Covid-19 Early Years Update

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Message from Dan Barton - Assistant Director

dan barton

Dear Colleague,

The end of another week and the end of term is almost upon us. You will note the change in branding at the top of this update to reflect the shift in focus of our planning. Systems leaders from across the education sector are working together to plan for both the summer period and the start of term in September for all children from early years through to post-16. We are mindful of how much a critical part everyone within the early years sector is to this.

I recognise that many of you will continue to operate throughout the summer, providing essential support to families across Cumbria. We will be monitoring developments both locally and nationally and this bulletin will continue on a weekly basis from now on.

As ever, thank you for everything you have done over the past four months - your work and contribution to Cumbria throughout the pandemic has been absolutely incredible.


Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

In this bulletin:

Returning to my childminder, nursery or school

We are aware that many children have spent the last few months at home and that some children in the last few weeks have now started to go back to their school or Early Years setting. We know that the Early Years are a vital time in a child’s learning and development. In order to help parents support their child to get ready to return to their setting or school we will be sending out weekly posts through this briefing and through the CFIS facebook page. Please share these with your families as widely as possible.

The 8 Rs - Early Education

Early Education have published a newsletter which uses various ‘Rs’ for framing ways of helping children to re-enter, reconnect and recover during these difficult times

  • Reconnect
  • Recover
  • Restore
  • Relationship
  • Re-enter
  • Renew
  • Reflect
  • Rethink

You can find the newsletter here EYTeachingNewsJuly2020.pdf

COVID-19 and Educational Settings: Consent to share information

The Public Health team at Cumbria County Council has developed local COVID-19 Outbreak Control arrangements, which covers educational settings.

When there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in an educational setting, Head Teachers and other setting leaders should contact the Cumbria County Council COVID-19 Call Centre with details about the individuals involved. This information is then used to support settings, staff and families with advice, carry out contact tracing if required, and manage possible outbreaks.

Before contacting the call centre, it is important that the parent/carer has given consent for details to be shared. Consent can be requested at the time, but please consider proactively varying/updating your consent arrangements to specifically mention data sharing for the purposes of COVID-19.

If you would like to contact parents specifically in relation to COVID-19 data sharing consent, we suggest using this template.

Test results: It is up to each individual setting to decide whether or not to request written proof of a test result when a child has been tested. Parents and carers are not obliged to disclose this information, but you can ask for it.

If you have any queries, please email

Operation Encompass - sharing data to protect children

Funding extension and new training dates

Operation Encompass is an information sharing initiative between the Cumbria Constabulary and education establishments in Cumbria. Its main aim is to inform designated safeguarding leads (DSL) in education establishments at the earliest opportunity, about their children who have been exposed to domestic abuse and hate crime. This enables the DSL to respond appropriately to the particular situation and ensure rapid safeguarding and support for children. This reduces the risk of cases reaching crisis level before interventions are made.

Cumbria County Council and the Police Crime Commissioner have agreed a joint funding package for Operation Encompass for the next three academic years – September 2020 until July 2023.

Education settings are being asked to:

  • Ensure that there is a nominated DSL or equivalent at your establishment and send contact details of the DSL to:
  • Nominate relevant staff to take part in part on Operation Encompass training sessions in September.


NASEN free Early Years masterclass

nasen EY Masterclass FLYER.pdf 

This free virtual interactive masterclass is aimed at Early Years SENCos working in the PVI sector. It is also open to anybody who cares for young children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including families, Local Authority colleagues and other Early Years professionals.

Discussion will include:

  • Consideration of the increased demands on the Early Years sector in relation to meeting the needs of children with SEND
  • Changes in the confidence of parents/ carers ensuring their child’s needs are met safely returning to their setting
  • Supporting practitioners’ confidence in delivering an inclusive Early Years offer under the changing circumstances
  • On-going challenges returning after lockdown including delay of EHCP process/reviews

To book your place, simply visit:

Summer activities - reminder to inform parents

We have launched our summer holiday activity directories to the public.  We hope the directories will make it easier for parents and carers to find information about available services during the school holidays 2020. We also aim to support childcare and activity providers to publicise their offer to parents and carers as they begin to restart activities. If you are able to include the link on your setting website that would be brilliant.

We would be grateful if you would share the below communication with any parents or carers, and/or share our social media post on your own social media pages.

We will be updating the directories regularly so we would advise anyone who wishes to distribute hard copies to check the website frequently to download and print the latest version.

Please share the message below with parents/carers:

Summer holiday activity directories

To support parents and carers looking for childcare and activities during the school summer holidays 2020, Cumbria County Council and partners have launched an online directory for each district of Cumbria which lists local options for holiday camps, childcare providers and other support services and activities.  

We hope the directory makes it easier for parents and carers to find information about available services. We also aim to support childcare and activity providers to publicise their offer to parents and carers as they begin to restart activities.

You can find the directory for your area at

We will be updating the directories on a regular basis as we receive more information. If you have any listings to add to the directory, please contact

We will also be posting information about events and activities on our Facebook page @ChildrenandFamiliesInformationService throughout the summer holidays.

There is further guidance for parents about attending out of school settings available on the government website at

Early Years SEN Newsletter

The latest SEN newsletter is available below. It contains useful and up to date information to help you support your children with SEND. It is also available on the Early Years website.

Early Years SEN Newsletter - Summer 2020

Marketing during Covid-19

Coronavirus has impacted on every aspect of life and there are many adaptations that we now have to make. With the future still a little unknown we need to try to plan ahead where possible to ensure sustainability in the childcare market.

Marketing is one aspect that we will need to consider managing carefully in this new situation. Below are some things to consider and some ideas as to how you may wish to do this.

Early Years Marketing leaflet July 20.pdf

Early Years Daily Attendance Survey

Please could you ensure that you continue to fill in the data return daily. As the survey was updated recently, please ensure that you use this link and not a previous one. This is of particular importance on a Thursday when we use it to submit our weekly return to the Department for Education