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Update for early years settings - 3 June

dan barton

Dear All,

As ever, I’ll begin by thanking you all for the marvellous work that continues in Cumbrian Early Years Settings, due to you and your teams. On behalf of all the residents of the county, we are hugely grateful.

Thanks again,

Dan Barton
Assistant Director - Education & Skills
Cumbria County Council 

Early Years providers reopening from June 2020

Thank you to everyone who have told us about their plans following the Government announcement to allow all Early Years children to access Early Years provision from the 1 June 2020.

Please could those of you who have not already done so, please complete our survey to tell us when you plan to reopen or if your plans have changed, to update us?

The information you provide will aid us to support families looking for childcare and to enable us to report to the DfE and council members about what is happening in Cumbria.

Welcome back – support document  

Many children have been away from their Early Years settings for a significant amount of time.  To help settings and schools to plan for their return (or start a new setting or school) and to make the transition process easier for children, you may find this document helpful to support conversations with parents and carers.

Early Years checklist and risk assessment for PVI providers

In the light of further guidance released both nationally and locally, further updates have been made to the risk assessment by the Early Years team. Due to the fast moving pace of announcements, we expect to update the document frequently; we will aim to send the latest version out to you, through this bulletin every Wednesday. Please ensure you are using the latest version at all times.

Latest guidance – updates

The following guidance documents have been updated this week:

‘Actions for Early Years and Childcare Providers during the Coronavirus outbreak’  (2 June) 

‘Early Years Foundation Stage: coronavirus disapplications’ (1 June) 

Please also ensure that you are up to date with the Ofsted rolling update document as there have been further updates around regulatory activity (1 June) Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update.

Additional updates from the Department for Education

In addition to the above updates, the DfE have answered questions posed by the sector directly as follows (we expect the guidance to be updated further as a result):

Many childcare providers have been in touch with concerns about the guidance for after-school clubs and wraparound care. The Local Government Association has been in touch with DfE colleagues, who have confirmed that the information provided at the following website is correct:

The Early Years Alliance have obtained the following information for early years settings:

Outdoor trips update

The Department for Education has confirmed that early years providers are permitted to take children on trips to outdoor public spaces, such as parks, during the coronavirus outbreak.

"Settings should maximise use of private outdoor space, while keeping small groups of children and staff away from other groups. 

“Childminders and early years providers may take small groups of children to outdoor public spaces, for example parks, provided that a risk assessment demonstrates that they can stay 2m away from other people at all times. 

“This should be restricted to small groups and should be done in line with wider government guidelines on the number of people who can meet in outdoor public places. Providers should not take larger groups of children to public outdoor spaces at one time.”

Settings operating from church and community halls

The Department for Education has also confirmed that early years settings operating from church and community buildings are able to reopen. 

The DfE told the Alliance: "As of Monday 1 June, community centres, and places of worship, will be allowed to open for providers on the Early Years Register which usually use those premises to deliver formal childcare – the relevant regulations are being amended to clarify this position”.

Please note that this does not apply to after school clubs or wrap around care providers wishing to operate from community venues.

Home learning

The Department for Education have produced further guidance on how parents and carers can support children aged 2 to 4 years with home learning.

Daily activities for families and young children to do together continue to be posted on the Children and Families Information Service Facebook page by the Early Years Team.

Changes to SEND legislation update

Colleagues will be aware of recent government announcements regarding SEND legislation. This is to clarify the implications of these changes. 

The changes are:

  1. A change to the statutory duty to secure special educational provision. This is modified to a duty to use reasonable endeavours to do so.
  2. A change in adhering to the statutory timescale for assessments and plans. Where it is not reasonably practicable to meet that time limit for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus, the specific time limit will not apply - process must be completed as soon as reasonably practicable.

These are the only changes: all other SEND laws remain the same.

In determining how to meet the new duty on securing provision the LA should consider:

  • the specific local circumstances, e.g. workforce capacity and skills and that of others whose input is needed; temporary closures of education settings; guidance on measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus;
  • the needs of and specific circumstances affecting the child or young person; and
  • the views of the child, young person and their parents over what provision might be appropriate.

In practice, what this means, is that settings need to continue to support children and young people by maintaining contact with them and identifying what provision they can make for them. The provision needs to be recorded in the form attached. This must be individual – one for each child or young person with an EHC plan

Annual reviews

The requirements remain the same:

  • Settings should endeavour to offer the opportunity for a review meeting to take place. EHC plan co-ordinators can assist with this. Annual review meetings will need to be held virtually and settings will have their preferred method for this but may ask the LA for advice and support if needed.
  • It is important that they continue to ensure that the child or young person is at the centre of the process and can engage with the process in a meaningful way.
  • Even if the family choose not to engage in a review meeting, the review should be completed by the professionals wherever possible.

Naming a placement

  • The expectation that early years settings, schools, and colleges have up to 15 days to respond to a proposal to name their institution in an EHC plan remains in place, and settings should be able to engage effectively in this aspect of the process.
  • Where the setting expects a possible delay in responding, it needs to contact the LA as soon as possible to discuss.

If you have any queries about the form please contact our SEND helpline on 03330150816 (open from 10am to 12 Monday to Friday).

What can staff do to support their own wellbeing and resilience during Covid-19?

For all of us, wellbeing is a fluctuating state and it is normal for our wellbeing to go up and down in response to what is happening around us, and our own internal growth and development. The good news is that we can learn the skills and develop our resources to become better equipped to meet life’s challenges and to improve our wellbeing.

Purple Bee have produced some excellent materials, resources and downloadable documents to help to support staff wellbeing. You can find these resources in the Wellbeing Matters collection, which include:

  • The Wellbeing Wins Toolkit - Simple things that staff can do to support their own wellbeing and resilience. It includes sections on sleep, nutrition, movement, environment and resilience.
  • 12 Top Tips Poster – Supporting the wellbeing of your EY team
  • 12 Vital Signs Your Early Years Setting is fostering Wellbeing Poster
  • Mental Health in the Workplace interactive poster
  • Webinar: Connecting Childcare – The practicalities of reopening your nursery
  • Podcast: Wellbeing in the Early Years

Once registered the materials are available free here.

Supporting team wellbeing is an important element of working towards the Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years Pledge .

Reminder to complete our Daily Attendance data collection form

If you are a PVI early years provider, please complete the new survey using the following link before 11am each day:


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.