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Coronavirus | Updates, advice and resources for families and practitioners

Coronavirus | Guidance for EY&C Settings

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 provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk.     

Sharing support with parents and carers

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. 

https://find.redbridge.gov.uk/kb5/redbridge/fsd/site.page?id=0XTUXqqZ8B0

Confirmed/suspected cases and isolation for those attending or working at the setting

Who needs to self-isolate?

  • Where an individual lives alone and has symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID19), however mild, they must stay at home for 7 days from when symptoms start.
  • Where an individual lives with others and any member of the household has symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days from the day when the first person in the house becomes ill. If anyone in the household starts displaying symptoms they must stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

 

PHE Guidance: Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

 

What do we do if a member of staff needs to self-isolate?

 

  • You’ll have your own procedure for staff advising you of absence/self-isolation
  • Our advice is that if a member of staff is self-isolating as a precaution, you should record the reasons (e.g. they have cough/high temp symptoms, it’s linked to travel or it’s linked to a family member they live with self-isolating)
  • You should also record the date on which they start to self-isolate so that you can follow it up if needed when the 7-14 day period ends
  • The advice at present is that where self-isolation is a precautionary measure there is no need to notify parents/wider community. Equally there is no need to take additional precautions beyond what you are already doing in terms of promoting hygiene, managing the practical implications of absence, and cleaning the premises

 

 

What do we do if a parent advises us that a child is self-isolating?

 

  • The process is similar to that for staff
  • When you record the notification of self-isolation you should ask for the reasons if possible and record these
  • Where self-isolation is precautionary, there is no need to advice other parents
  • Again, there is no need to take additional precautions beyond what you already do in terms of promoting hygiene, managing the practical implications of absence, and cleaning the premise
  • If you think a child within your setting has the symptoms of Coronavirus: a new, persistent cough and/or a high temperature and you think they SHOULD be self-isolating, contact the parent/family and advise accordingly. If possible, whilst waiting for the child to be collected, move them to another room away from the other children and any vulnerable adults. If this is not possible, try to maintain a 2-metre distance between the child and others.
  • Eligible children who are in a household that is self-isolating will continue to receive early years funded

 

 

What do we do if a staff member or a pupil is confirmed as having coronavirus?

 

  • Record the absence and notify the Local Authority
  • Where a diagnosis has been made, you should be contacted by Public Health directly to provide further advice
  • Should you not receive the direct advice please email provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk and we will follow that up accordingly
  • While waiting on advice, if possible make arrangements to do any additional cleaning of areas where the staff member or child may have been based recently
  • The current advice is that where cases are diagnosed there is no requirement at this stage to inform parents/wider community
  • Eligible children who are confirmed as having coronavirus will continue to receive early years funded

 

 

What steps need to be taken when children, students or staff with suspected COVID-19 have attended the educational setting?

 

  • The Government has published extensive guidance on what to do if you are worried that a pupil or member of staff with suspected COVID-19 has attended the educational setting
  • This includes:
    • How to prevent the spread of infection
    • How to clean educational establishments when suspected cases of COVID-19 have attended
    • What to do with rubbish in the educational establishment, including tissues, if children, students or staff become unwell with suspected COVID-19.
    • Follow the guidance shown above on recording self-isolation
    • Eligible children who are suspected of having coronavirus will continue to receive early years funding

Summary of school and setting closures

The government’s key message continues to be that parents are to keep their children at home, wherever possible. Childcare providers, including; nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and Out of School Clubs are to remain closed, except for those children who absolutely need to attend.

 

All childcare providers are asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and for children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

 

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures

 

Which children can continue to attend?

Children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home

 

DfE Guidance: Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision

 

Can we choose to offer care to children who are not identified as eligible for continued care?

 

  • No, only children that meet the criteria can be offered care from Monday 23 March 2020
  • The government have not taken the decision to close schools and settings lightly, all Early Years and Childcare settings are expected to comply
  • Companies and individuals offering unregistered childcare are going against government advice and are likely to be in breach of their insurance policy
  • We will not hesitate to report any Early Years Provider offering care to children who are not eligible

 

Are siblings of eligible children able to attend?

 

No, only if they meet the criteria in their own right.

Childcare for vulnerable children

Which children are considered vulnerable?

 

  • Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those children with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
  • Those who have a social worker include children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority. Children may also be deemed vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need. Children in Foster Care also come under the definition of vulnerable.
  • Eligibility for free school meals, the early years pupil premium, or the disadvantaged 2-year-old entitlement should not be determining factors in assessing vulnerability.

 

Can we include children who are not listed as vulnerable but we believe to be so e.g. if we have concerns at home?

 

  • Yes, there is some flexibility in the definition of children considered vulnerable. For example, you may be concerned about a child who was referred to social care but have not yet been allocated a social worker. If you are concerned about a child and wish to provide care, please contact us at provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk so that we can discuss each case individually.

