Early Years Update 05/01/2021

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For attention of PVI Early Years Settings

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

First and foremost I wish to extend my thanks to all of you, and your team members for everything that you continue to do during these challenging times, particularly as we face another period of lockdown. We are acutely aware that the PVI Early Years sector has not been referenced in recent national discussions which have centred around the re-opening of schools. As a consequence, I would like to extend my apology to you that, as a sector, you have not been included in our county communications with the Department for Education over the weekend and I recognise that this has caused much anxiety.

Following the Prime Minister’s briefing on Monday, the national policy for early years and childcare settings during the lockdown period is that you remain fully open.

As Early Years Setting Managers, you have key decisions to make in managing your provision. I would like to share with you the following commitments that we are making in Cumbria to support you this term:

Free Entitlement Funding

Following the lockdown announcement by the government on Monday 4th January 2021.  Where settings are unable to open for Public Health reasons or for other reasons beyond their control, such as where a setting is on a school site that is closed, the County Council has committed to continue funding the setting for its free places as if it were open.

Where parents are choosing not to send their children to early years providers due to their concerns about Covid19 transmission, Cumbria will continue to fund their place and they should be included in your funding claim.

If parents are seeking childcare from you because their existing provider is closed, we will fund Free Entitlements Funding for Key Worker children and Vulnerable children, please click HERE for criteria.

Settings that choose to close without a Public Health reason will not be funded as closure of settings in these circumstances goes against current government guidance.

We are seeking clarification from the Department for Education on free entitlement funding following the lockdown announcement, as previously on 17 December 2020 DfE announced that the funding provided to local authorities to pass on to early years providers would be based on the January 2021 census for the spring term.

Risk Assessments and management of confirmed cases

Cumbria County Council have a Public Health Consultant led Education Outbreak Control Team that meets daily Mon – Fri. The Education Outbreak Control Team (EOCT) will gather information in order to make a judgment on the COVID-19 outbreak status of any educational setting within Cumbria notified to us. The team will agree the support the Provider needs to enable an outbreak to be brought under control and will monitor every outbreak in order to reduce the risk of further transmission of the virus.

We have developed the resource pack for Early Years settings with help and guidance should you have a suspected or confirmed positive case in your setting. If you haven’t received this please email educationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk or your early years adviser.

This IPC email address can also be used for questions and queries that you may have regarding your setting. It is likely that Risk Assessments will need to be updated in the light of the new variant of the virus, due to its increased transmissibility.

In addition to this the Public Health team are planning on getting in touch with all Early Years providers as way of an introduction to the support we can offer and to support you to be planned and prepared should you need to implement Infection Prevention measures at short notice.

Please be aware that guidance relating to COVID19 restrictions is currently fast moving and the situation may change.  We will continue to update early years settings as and when we have further information regarding funding, educational and Public Health matters.

Officers from the County Council including the Early Years team, Health and Safety and Public Health remain on hand to support throughout the coming weeks.

Finally, as ever, can I thank you all for your continued commitment and collaboration at this tremendously difficult time. 


Dan Barton Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Early Years Fortnightly Attendance Survey – Please action on Wednesday

Early Years Attendance is due: Wednesday 6th January 2021.

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

We would like to thank you for your continued assistance with this piece of work.

Attendance Survey

Updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) guidance

Updated CJRS guidance is to come into effect from 1st January.  The new guidance can be found here.  The revised guidance means that providers who have seen a reduction in their free early education entitlements funding (due to lower attendance) can increase their CJRS claim, so long as staff affected were on payroll on or before 30th October, and providers continue to meet the conditions as set out in DfE’s CJRS guidance.  Providers should consult the full guidance on the CJRS scheme before submitting a claim.