Early Years Update - 23.09.20

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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

*IMPORTANT* Restriction of non-essential visitors to Barrow setting

It was announced last week that Colin Cox, Director of Public Health is strongly advising people in Barrow take additional steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This included the recommendation for all non-essential visits to schools and early years settings to be paused. The following FAQs provide further detail:

Which settings is this advice relevant for?

The advice to stop non-essential visits to schools applies to any school or setting in the geographical area covered by Barrow Borough Council Local Authority.

When do settings need to stop non-essential visits?

The public health team are asking for schools and settings to pause non-essential visits from Monday 21st September. Early Years settings affected were emailed about this last week.

How long will we need to stop non-essential visits for?

Initially schools and settings are being asked to stop non-essential visits for a period of two weeks (so until Sunday 4th October). The advice from public health will be reviewed at this time.

What does ‘non-essential’ mean?

Broadly it is at the discretion of Managers to determine what is and isn’t non-essential visiting for their setting.

Are there any types of visits that are exempt (i.e. classed as ‘essential’)?

There are three types of visits that are specifically deemed to be essential and therefore exempt from the advice:

  • Visits for safeguarding purposes
  • Visits by immunisation teams to carry out flu vaccines
  • Essential maintenance work

Who should we contact if we have further queries?

Email EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk This account is monitored Monday-Friday 9am – 5pm.

Fire Safety

Fire Drills for early years children during the Pandemic

The National Guidance states that educational settings should undertake their fire drills as normal.  The LA agrees that ideally this is the approach to be followed with drills taking place at least once per school term. However, it is accepted that during the current pandemic there may be instances where a fire drill involving the entire school may result in the school’s planned COVID control measures being compromised, e.g. separate pupil groups (bubbles) coming briefly into contact. In such instances it is recommended that an alternative approach is taken.

Where the educational setting is for early years children it is likely that the emergency evacuation plan is reliant on staff taking direct responsibility for shepherding, or physically moving, the children out of the building to the designated fire assembly point, i.e. without staff intervention the children will not evacuate.

In such instances it may be more appropriate for the fire drill to take the form of familiarisation training for supervisory staff.  This could be achieved by staff undertaking a ‘walk-through’ of the fire procedure to ensure they are familiar with the nearest fire exit (the one they are most likely to use) and also the next closest alternative escape route. The ‘walk-through’ should include the simulated use of any evacuation equipment that may be required in an emergency.

If the school/nursery also accommodates slightly older children who are capable of self-evacuating then it is recommended that they are included in the familiarisation training.

In line with normal practice any drill (whether full or conducted partially) should be clearly logged in the settings Fire Safety Log Book.

It must be emphasised that the mitigating approach above is only necessary where there is a distinct possibility that the COVID control measures will be compromised for the purposes of a fire drill. In case of a genuine fire the fire evacuation procedure will take precedence over any COVID control measures; the priority is to ensure that all occupants have left the building and reached the fire assembly point.

Settings should continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Resource Pack available here in relation to the management of any suspected/confirmed cases. 

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term – translated version

This guidance for parents and carers is now available in several different languages which can be found here.

SEND reminder

Please remember to arrange a transition meeting and handover all relevant documents if children with an active Early Help Assessment have transferred from your setting to school or another setting,. You also need to fill in the online Early Help Change of Coordinator Form which can be found on the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP) website.

EHCP assessments – changes to timescales to end this week

The temporary changes to the law on the timescales for EHC needs assessments and plans, which give local authorities and others who contribute to the relevant processes more flexibility in responding to the demands placed on them by coronavirus (COVID-19), will expire as planned on 25 September 2020. Further information on the temporary changes to the law on EHC needs assessment and plan processes is available at changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus (COVID-19).


Supporting your staff wellbeing

Please find below two documents which managers might find useful as reminders of how to support their staff's wellbeing during this busy time.

Supporting your staff wellbeing-managers

Your wellbeing checklist-all staff including managers


‘Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ was updated on 22nd September. There are a number of updates so please ensure that you are familiar with the latest guidance.

Risk Assessment for PVI providers and childminders

The checklist and risk assessment for PVI providers and childminders has been updated on 23/09/2020 to reflect the changes made in the DFE  Guidance  Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Updated 22 September 2020. The checklist and risk assessment can be accessed on the Early Years Website and through the following link.

Risk Assessment for PVI providers and childminders 

CPD opportunities

Early Education are offering a programme of online Autumn 2020 webinars focus on topics around several key strands, including: recovery, leadership, diversity and anti-racism and the implications of the EYFS reforms - https://www.early-education.org.uk/webinars