 

Is it compulsory for children with a social worker (cin/cp) to attend?

 

  • There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend their early years setting. In circumstances where a parent does not want to bring their child, and their child is considered vulnerable, the social worker and setting should explore the reasons for this directly with the parent.

 

Are all children with an EHC plan expected to attend?

 

  • The Government has repeated their key message that children who are able to remain safely at home should do so.
  • Those with an EHC plan should be risk-assessed by settings in consultation with the local authority and parents, to decide whether they still need a childcare place, or whether they can safely have their needs met at home. This could include, if necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide any essential services.
  • Many children with EHC plans can remain safely at home.

Childcare for children of key workers

Who are defined as key workers?

 

  • Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response are considered Key Workers. Please ensure you establish parents who identify themselves as a Key Worker are critical to the COVID-19 response and not just work within the sectors listed.

 

DfE Guidance: Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision

 

 

If only one parent of a two-parent household is a key worker, can the child still be provided continued care?

 

  • Children with at least one parent/carer who is identified as a key worker and are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response can send their child to their Early Years setting if required.
  • However, it is important to reiterate that any child who can remain safely at home should do so.

 

Do we need to obtain evidence that a parent/carer is a keyworker?

 

  • If necessary, settings can ask for simple evidence that a parent/carer is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge, payslip or a letter from their employer.

 

Is it compulsory for key workers to send their child into an early years setting?

 

  • The government’s view is that any child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
  • There is no requirement for Key Workers to send their child into their Early Years setting.

 

What should I do if I believe a parent is not a key worker or that a child can be cared for safely at home?

 

  • The government have reiterated the point that any child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
  • Childcare providers can decide not to provide a place for a child where they are confident that a parent/carer does not meet the government definition of a key worker.
  • If disagreements cannot be resolved between yourself and the parents, please contact FiND on provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk

Monitoring of attendance for vulnerable children

What should I do if a child with a social worker (CIN/CP child) does not attend?

 

  • There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend their early years setting. In circumstances where a parent does not want to bring their child, and their child is considered vulnerable, the social worker and setting should explore the reasons for this directly with the parent.
  • If a child does not arrive to your setting as expected, follow your usual protocols and procedures with regards to attendance and absences, recording any reasons for their absence.
  • For those pupils not in attendance who are open to Social Care either under the category of Child in Need or subject to a Child Protection Plan, please email the name(s) of the child(ren) to Sue Bendon (sue.bendon@redbridge.gov.uk). Please advise if you have managed to speak to the parent/carer and if so, please give the reason provided for the absence. The Education Welfare Service will liaise with our Social Care colleagues where necessary to decide on the next course of action.
  • If concerned about the welfare of other children who do not arrive to access their Early Years provision, please contact the Initial Assessment Team on 020 8708 3885, or for further guidance please email provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk

A copy of the current policy is available to download on the right side of this page.  

Who should not attend the setting?

Can staff or children with serious underlying health conditions continue to attend?

 

  • No, the government strongly advice people with serious underlying health conditions, which puts them at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

 

Can children or staff who live with someone who has a serious underlying health condition continue to attend?

 

  • If a vulnerable child, a child of a key worker or a staff member lives with someone who is in a vulnerable health group, including those who are pregnant, they can continue to attend their Early Years Setting.
  • If a vulnerable child, a child of a key worker or a staff member lives with someone who is in the most vulnerable health group, should only attend the setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child is able to understand and follow those instructions, which may not be possible for the very young.
  • Settings should allow staff who live with someone in the most vulnerable health groups to work from home where possible.

 

DfE Guidance: Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

Social distancing in the setting

How do we manage social distancing within the setting?

 

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYSF)

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.

General practice

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.

 

Should providers still take children outside?

Outdoor activity in private outdoor space should continue, while following social distancing guidance as far as possible. In line with this guidance, childcare settings should avoid using public spaces.

 

What needs to happen if a child is attending a different setting than usual?

Important information should be provided by the parent or carer to the setting on day one, including emergency contact details, dietary requirements and medical needs to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the child.

Staffing

How do we manage staff absence or closures?

 

ACAS Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for employers and employees

DfE Guidance: COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

Ofsted

Ofsted guidance: Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update

 

Ofsted inspections

 

The Secretary of State for Education announced the suspension of routine Ofsted inspections on 17 March 2020.

 

The responsibilities that providers have on safeguarding have not changed, and Ofsted inspections triggered by safeguarding concerns will continue

 

 

Early Years Funding

Spring funding

  • There will be no changes to spring term funding due to COVID-19

 

Summer funding

  • April monthly interim payments were made on 25 March 2020 for all PVIs and childminders (except where requested not to be sent early)
  • Redbridge will fund any children during closures who are on roll and are either attending (children of key workers or vulnerable children), or would be attending your setting if national closures were not in place.
  • Guidance on completing headcount will be emailed to all settings shortly

 

Funding of children attending temporarily as their setting has closed

  • There will be a separate funding claim process
  • Providers should complete a COVID request on the Provider Portal 'Forms' section 

 

Will 30 hours childcare continue?

