Early Years Update 03/02/2021

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Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Week

As you know, this week is children's mental health week.  As part of this week, all of us within the County Council would like to honour all of our early years colleagues for the incredible work that you do, day in day out, to support the youngest children to develop and grow into the happy, confident children that we all want them to be.  We know that every day this involves you and your team using your incredible skills to support and nurture children's relationships, helping them to regulate their emotions and enabling them to thrive fully.  Thank you.

Hindpool Nursery have shared some of the work that they have been doing to help children to express their feelings and emotions, and enabling them to feel fully valued.



"One of our Governors, gifted a book called The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas. The children worked on recognising and naming emotions and showing us what a happy/sad/cross/frightened etc face would look like. We discussed things that might make us feel these different emotions and what we should do when we felt them, encouraging talking with trusted adults if they were sad, scared or worried.

The children regularly refer to the book in school and it has become one of their favourite stories. They talk about what colour they are feeling that day".

St Bees Little Learners Nursery are promoting wellbeing within the Early Years Setting by making sure that they get outside with our children everyday, whatever the weather.

"Taking the children out into the community with their friends is extremely beneficial, especially at the moment. Children are able to feel free and relaxed with their friends, benefitting their mental and physical wellbeing. We are fortunate to be able to visit our beautiful seafront regularly".

Little Learners

In order to be able to do the demanding work of supporting the children and families, we know that the adults who care for them need to stay strong and mentally well.  This Little Book of Hope is something that you and your team may find useful to do individually or together. 


Advice for adults who work with young children aged 2-4 years


Every Mind Matters- https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus/


Early Years Weekly Attendance Survey – Please action on Wednesday

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

Home learning – activities to support children’s learning

Following on from research carried out by Ofsted linked to lessons learned from the first lockdown, it was found that speech, language and communication showed some children had regressed during this time. The Early Years team have developed some weekly ideas to help support practitioners and teachers with home learning. All of the activities support the prime area of speech, language and communication.  Each week there will be a range of activities for practitioners to share with parents to support home and remote learning including activities that promote language and communication, books and some extension activities linked to the rhyme or theme for that week.

Week Two-Hickory Dickory Dock

Each week as well as the activities to support the prime area of speech, language and communication we are also including the popular What Can I do This Week? activities currently shared through CFIS Facebook. We realise that a lot of you are sharing this link but felt you may find it useful to have access to the documents. The activities included in the Wednesday Communication will be for the activities beginning the Monday of the following week. We hope you will enjoy sharing these activities with your families.

What Can I do This Week? Week beginning 8th February

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Free online courses for teenagers, parents-to-be, parents, carers, Grandparents and childrens workforce of Cumbria-SOLIHULL

Just a reminder to check out www.inourplace.co.uk for FREE (prepaid) access for all parents and parents-to-be, carers, grandparents, those working with children and young people and teenagers themselves to some really useful and interesting online courses.  These cover the below topics:


  • Understanding your pregnancy birth labour and your baby
  • Understanding your baby
  • Understanding your child
  • Understanding your teenager’s brain
  • New course - Understanding your child with additional needs

This online course is for parents with a child with additional needs. It is for parents, relatives and friends of children who may have a physical or learning disability or who may have autistic traits. This course is in 2 sections. Level 1 lays the foundation for understanding your child. Level 2 looks at some particular aspects of parenting: sleeping and anger management, together with more about how we interact with each other. Understanding this can make it easier to work with your child's behaviour as well as supporting their development.

This means every single Cumbria parent/carer can access the courses completely free of charge! Please help us tell parents!

These courses are for ALL parents-to-be, parents, grandparents or carers  of any child from the antenatal period to age 18 years. Families don’t need to be struggling to do these courses. They are also available in other languages and are also relevant to parents/carers of all children, including those with special needs, autism, ADHD etc. 

We would also recommend that practitioners also complete the courses to have the best understanding of how they work, what is covered etc.


  • ‘Understanding your brain (for teenagers only!)’

This short course pairs with the short course for parents Understanding your teenager’s brain, so that both parents and teenagers have access to the same information.

