Early Years Update 20/01/2021

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The Early Years Team recognise the immense amount of work that you within the early years sector are doing to support children and families across Cumbria at this extremely challenging time.  Thank you for all your outstanding commitment and ongoing dedication - there are no words that can adequately express how exceptional you are.  As ever, we are here to support you so please do not hesitate to contact your early years adviser or team manager whenever you need to.

The bulletin today is full of information to help you to stay up to date in this rapidly changing pandemic situation. Included in the bulletin is a link to a national staff wellbeing survey because we recognise that in order for young children to continue to get the care and learning that they deserve, it is vital that the workforce is cared for and supported.

Early Years Weekly Attendance Survey – Please action on Wednesday

As explained in last week’s bulletin, the Department for Education have decided that we need to return to weekly collections while the current national COVID restrictions are in place.

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

Attendance Survey

Cumbria County Council Food Vouchers Offer for Early Years children during February half-term

Thank you for all the support you gave families to enable them to access food vouchers over the Christmas holiday period. As a result of this we were able to issue 875 vouchers to Early Years children attending provision in the PVI sector and 605 Early Years children attending Schools.

We are pleased to say that Cumbria County Council will continue to support Early Years children in receipt of Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and a funded 2 year old place over the February half-term holiday through the WONDE voucher system. We will be contacting providers in the Private, Voluntary, Independent and Childminder (PVI) sectors to collect information to enable us to issue vouchers to parents for those additional children who became eligible in the Spring term. Thank you very much for your ongoing support with this.

Support helpline for people affected by COVID-19

The county council is operating a support help line for people who need urgent help or support as a result of COVID-19. The team can help if people are:

  • struggling to afford food or other essentials
  • shielding, and need food or prescriptions delivered
  • needing information and advice about sources of support

Call the team on 0800 783 1966 (Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.00pm, Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm), and they’ll help you to get the support you need.

You can also email: COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk and you will receive a response within one working day.

There is also information available at cumbria.gov.uk/welfare.

Support Bubbles

No parent should be struggling alone at this difficult time. Please remember that a support bubble with another household can be formed for people in the following groups:

  • your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020

The full list of people who can form a support bubble is available here

EYFS Disapplications – Paediatric First Aid

The DfE have updated the disapplications guidance

If Paediatric First Aid certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the COVID-19 pandemic, or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 1 October 2020

This is in recognition of the fact that some practitioners are facing difficulties in accessing requalification training due to courses being cancelled. If asked to do so, providers should be able to explain why the first aider has not been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps have been taken to access the training.

Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.

Practitioners are strongly encouraged to use online resources to refresh their knowledge of Paediatric First Aid procedures if they need to extend their certificates while waiting to access face-to-face training. Providers such as St John Ambulance offer free online resources to support this.

EYFS Disapplications – EYFS Profile

Ministers have decided it will not be mandatory to complete the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) assessment in 2021 but instead will be asking schools to make ‘best endeavours’ to undertake it. Teachers and early years practitioners are being asked to use their best endeavours to still complete the EYFSP for children in the summer term if at all possible and to provide this important information to parents and to year 1 teachers, should the situation at the time allow. This change also applies to schools who are ‘early adopters’.

Annual Setting Review (ASR)

Thank you to those settings that have taken part in the ASR process during this last term and the positive feedback received. Settings have reported they have found the process helpful when considering their strengths and also in thinking about where they would like support in their developments. This will enable the Early Years Team to discuss bespoke support with the setting about the identified developments.  We are very aware that for some settings due to the current challenging circumstances it has simply not been the right time to complete the ASR. After careful thought we have decided as a team to suspend the ASR process for this academic year and roll out again in September for the autumn term. However, if you have a meeting booked prior to half term with your adviser this will still take place. Thank you for your ongoing support with this.

Early Years Staff wellbeing survey


The Anna Freud Centre are running a new survey to help improve staff wellbeing in the early years in order to create a free Staff Wellbeing resource for early years settings. This resource will offer new guidance and information to early years settings, on how to promote good mental health amongst their staff. The survey is anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It is open to everyone working in early years settings in the UK, across private, voluntary, independent and local authority settings.   Please do forward the link on to any friends or colleagues who you think would like to help!

Click here to complete the survey

COVID-19 staff testing in PVI settings

We know that many of you have been raising the issue of the need for regular asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for your team members. PVI early years providers will be eligible for testing through local community testing programmes. Cumbria County Council is working on the roll out of this programme currently.


On vaccinations, DfE have confirmed that they will be putting the case for early years staff to be prioritised as part of the phase 2 roll out of the vaccination programme.  The decision will be made by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. No timescale is available on this as yet. 

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

If any staff or pupils 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

Changes to non-household ‘close contact’ criteria

An additional category has been added to the criteria for identifying non-household close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.

Now, if you have accumulated 15 minutes or more of contact throughout the day with an infectious person, you are classed as a close contact (previously it was just if the 15 minutes of contact had occurred continuously). So for example, if you come within 2 metres of an infectious person three times in a day for five minutes each time, you would now be classed as a close contact and advised to isolate.

Full criteria for identifying non-household contacts below. New criteria highlighted in yellow.

  • Face-to-face contact (within one metre), including: being coughed on, having a face-to-face conversation within one metre*
  • skin-to-skin physical contact for any length of time
  • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact*
  • sexual contacts
  • cleaners of case’s household accommodation during the exposure period, even if the case was not in the home at the same time as the cleaner.
  • been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes* as a one-off exposure.
  • been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
  • travelled in the same vehicle or a plane (the Public Health team will continue to support settings to risk assess school transport close contacts on a case-by-case basis)

*Any interactions that have only taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen is not considered sufficient contact. These people should not be considered relevant contacts for the purposes of contact tracing and isolation.

Any questions, please contact the Public Health team by email: EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk

Cumbria’s Early Years Peer Challenge

At the end of 2019, Cumbria welcomed a team of peer reviewers from across the country to look at our early years services, with a particular focus on speech, language and communication. We are pleased to say that the report can now be released and invite you to read it and the accompanying briefing note which explains the work that is underway to implement the recommendations. We believe that these actions will be more important than ever as a result of the pandemic.

Early Years Peer Challenge Briefing Note

Early Years Peer Challenge Full Report

Family Learning opportunities from the Community Learning and Skills team

The county council's Community Learning and Skills Family Learning Team are keen to support families with home-learning, with their exciting and varied offer of free, short, online "Family Learning Quick-Skill" courses, all packed with ideas and activities.

Please circulate the flyer below to your parents and carers.


You can also direct people to the Community Learning and Skills website.

Resource packs

The Childminder and PVI resource packs are available here:

Childminder Resource Pack

PVI Resource Pack

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

All these documents can be found on the Cumbria County Council website 'Support for Early Years and Childcare Provision' page which you can access here.

Updated advice for pregnant employees

The advice for all pregnant women has changed with effect from 21 January 2021. Protection for women under 28 weeks of pregnancy has been strengthened.

Please see the government guidance.

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