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Update for early years settings April 2

dan barton

Dear All,

With so much changing in our working environment daily we are striving to keep you up-to-date with the latest guidance and advice for your settings. With this in mind I would urge you to look at the latest Government guidance included in today's update. 

Thanks as always to all of you who are working directly in one of our hubs and as childminders, and those working 'behind the scenes' to ensure our children and young people are being so well cared for.

I finish with a reminder that in these difficult times you also need to take care of yourselves.  


Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Government guidance for Early Years and Childcare Sector

Yesterday evening (April 1) the Department for Education released a guidance note titled ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): Early Years & Childcare Closures’ this covers lots of frequently asked questions, on the following areas:

  • The Roles and Responsibilities of the Early Years & Childcare Sector
  • Settings staying open for Children of Key Workers & Vulnerable children
  • The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – including ratios, the EYFS profile, DBS & First Aid requirements during this period
  • Funding and business support available
  • Food
  • Ofsted
  • Childminders
  • Holidays – both holiday care & annual leave of staff

The guidance clarified that settings would be able to access funding to furlough staff as well as claiming their Free Entitlement funding via local authorities: “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. Settings can access this scheme while continuing to be paid the early entitlements funding via local authorities.”

The document can be accessed here.

The Government have also recently produced further guidance regarding furloughed staff, clarifying that staff can be placed on furlough more than once, and one period can follow straight after an existing furlough period, whilst the scheme remains open. Each furlough needs to be for a minimum of three weeks. This updated guidance can be found here.

HSE issue extension for First Aid at Work qualifications

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a statement regarding any First Aid at Work qualifications that were due to expire after 16 March. 

If you hold a first aid certificate that expires on or after 16 March  and cannot access requalification training because of Coronavirus you may qualify for a three month extension.

To qualify for the extension, you must be able to explain why you haven’t been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so.

Legionella risk reduction

Given the extended closure period and significantly reduced occupancy in premises, in line with advice from the Legionella Control Association and our Water Hygiene contractor IWS, our council's Property Team are strongly advising all schools to carry out weekly flushing of your school water systems to reduce the risk of Legionella.

Many of you will flush through lesser-used outlets within your schools in line with your Legionella Risk assessments however due to this forced change of building use (school closures) these additional steps must be undertaken to maintain compliance and avoid the need to decommission/ recommission your water systems.

In addition to your existing procedures, all outlets (hot and cold taps as well as shower heads) should be run for five minutes each and a record of this action should be made for each outlet and added to your water hygiene log book. This record should include when this was carried out and by whom. An example template flushing record document has been provided to assist you.

For further advice on this process please contact CCC Property Team - Darren Leech or Sandy Sanderson or CCC H&S Team

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