COVID-19: EARLY YEARS UPDATE - 11 May

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Update for early years settings - 11 May

dan barton

Dear All

I write to you all following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening in relation to the initial sketching out of the roadmap to relaxing the Covid lockdown.

Whilst there are caveats expressed in the PM’s comments, the date of 1st of June was mentioned as the earliest possible date that schools may open, subject to a number of key factors (rate of infection, daily death rate, availability of PPE etc.).

It was very clear that the government rightly wishes to secure a gradual reboot of the economy, but it was equally clear that the reopening of schools would not happen until there was evidence that it is safe and appropriate.

Notwithstanding the half term break, it would seem that the three week lead-in time specified by various professional associations has been taken into account. One of our tasks over the next few weeks will be to build on the work of the Education Tactical Co-ordination Group and the Children’s Partnership, focusing on planning for the date at which schools do reopen – we are fortunate to have begun our thinking about this several weeks ago, and will work to a rolling three week lead-in.

Clearly between now and when schools and early years providers do reopen we must continue our work to ensure vulnerable children are supported and I recognise that the demands of planning for reopening will sit alongside the ongoing demands of operating our hub schools. I know this will be a very significant task and we are here to support you.

I will remind you all that implementing government guidance, and finding a direction of travel which works for Cumbria is what we have been doing together, very successfully, since the beginning of the epidemic, and I do not doubt that we have it within our compass to continue to do so.

Professionals representing the different phases of education in Cumbria are meeting in conversation today to continue the work which we have already begun, and developing the Cumbrian response to this most recent advice. Please be reassured that, by working together in this way, we will develop a response which will implement the guidance when it comes out, but which keeps people safe.

Best wishes,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills
Cumbria County Council



Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years Pledge

The Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years Pledge includes a commitment to supporting children’s emotional wellbeing as one of its main aims – we know that this will become more important than ever as we live through these difficult times.

We are very pleased to let you know that six early years settings across Cumbria have recently achieved the Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years pledge:

  • Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School - Carlisle
  • Hayton C of E school - Brampton
  • The Manor Pre-school - Carlisle
  • Roose Nursery- Barrow
  • Churchwalk Pre-school Nursery - Ulverston
  • Little Jems Nursery - Carlisle

The panel were very impressed with the quality of the applications and the evidence submitted which demonstrated the excellent work being done to help children to stay happy and healthy. We are looking forward to awarding the settings their certificates and to invite them to share more of their achievements soon.

Please don’t forget that there is a wealth of information on the Healthy Families Cumbria website  and lots of good ideas are shared via the Facebook page.

The next submission date for applications will be in the Autumn Term, please email HFCPledge@cumbria.gov.uk with any queries about how your setting could sign up to the Pledge.


Post Covid-19 reopening of provision

We recognise that when the time is right following government guidelines, the re-opening of your setting may be a daunting and challenging time for your children, families and staff. We would like to reassure you the Early Years Team are here to offer support and we have prepared for you a recovery opening audit/checklist that you may find useful as you plan the way forward. This will be shared via email.

When you open please can you let one of your district Early Years Advisers know so that we can ensure Children and Families Information Service (CFIS) and finance have been informed. An allocated setting adviser will contact you to discuss the audit/checklist and to see if there is any support you may require in the coming weeks including business advice and guidance. As children begin to return to your setting when appropriate please make contact with the Area SENCO for any children with SEND. On opening we will forward a Welcome Back pack to you that the team have been working on with guidance, top tips and suggestions that you may find useful to support you over the upcoming period of time.


Transition to school

Transition tools have been developed that you may wish to use in to support the children in your setting who will be transferring to school in September. These documents are accessible on the Early Years website.


Resources for young children

There are so many good ideas and free resources being shared for children and families online. Here are two that we particularly like - a squishy soap recipe which will help even the most reluctant hand washer to want to wash their hands and a free book to help small children to understand the current situation called Don’t Worry Little Bear.


Archive of early years bulletins on our website

Past editions of this Early Years bulletin are archived and available on the Education Tactical Co-ordination Group website.


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