Early Years Update - 30.9.20

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dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Another week goes by in a whirlwind and I know you and your teams are all working hard to stay standing. 

Unfortunately, as we all know, the road ahead looks rocky. At the moment Cumbria as a whole has a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases, unlike neighbouring areas in the north west and north east. Multi-agency partners in the county are working hard to keep it that way, and this will continue to be challenging. We all need to have a plan for how to manage if the situation deteriorates therefore.

We have seen more educational settings affected by COVID-19 this week, with some settings now dealing with small outbreaks with the support of the Outbreak Control Team. This will be the norm and it is good to see schools and settings responding calmly and effectively to these situations, that's not easy I know.

As ever, thank you for your hard work, dedication and skill.


Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

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

Risk assessments and the rise in Covid-19 cases

With the local and national rates of Covid-19 rising, it is more important than ever that your setting has an up to date Risk Assessment, which all staff understand and follow. The Early Years team have updated the Risk Assessment document to incorporate the latest government and Public Health guidance. The revised document can be found here

In addition all staff must know what to do should a child or member of staff display symptoms or have a positive test result.  Cumbria County Council's Public Health team have developed a flowchart to explain the steps to take. The flowchart can be found here 

QR Codes

Following advice from Cumbria Public Health a nursery setting or childminder does not need to display a QR code in their provision. This is because as a nursery setting or as a childminder there is already in place a database of details for children and parent/s who attend/access the provision. The QR codes are for those communal areas that are accessed by the public.

Job Support Scheme announced

A new scheme has been announced which will replace the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme when it closes at the end of October.

The new Job Support Scheme is intended to help protect 'viable jobs' in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months as a result of the pandemic, by topping up the wages of employees working fewer hours than normal.

Under the scheme, eligable employees will be paid for two-thirds of any hours that they are not able to work, split evenly between the government and their employer. This means that employees will receive at least 77% of their normal pay under the scheme.

The scheme launches on 1 November and will run for six months. To be eligible, employees must be working at least 33% of their normal hours and the level of government grant available will be capped at £697.92 a month. For more information please see the factsheet :Job Support Scheme factsheet 

Extension of Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The extension will provide two grants and willl last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum installments, each covering a three month period. More information is available here: Self-employment income support scheme extension

EYFS disapplications

Just a reminder that the disapplications to the EYFS due to COVID-19 came to an end last week (25th September). New regulations that came into force on 26 September 2020 will allow temporary changes to be reapplied if coronavirus (COVID-19) related local lockdowns are imposed by government. We will aim to highlight changes but please, as ever, continue to read the latest guidance for any updates:

Useful links

Children's Commissioner's report

The Children's Commissioner, Ann Longfield has published a new report called ‘Childhood in the time of COVID’ which contains recommendations around the importance of early years and joined up, multi-agency support. The report can be found here: Children's Commissioner's report

Barrow COVID-19 restrictions - update

The revised public health guidance for the Barrow Borough Council area announced last week remains in place - this includes restriction of non-essential visitors to schools and settings.

It will be formally reviewed by the Health Protection Board this week.

Supporting community awareness

To support increased community awareness of the strong advice that outside of settings groups of six should include people from no more than two households, please could affected settings print and display this poster where parents and carers can see it.


Barrow poster