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Update for early years settings April 1

dan barton

Dear All,

A relatively brief and wide-ranging update from me today. The effort of the last couple of weeks has been monumental, and we are increasingly in good shape, ahead of the end of the holidays. Things will not run perfectly smoothly to begin with, but we will work through any issues together.

You will note below the key pieces of work on my agenda now are a greater strategic focus on our most vulnerable young people, and beginning to think about the shape of the future.

On the former of these, we continue to work hard to interpret the guidance from central government together, and to seek reassurance from the DfE throughout the week as to our approach.

As ever, thank you. In the most difficult of circumstances, and without the benefit of hindsight or a road-map, I think that we are doing a brilliant job. Pulling together and solving problems as they arise, to the benefit of all Cumbrian people. Take care, everyone, and stay in touch.


Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Childcare hubs and childminders operating across the county

The Early Years Childcare hubs are up and running and providers are working hard to ensure that the needs of key workers are met. There are also a significant number of childminders operating across the county.

Key workers who still require childcare can make a request for this support on Cumbria County Council’s website by completing the following form online:

Within the Early Years Sector, it is also possible to approach the childcare setting directly.

The council is asking all parents and carers to check government guidelines on who is an essential key worker before submitting an application:

When accessing childcare hubs parents and carers should be mindful of the following guidelines:

  • Please do not to enter if you or family members living with you are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Please do not form any gatherings within the grounds or at the gates
  • Please observe social distancing as  children arrive at the education or childcare setting and reduce any unnecessary travel on coaches, buses or public transport
  • Please use the hand sanitizer before entering or on exit
  • Please wash your child's clothing

Key workers can find further information about childcare on our website at

Vulnerable learners

Over the next week, we will be focusing on government expectations in relation to provision for our vulnerable children by working closely with colleagues from SEND, Social Care and Partner agencies.

We continue to monitor current hub capacity against likely need and will be working with our hubs to co-develop the right solutions at local level. We will need your support and that of our wider services and volunteers to achieve this, with the wellbeing and safeguarding of all, being at the heart of what we do.

Emotional wellbeing and mental health support and advice links

Please find below a list of Emotional Wellbeing (EWB) and Mental Health sources of advice, consultation and support for hub staff, children and their parents and carers. This is a summary.

Most of the general advice for professionals, parents, carers and young people can be found at:



Additional sources of advice and support:

Young Minds: The Young Minds Website has a parents and professionals section as well as advice and moderated blogs for young people and a free telephone.  Parents Helpline Tel: 0808 802 5544.

Rise Above: Health and wellbeing website by Public Health England that covers everything including emotional wellbeing, friendships, self-care; also has games, videos etc. 

5 – 19 School Age Public Health Nurse Practitioner Service: E-school Nurse it is now available for professionals AND parents across the age ranges – however it is about general health needs not just mental health.  See attached for details. 5-19 PH Website – the team are constantly updating with information and ideas on their website.

The link below takes you to a recently published guide for educational settings and schools on sudden traumatic death and bereavement prefaced by a COVID 19 section:

CAMHS Support (North Cumbria): Where CYP are experiencing serious mental health issues (currently as staffing allows). The West Team can be contacted on 01900 603985.  The East Team (includes Carlisle) can be contacted on 01228 608870.

South Cumbria CAMHS (South Lakeland & Barrow): For advice and support please ensure that in the first instance your worries about a child/young person with an escalating mental health difficulty, are discussed with a My Time Primary Mental Health Worker (contact details at the top of page) or a senior Health Practitioner or Social Worker.  They will advise if a referral to Specialist CAMHS is the appropriate next step and support you through that referral process.

Educational Psychology: Educational Psychology consultancy will be available to settings, to discuss children’s needs. The setting should get parental permission, before discussing children’s needs with an educational psychologist. If children and young people are already known to the County Psychological Service (CPS) through SEND Early Help work, we will try to get the psychologist/BEWO who already knows them to offer the advice. Each setting will also have a named educational psychologist (usually the same one who regularly visits that setting);  this psychologist will be able to be consulted about the needs of children not already known to the CPS.  Settings will be contacted at the start of the summer term, with the details of their educational psychologist. A dedicated phone line is also being set up, for settings to request advice about children who have EHCPs; those requests will be looked at by a panel, and the most appropriate professional will be asked to respond.

SAFA Self Harm Awareness for All Support Service: SAFA continues to work with self-harm clients and have moved from face to face counselling to virtual counselling. Office staff are working from home. All counsellors have been trained to deliver the service via on-line support. They are also able to support friends/family members that need support. Until June SAFA will be working across the whole of Cumbria, after then they will switch to working only across South Cumbria.  SAFA can be contacted on 01229 832269 during normal business hours.  Referrals are accepted via their website at

A reminder to complete our data collection form

It is essential that we monitor demand for childcare on a daily basis. Please ensure you continue complete our attendance data form each day and return to Cumbria County Council:

Early Years Data Collection Form