Early Years Update - 16.9.20

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Early Years Attendance Survey – PLEASE ACTION TODAY

We are collecting Early Years Attendance once per week on a Wednesday.

It is vital that all settings that are open complete this data return weekly as we need to submit this information to the Department for Education. It is expected that the DfE will be reviewing collection of data, but for now it is continuing, so if you have children in your setting, we are asking everyone to complete it.

Thank you for your continued assistance with this piece of work.

Attendance Survey

Hands. Face. Space. campaign

Hands. Face. Space

HM Government has launched Hands. Face. Space, a new campaign that urges the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak. The spread of coronavirus, particularly in enclosed spaces is shown in a new film, produced with experts in the field, which highlights the risk in simple, everyday interactions. The campaign will run across TV, radio, print, out of home, social and digital display advertising.

Education Action Card - Early Years

Public Health England have produced several very helpful ‘education action cards’ including one for early years settings Education Action Card - Early Years

It is important to note that in Cumbria our local Public Health team add an extra layer of protection by asking you to inform us via the CCC COVID-19 Call Centre (0800 783 1968) if you have one positive case instead of the two or more on the national resource. You can also call this number if you have queries about suspected cases.

Please see the Cumbria flow chart here and make sure it is kept handy in your setting – Flowchart_ Cumbria - Management of Suspected and Confirmed Cases of COVID19 in Education

Public Health advice - Frequently Asked Questions

This week the Public Health team has been contacted by schools for advice and guidance.Below are answers to some of the most common questions asked. 

Parents and carers are not clear about the rules and this is causing problems.

Public Health colleagues have produced a simple quick guide for parents and carers on what do to in different circumstances related to COVID-19. 

Settings may wish to distribute this guide to parents and carers.

COVID Absence Guide for Parents

How to handle coughs, colds and sneezes?

As is normal, with schools and settings returning we have seen a surge in the prevalence of common colds. 

For clarity, the current guidance is, irrespective of whether it is preceded by common cold symptoms, if a child develops a high temperature or a cough it must be treated as a possible COVID-19 symptom, the child must isolate and get tested.

We recognise this places a burden on settings and guidance may change in future, but as it stands this is the official position.

The NHS provides a more detailed definition for each of the three COVID-19 symptoms, which may be helpful:

  • a high temperature – measured as 37.8°C or above. If you don’t have a thermometer, feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back is a good indicator of a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

What about children who may cough because they have asthma?

Any cough different/worse to what is recognised as ‘expected’ or ‘normal’ in a child’s asthma treatment plan (or based on the family’s knowledge of their condition if there is not a treatment plan) fitting the COVID-19 cough definition (a new, continuous cough, coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours) should be treated as suspected COVID-19, especially if accompanied by a high temperature.

So for asthmatic children:

  • Child develops cough as expected following exposure to triggers (such as damp weather) as detailed in their asthma treatment plan (or based on family’s experience of the condition in their child) and NO other COVID-19 symptoms (such as a temperature) are being experienced: Parents and settings should discuss and agree continued attendance at the setting
  • Child develops a continuous cough without known trigger, or cough is accompanied by other symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or cough/symptoms are ‘different/worse to what is expected’: suspect COVID-19 and ask the child to isolate and get tested.

Must all parents be informed if a child is sent home with symptoms, but has not yet tested positive?

This is the Provider’s decision, but our strong advice is that parents should be informed.

Informing parents promptly helps prevent rumours circulating and tensions being created in the school or setting community.

There are examples where the advice from PHE conflicts with the advice from the Local Authority, who is correct?

Where there is a conflict between PHE guidance and Local Authority guidance, follow the Local Authority guidance.

Local arrangements have been put in place which go further than the standard national approach being taken by PHE. These local arrangements are intended to provide an additional layer of safety and minimise the risk of outbreaks. 

Some staff with children self-isolating at home have not been able to get tests

Only people with symptoms should get tested. If the child is symptomatic and the parents are not, only the child should be tested.

If the child tests negative then self-isolation can end. If the child tests positive then self-isolation continues for the child and their household. Members of the household should still only get tested if they develop symptoms.

What happens if a Childminder’s own child is sent home from a school or setting and required to self isolate?

If a childminder’s own child has to self-isolate because a result comes back positive for a child they have been in close contact with, other children cannot enter the house during the 14 day isolation period. This is because the child is, unfortunately, at high risk of developing COVID-19 because of the contact they have had with a positive case. This would applly to other household members as well.

We understand that this has difficult business implications for Childminding colleagues however, as we move into the Autumn, such situations may be increasingly likely, and we need to respond decisively and quickly in order to minimise the impact on health and the economy in the long term.

Survey for practitioners and managers in PVI settings, school-based providers and childminders


The Department for Education (DfE) are keen to canvass views across a wide range of practitioners and managers regarding workforce issues and continuing professional development (CPD). They would also like to understand the ways in which the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has affected the workforce and what new CPD needs there are as a result. You are being encouraged to complete the survey, kindly hosted by the NDNA, to share your views with DfE. The deadline is 25 September

Update on 30 hours free childcare and Tax-free childcare

Parents and carers who have faced a reduction in income as a direct result of coronavirus (COVID-19) will continue to be treated as meeting the minimum income threshold until 31 October. Critical workers who exceed the maximum income threshold (of £100,000) due to increased income from work undertaken as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, can continue to take up 30 hours free childcare. The DfE have set a new upper threshold of £150,000, which will be effective until the end of the current tax year, on 5 April 2021. DfE strongly encourage all eligible parents to continue applying for, and reconfirming, their 30 hours free childcare ahead of the 31 December deadline, allowing them to be ready for the spring term.

Early Years Professional Development Programme

The Early Years Professional Development Programme (PDP) is a DfE programme of training and professional development for pre-reception early years staff in disadvantaged areas in 51 participating local authorities, selected on the basis of their levels of deprivation and outcomes in the EYFS Profile. Delivered by training partners Education Development Trust (EDT) and Elklan, the programme aims to raise practitioners’ skills in supporting young children’s development in early language, literacy and mathematics. It was launched in summer 2019 and was originally due to complete in July 2021. Due to COVID-19 disruption, DfE have had to delay the final strand of the training of our PDP “Champions” until later this autumn and the wider cascade of the training by the Champions to other practitioners in the 51 participating local authorities until the new year. 

Cumbria is part of this programme and we have two local programmes one in West Cumbria and one in Barrow. Congratulations to the three champions who have started their training and have successfully achieved their Language and Literacy module. These champions are:

Vicky Bell, Roose Nursery, Barrow in Furness

Nicola Haines, Quarry Brow, Barrow in Furness

Catherine Williams, Toddler Town, Workington

They are hoping to complete the remainder of their initial training this term and then cascade it to other practitioners in their areas in the spring term 2020.

Risk Assessments

Settings that are reopening for the first time should ensure they have completed a risk assessment. You may find it useful to use the format below, which is regularly reviewed and updated by the Early Years team in the light of updates to national guidance. This should also be revisited regularly, particularly when there are any changes to provision, such as increasing numbers of children or staff.

Please find the latest version here

Ofsted interim visits to begin

Ofsted will be carrying out a phased return to inspection, starting with an interim period of visits during the autumn term. These visits are not inspections and will not result in an inspection grade. Ofsted intend to resume full inspections in January 2021, and are keeping the exact timing under review.

Updated guidance is available here

Progress check at age 2

Since March there has been no requirement for settings to undertake 2 year old progress checks, although providers should have remained alert to emerging concerns and sought support where necessary. This disapplication ceases on 25th September and providers should once more begin to conduct 2 year old progress checks.