COVID-19 Early Years Update 22 July 2020

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In today's updates:

Summer activities - reminder to inform parents and carers

This is a reminder that 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 website link with any parents or carers, and/or share 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.

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 are sending out weekly posts through this briefing and through the CFIS Facebook page. Please share the first of these with your families as widely as possible –Returning to my setting - Friendship wc 20.7.20.pdf

Early Years Funding

The Government have published updated guidance on funding for Early Years settings from the start of the Autumn 2020 term.  In the Autumn 2020 we expect the demand for childcare to increase however, due to COVID19, the number of children attending childcare may not return to normal pre-COVID19 levels.  We encourage all providers to open to deliver childcare places for all children who need it, and to deliver entitlements places, unless they have been advised to close, or left with no option but to close, due to public health reasons.

From the start of the Autumn 2020 term the Council will fund Early Years settings (PVIs and schools) that are open or closed due to public health reasons, however, the Council will not fund Early years settings that are closed without public health reason. Further details about the funding allocations for Autumn 2020 will be issued by the Early Years team in due course.

From the start of the Spring 2021 term the Council expects to return to the normal funding approach with ‘funding following the child’ however this will be kept under review and will be subject to further guidance being issued by Government in autumn.

Children’s Commissioner Report

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has published a report looking at the provision of early years services for children across the country, alongside a warning that many nurseries are at risk of closure, hitting the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children and holding back the economic recovery following lockdown.

The report ‘Best Beginnings’ read the report here describes a system that is disjointed and often failing to target those disadvantaged children with development problems who most need early help.

It comes amid a recent warning from childcare providers that one in four nurseries and pre-schools fear closure within the year, rising to one in three in the most disadvantaged areas, as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

For further information, please see the Children’s Commissioner website

NASEN SEND partnership support

Cumbria is working closely with NASEN to support inclusive practice in the early years – more information and updates to follow in the Autumn Term. In the meanwhile, you may wish to look at their website as they are making available some free webinars to support transition. There are also some training opportunities and resources such as their miniguides to support SEND practice

Operation Encompass: email address correction

Please note the correct email address for the Operation Encompass team is:

Apologies for the confusion.



Early Help Update

The Early Help Assessment has been refreshed, taking into consideration Sign of Safety to be used from September 1st 2020.

Please keep an eye on the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP) briefings for further updates on the Early Help Assessment and Training.  


Early Help Assessment RAG Rating - Thank you for all the Early Help RAG rating information we have received to date.  It is important that we continue to have updates on the Early Help Assessments that your agency coordinates. If you have not been able to do this previously can we ask that you look at all the Early Help Assessments you are coordinating.  Can you RAG rate them using the table and guidance we have provided here

If you have previously returned EHA Rag rating can you update the information returned to us with :

  • Are the worries the same? Please add or remove any changes
  • Does your RAG rating need to change? If so please change
  • Are there any new Early Help Assessments opened – update on table with a RAG rating using the guidance we have provided
  • Have any of the Early Help assessments closed?

All information needs to be completed and returned to the Early Help Mailbox by Friday 31st July 2020

To support you with this we have:

  • Developed a table and guidance 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


Transitions - it is important that information is shared where children have a transition.  Now is the time to be confirming and completing any change of coordination for transition reasons, including nursery to primary, primary to secondary and secondary to post 16 education.  

It is the responsibility of the current EH coordinator to complete the Change of coordinator form with the details of the new coordinator to ensure that all EHA coordinator details are current, correct and in place for the start of the new academic year.

All Early Help forms and guidance including the Early Help On-line Registration, Change of Coordinator and Closure forms can be found on the Early Help pages on the CSCP website here

To support you with information sharing the CSCP have developed a Quick Guide to information sharing which can be found here

Please contact the Early Help Team if you need any advice, guidance or have any questions or queries regarding Early Help support.  Their details are:

Allerdale and Copeland - Early Help Officer 

Karen Ross 07885 405708

Barrow and South Lakes - Early Help Officer 

Maggie Williams 07768 753541

Carlisle and Eden - Early Help Officer

Steve Kemp 07557 210979

Early Help Officer

Rosamund Rowcroft 07920 29612

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