  • Yes, where eligible
  • Please remind parents/carers to reconfirm their 30 hours and Tax Free Childcare codes, whether settings are open or closed. If they don’t reconfirm and become ineligible, we will be unable to fund you for the additional hours in summer term.

Financial and business support for childcare businesses

What additional business support is available to childcare businesses?

 

  • Childcare providers will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means nonlocal authority providers of childcare (registered with Ofsted and providing EYFS) will pay no business rates in 2020 to 2021 from 1 April.
  • Nurseries in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief will benefit from small business grant funding of £10,000. This includes nurseries who are eligible for a charitable status relief.
  • Some settings will operate from shared spaces which may now benefit from a 100% rates relief.
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means that for employees who are not working but kept on payroll, the government will contribute 80% of each worker’s wages of up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020.
  • DfE Guidance: COVID-19: support for businesses

How do we apply for Small Business Grant Fund?

Where a business is eligible for a grant, and Redbridge Council hold your BACS details for payments, your account will be credited and you do not need to do anything.

Visit https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-hub/coronavirus-support-for-businesses/coronavirus-business-grants/ for details. 

How do we apply for Business Rates holiday for 2020/21?

Redbridge Council will be adjusting business rate bills for those eligible and will be issuing a revised bill in a few weeks.

Queries on eligibility should be addressed by email to business.rates@redbridge.gov.uk.

Visit https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-hub/coronavirus-support-for-businesses/coronavirus-business-grants/ for details. 

We are in financial difficulty, what do we do?

 

  • If you are having cashflow issues or are in financial difficulty, please do not wait – contact us immediately at provider.date@redbridge.gov.uk

 

Can I continue to charge parents during coronavirus-related closures?

 

  • As always, matters of non-funded hours and services are between you and your families.
  • The government urges all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

 

Can I continue to charge for consumables?

 

  • Providers may charge for consumables in line with national entitlements guidance and the Funding Agreement made between yourself and the Local Authority.

Financial and business support for childminders

What additional support is available to childminders?

 

 

We are in financial difficulty, what do we do?

 

  • If you are having cashflow issues or are in financial difficulty, please do not wait – contact us immediately at provider.date@redbridge.gov.uk

 

Can I continue to charge parents during coronavirus-related closures?

 

  • As always, matters of non-funded hours and services are between you and your families.
  • The government urges all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

 

Can I continue to charge for consumables?

 

  • Providers may charge for consumables in line with national entitlements guidance and the Funding Agreement made between yourself and the Local Authority.

 

Closing your setting

I have eligible children on roll, must i stay open?

 

  • Whilst as many providers as possible should try to stay open for eligible children, this will not be possible for all-settings. For instance, some settings may have 1 eligible child on roll, other childcare providers may have staffing issues as a result of COVID-19.

 

Unfortunately, we are going to close. What must we do?

  • We appreciate that your ability to provide care may change suddenly over the coming weeks and months. If you are to close, please follow the steps below:
  • Please notify FiND; provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk that you will be closing. Within your email, please inform us of the number of eligible children who are going to need to find alternative care.
  • Ensure parents are notified as soon as possible. An example of a model letter to send to parents in the event of closure was shared previously. We have attached the letter to this briefing note for ease of access. Please adapt the letter as needed but ensure parents are aware that they will need to contact FiND; find@redbridge.gov.uk and include the following details:

ü  Parent/Carer name

ü  Parent/Carer telephone contact number

ü  Child’s name

ü  Child’s date of birth

ü  Which postcode area they would prefer to access childcare

 

Do I need to notify Ofsted that I am going to close?

 

  • At this time, you do not need to notify Ofsted if you are temporarily closing due to COVID-19.

 

If I am not able to provide care to an eligible child and they go to another provider, would they come back to my setting once we reopen?

 

  • Eligible children who are not able to remain within their setting will be offered alternative provision. Our view is that this is a temporary measure and once their setting reopens they will go back
  • If you are closing and the child needs to access an alternative provision, you can continue to claim early years funding for the child in summer term. The only exception is where the parent/carer has confirmed they are leaving the setting on a permanent basis or where your setting is no longer eligible to offer early years entitlements
  • There is a risk that parents may choose to keep their child at the new setting (if there is the space on roll to do so) rather than move them again. We would not be able to intervene in this decision as it is the parent’s choice to do so
  • Please see the additional document ‘Model letter for closing settings’ which gives guidance to parents/carers who need to find alternative care

Support from Redbridge Early Years

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 provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk.

 

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

Bereavement support

Information is available for families on bereavement support. Please visit https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-hub/

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