Early Years Bulletin - 13.01.21

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dan barton

Dear All,

I would like to continue to thank you for all that you are doing for children and families during this incredibly challenging time. I am aware that the early years sector are taking on the responsibility of keeping settings open whilst endeavouring to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children as well as the workforce. Please be assured that your concerns are being discussed on a very frequent basis with our contacts at both the Department of Education and Public Health England Yours, Dan Barton Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Early Years Weekly Attendance Survey – Please action on Wednesday

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4th January of a new national lockdown, we now find ourselves in a different position. After careful consideration the Department for Education have decided that we need to return to weekly collections while the current national COVID restrictions are in place.

We know that this will be frustrating for some of you and that it will cause additional work. However, with the new lockdown in place, it is essential that we have timely data to enable us to monitor supply, demand and resulting sufficiency of childcare places closely, and to identify emerging risks and issues as a result of the current lockdown.

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

Attendance Survey

Public Health Updates

Resource packs

The Childminder and PVI resource packs have been updated by Public Health colleagues and are available here:

Childminder Resource Pack

PVI Resource Pack

Positive Covid-19 cases in your setting? Please continue to let CCC Public Health team know

If any staff or children attending your setting test positive for Covid-19, please continue to call details through to the Cumbria County Council Call Centre. The Public Health team then know which settings may require support.

The Call Centre number is 0800 783 1968.

Any public health queries in relation to positive cases, please email EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk

Updated Risk Assessment and checklist:

The early years team have updated the risk assessment in the light of lockdown and the most recent guidance documents. The updated document can be found here: Risk assessment and checklist

Famly have produced this visual guide to cleaning which you may find useful -


Charging parents and carers if they are unable to take up a child's place

The Government has published the following guidance - Early years and childcare closures

The DfE have provided the following information:

Providers should continue to be fair and balanced in dealings with parents or carers and must continue to avoid unfair charging practices. Providers should refer to:

The general principle is that providers should not charge parents or carers for services that cannot be provided. If there is a barrier to accessing childcare, based on government guidance or the law, the provider should not charge the parents or carers for this period. For example, from 28 September 2020, people in England are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Accordingly, if a child is self-isolating having been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, the provider should not charge the parent or carer for this period.

National Business Support webinar for early years and childcare providers - Reminder

The DfE has funded Hempsall’s to deliver a new national webinar for all types of early years and childcare provider.  You can book your FREE place(s) by clicking the links below:

19 January 2021

9.45 to 12.30 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/business-map-a-national-webinar-for-early-years-and-childcare-providers-tickets-131608780405  


6.30pm to 8.45pm  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/business-map-a-national-webinar-for-early-years-and-childminders-tickets-131614619871

Further information can be found here - Hempsalls DfE Business support offer.docx

Update from Ofsted on Early Years inspections

OFSTED have issued the following statement:

Our work with early years providers hasn’t changed, and we will continue to carry out our regulatory work, including visits/inspections as required. As always, the safety and wellbeing of children is our first priority and we will take urgent action where we have concerns.

From 18 January we will continue: 

  • with our registration and approval work in line with current guidance 
  • our regulatory work with childminders and all other early years providers. This work will be a combination of off-site/on-site, depending on the nature of the concerns and the urgency of the work.

Based on risk assessment, we will carry out assurance inspections to early years nurseries that we have not been to since they first registered and/or we have concerns about learning and development. These inspections will be on site because we need to understand what it is like for a child in this setting and be able to report this to parents. We will also make a judgement about the effectiveness of safeguarding. These inspections will follow the guidance previously set out in the operational note published on 7 December 2020.

We will not be carrying out assurance visits to childminders. This is because we recognise the added pressures on childminders, who may be home-schooling their own children and have family members working from home, and the difficulty in remaining COVID safe in a home setting. We will continue regulatory visits to childminders where we have concerns.

We will keep these plans under review. As with all visits, we will put considerable measures in place to ensure the safety of all concerned. We are arranging a testing programme, which will enable all inspectors to take a test before each face-to-face visit. Inspectors are given up-to-date guidance on safety and supplied with PPE.

Contacting OFSTED

Informing Ofsted about serious incidents:

From 28 January, childminders, nurseries and all other childcare providers must use the online notification form to notify Ofsted of significant events and no longer notify Ofsted via phone or email. Providers should notify Ofsted as soon as practical, and in any case within 14 days of a notifiable event happening. For full guidance on what is classed as a notifiable event or serious incident, settings can refer to the early years and childcare compliance handbook.

Informing Ofsted about a Covid-19 incident:

To tell Ofsted if there is a Covid-19 incident at your childcare setting, you need to follow the same process as reporting a serious incident, but add the step below, as set out in Tell Ofsted if you have a COVID-19 incident at your childcare business - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

  1. Complete the service as you normally would, until you get to the page asking 'What type of incident do you want to report?'
  2. Select the option ‘Child or member of staff testing positive for COVID-19, or closure due to COVID-19’.
  3. On the ‘Details of incident’ page, provide information, including the dates of positive Covid tests and the number of children and staff present at the setting at the time of the suspected case.

Workforce development for the early years and childcare sector

Baby reading

Childcare courses are included in the government's new Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which means individuals who do not already have a Level 3 qualification can undertake one for free from April.  This represents a huge opportunity for staff in the early years to upskill.

Awarding organisations are working together to ensure placements, including for those on early years qualifications, are not unduly impacted by the pandemic.  The joint Awarding organisations have issued assessment centre guidance on placements and there is guidance from individual awarding bodies, eg for each individual CACHE qualification there is guidance such as the following CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator).

Updated guidance

The list of guidance relevant to the early years sector continues to grow and be updated. Please see some of the main documents below:

Education and Childcare settings: national lockdown from 5 January 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children's social care

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Updated 7th January)

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Updated 8th January)

Protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Updated 8th January)

What parents and carers need to know about early years settings, schools and colleges

Frequently asked questions


In response to questions from the sector the DfE have produced FAQs here (8th January) 08 January 21 Lockdown Q&A .pdf These are also available on the Foundation Years website.

Early Years Alliance FAQs