Will there be EYCIT visits and support over the coming weeks?
- The EYCIT Team are available to offer support, advice and challenge as usual.
- Where EYCIT or other partners have concerns, particularly with Safeguarding, visits will still be made to ensure procedures remain effective for those offering support to children of key workers and vulnerable children.
- EYCIT will be creative with their approach to visits and some visits will be completed over the phone or through a Skype call.
Will funding audits continue?
- No, all audits are suspended until further notice
How will the local authority keep me updated?
- Within the Council we have now put the Business Continuity Plans into operation
- As part of those plans we will continue to prioritise updates to all EY&C settings on both national and local updates and guidance
- Where relevant we will also update this FAQ
The DfE have provided a collection of all guidance for schools and early years settings, with links to all relevant guidance pages.