COVID-19: EARLY YEARS UPDATE - 29 April

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Update for early years settings - 29 April


Early Years Funding – new guidance published

Yesterday evening the DfE published guidance explaining how flexibility around Free Entitlement funding during Coronavirus will work in practice. The guidance is primarily for local authorities but early years providers will also find it useful. It includes the following:

  • details about the early years DSG funding flexibility available to local authorities during coronavirus (COVID-19) to support them in securing sufficient childcare for children who need it
  • guiding principles for Local Authorities when deciding whether to use this funding flexibility, including consideration of local sufficiency, long-term provider sustainability and only redirecting funding from settings which are closed
  • a description of the cohorts of children for whom local authorities can continue to fund places under the free early education entitlements
  • how the early years DSG funding flexibility works alongside the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • an update on powers under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to require early years settings to open or reopen

We would like to stress our commitment remains to work in full partnership with all colleagues within the early years sector with regards to securing sufficient childcare across the county, both now and in the longer term.


Vulnerable children

The Executive Director of People, John Readman and the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Cllr Sue Sanderson wish to pass on the following message to colleagues in the Education Sector:

“It has been humbling to recognise how everyone has been concerned about vulnerable children and are working especially hard to ensure their needs are met.  For all of us these massive disruptions will affect us in many ways but equally I know all of us can say we did our best. Thank you.”

The Learning Improvement Service and Social Care Teams are working together to implement a process for placing early years children in childcare settings and the Transport process map if this is required. Please familiarise yourself with these documents to help you to support vulnerable children, and please contact the Early Years Team Manager in your area if you require any further support.


Early Years Foundation Stage

Temporary disapplications to the EYFS are now in place to support settings which are remaining open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. The detailed guidance is available here.

Early Years Alliance have provided a very helpful summary of the main changes here.


Information for families with English as an Additional Language

The British Red Cross and Doctors of the World have produced information about Coronavirus in a wide range of languages for you to download here as required.


Free access to Early Education Journals – ends tomorrow

Early Education have made the last four years of their Journals available to download for free during April. If you wish to download any for reading as CPD, please do have a look at what is available here before this offer ends tomorrow.


Early Help Covid-19 RAG Rating – a message for the Early Help team

During this challenging time we would like to remind you that the Early Help Team are still working to support Children and Families through the Early Help Process.

We value the work you as Co-ordinators and supporting agencies are putting in and the efforts to work more creatively with families to the challenges faced. As an Early Help Team we have been considering how the Early Help processes can be adapted to meet the current needs.

To support you to do this we have:

  • Issued guidance on holding virtual Team Around the Family meetings - here
  • Issued guidance on virtual Early Help and Family Support Panels - here
  • Identified named Early Help Officers allocated as a point of contact to all Education Hubs - here 

The Early Help Team have requested you to look at your registered Early Help Assessments through the CSCP 5 Minute Briefing and to send us information on those families who you were most worried about. Thank you to those that have already returned this information for April.

Moving forward to gain a true picture of Early Help Assessments across the county please look at all registered Early Help Assessments that you are coordinating, RAG rate them using the table below. The Early Help Assessment action plans need to be revisited on a monthly basis. Scale your worries on a Red/ Amber/ Green basis depending on the support provided by the Team around the Family.

We will send you notification for the month of May return.

  • Developed a table and guidance to be sent out monthly for you to complete. The table and guidance can be found here
  • Please complete this information where you are the Early Help Co-ordinator and return to the Early Help Mailbox early.help@cumbria.gov.uk

If you need any advice or guidance please contact one of the local Early Help Officers. 

  • Maggie Williams - 07768 753541
  • Rosamund Rowecroft - 07920 296122
  • Karen Ross - 07885 405708
  • Steph Smithson - 07812 972905
  • Steve Kemp - 07557 210979

The Early Help Assessment Covid-19 RAG Guidance and template can also be found on the CSCP website.


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