Early Years Update - 04.11.2020

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In today's update:

The news about a second national lockdown has been very unsettling for everyone. At the time of this bulletin being released, there are a lot of questions still to be answered which only increases the feelings of uncertainty. One message, however, that has been very clear is that early years settings are being asked to stay open, along with schools and universities. Thank you for everything that you are doing for the youngest children in Cumbria and their families, at this incredibly challenging time. Words are inadequate to express the importance of the work that you are doing to provide your children with a safe place to be for their learning, development, nutrition and socialisation.

We have provided some useful links below including a section on looking after your mental health, as well as that of your team.

Early Years Attendance Survey – Please action today

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

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

It is important that all providers complete this data return weekly as we are required to submit the information to the Department for Education.

Attendance Survey

Updated Guidance

As the latest lockdown requirements are currently going through Parliament, it is expected that various key documents will be updated over the next few days. Here are some of the current links which you may wish to keep a close eye on for further updates:

New national restrictions from 5th November (updated 31st October)

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (updated 3rd November)

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term (updated 29th October)

During the lockdown period, where early years settings are unable to deliver early years foundation stage (EYFS) requirements in full due to national lockdown restrictions, settings can disapply some of the requirements of the EYFS statutory framework as per the Department for Education's (DfE) guidance. (last updated 7th October)

The Early Years Alliance are frequently updating a list of FAQs here -

What financial support is there for early years providers?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended for the full duration of the national lockdown with furloughed staff to be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.    

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: The government has not yet confirmed any changes to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Continuation of early entitlement funding: The DfE had previously stated that it had expected to return to the normal process for early years funding in January 2021 (i.e. funding based on current child numbers), but that it would "keep this under review and confirm the approach in further guidance in the autumn", so we are awaiting further guidance on this.

The NDNA are providing up to date financial information here -

Looking after your mental health

Try to stay connected – following the new announcement on lockdown, the way we are able to connect to others is changing once again. The Mental Health Foundation are a good source of online advice on important topics such as stress management, and keeping active 

At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family, by telephone, email or social media, or remember that you can contact a helpline for emotional support. There is always someone to speak with when you are struggling.

Mind have produced some guides on Food and Mood  and Nature Helping Wellbeing.   Even though the daylight hours are shorter now, it is vital that we all find ways of being outdoors and connecting with nature in other ways such as, for example, growing plants indoors.

Reducing social isolation

When the anticipated lockdown restrictions are reintroduced tomorrow, it is likely that many families with young children will be at risk of increased isolation. Please keep an eye on parents and carers who may feel isolated and remind them that this time they CAN meet up with a friend outdoors. See the question below (from BBC News):

I have a small baby (under six months), can I meet up for a socially distanced buggy walk in a park with a friend?

Yes you can. During England’s temporary lockdown, you can only meet with one other person from outside your household or bubble, and then only at an outdoor public place such as a beach, park, public garden, allotment, playground or in the countryside.

But children under school age are not counted in the total. So meeting your friend for a walk with your baby is fine. But you should not meet indoors or in a private garden.

Local sources of support for families

The Perinatal Mental Health Service supports families expecting a baby and up to the age of one year when there are mental health concerns.

The 0 – 19 Child and Family Support Service is working with families at an early level of need. Most activities are currently taking place online but priority appointments are likely to continue face to face. If you are concerned about a child or family, please consider contacting them to discuss the support that they can offer.




Telephone number


Family Action


07815 687287


Family Action


01229 821855


Family Action


07734 003789


Family Action


01946 64600




01768 899901

South Lakes

Action for Children


01539 734456

Healthy picnic

Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years Pledge


We are delighted to share that, following a recent panel meeting, three more early years settings have achieved the Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years pledge:

  • Crosby On Eden C of E Primary School
  • Grasslot Infant School
  • High Hesket C of E Primary School 
  • We are continuing to engage with settings through the Facebook page and website  and are looking forward to hosting network meetings at the start of December – please look out for your invitation soon.

Top tips for 3-4 year olds

‘Intent, Implementation, Impact – a practical guide to a quality curriculum for 3-4 year olds’.  The Early Years team have developed this guide to help settings to determine the detail of what they want their children to learn and how this learning will be supported, using the staff’s knowledge of the interests and abilities of their individual children, as well as being influenced by the ethos of the setting.

You can access this here or on the Cumbria Early Years website. The website also hosts a large selection of other useful guidance and resources for providers.

What Can I do today?... update

We are pleased to let you know that a full booklet of our ‘What Can I do today?’ activities is now available on our website.  These are the activities that we shared via the CFIS Facebook page up until the end of June.

Read the booklet here

We are still sharing ‘What can I do today?’ activities via the CFIS Facebook page every day, including Saturdays and Sundays.  These are based on a theme for each week and over the course of the week we aim to cover activities suitable for the whole early years age range.  All activities are no cost/ low cost using items commonly available or found in the home.  We would really appreciate it if you could continue to promote and share these activities for your parents/carers via your own social media platforms.