PROFESSIONALS TRAINING - This training is FREE and there are three courses - use the access code: WORDSWORTHPRF

Understanding Trauma - This course covers Type 1 and Type 2 trauma, the window of tolerance, going through a traumatic experience, neurology and trauma…….recognising trauma, recovery from trauma, and more...

Understanding Attachment - This course is for practitioners who want to understand more about attachment, and shows how containment and reciprocity underpin the quality of an attachment.

Understanding Brain Development – This course is for practitioners who want an introduction to brain development from the antenatal period to adolescence.

ALL AVAILABLE AT: www.inourplace.co.uk

February half term food vouchers

Cumbria County Council has again committed to ensuring that early years children in receipt of either Early Years Pupil Premium or a funded 2 year old place are able to access a food voucher for the five days over the February half-term holiday. This is for those children expected to attend during the Spring half term. The vouchers will have a value of £15 (£3 per day) for each child and are fully funded by Cumbria County Council using Winter Grant monies.

For providers in the PVI sectors, they will be issued by Cumbria Children and Families Information Service, who can be contacted on childrens.information@cumbria.gov.uk

National Business Support webinar for early years and childcare providers – now available on youtube

This event for early years and childcare providers was held on 19 January 2021 with the aim of assisting anyone thinking about necessary business decisions to support business change and sustainability, whether they are new to the role or an experienced manager.

James Hempsall and Jo Pringle discuss what's changing for early years and childcare businesses as part of their ‘Business Map’ process. Including how it was developed and how it aims to support early years and childcare providers with business planning in 2021. 


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

Covid 19 Lateral Flow Testing update – 3rd Feb 21

We would like to provide you with an update on the roll out plans for Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) as part of the Covid 19 response for Cumbria. LFT forms part of the Community Testing Programme which is being led by the County Council and offered to colleagues who are not covered by the national LFT schools programme.

Colleagues working within Early Years Settings are one of our highest priorities, and a dedicated team are working hard to plan and roll out lateral flow testing to you as quicky as we can, with safe delivery being a key focus.

We know that this is also one of your top concerns in order to help you to keep your staff and community regularly tested and to keep people as safe as possible.

As explained last week, we are working on a twin track model which involves both of the following approaches, each has its benefits depending on the setting

  • ‘Train the trainer’ model in larger settings
  • Access to testing in community sites for smaller settings

Train the trainer update

This option provides an opportunity to have staff from within your setting to be trained in order to supervise the testing in your workplace, and then following an initial set up process, you can conduct testing regularly within your own business setting at a time that is convenient to your working routines.

To start the programme, it is proposed to offer this model to all settings greater than 20 employees first, and then review with the potential for wider roll out when capacity allows and feedback from providers informs what works well, what not so well and any amendments required.

Setting that are invited to consider being part of the train the trainer model will be contacted by Friday 5 February to understand who is interested and then a set up meeting, and an offer of training by Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service will follow soon after.

Community sites update

Please be assured we are working hard to identify suitable test sites across the county and some secondary schools who already have testing up and running are keen to support the programme which is fantastic to see.

Schools have indicated a desire to assist wider community testing and mapping work is currently taking place to confirm site locations and alternatives where there are currently any geographical gaps.

As the testing needs to take place under the correct test conditions and be supervised we are also working hard to identify suitable numbers of people to work at the test sites. It is envisaged that access to these sites will be made available initially at least one evening per week (possibly 6pm to 8pm) and on a Saturday morning (likely to be 9am to 12 noon) – but these time are not yet confirmed and intended as an early guide at this stage.

 As part of this work, we have undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment and are committed wherever possible to provide community sites in locations across the county so that equity of provision is offered and travel times reduced.

We understand that this is a key concern for the sector and will be working to ensure local access for early years staff wherever possible. However in the interest of being able to mobilise a testing offer as quickly as possible, we intend to open venues when they are ready and workforce trained and available and then introduce an additional number of venues to the programme as soon as we can.

Some locations will take longer to set up than others, so we would welcome your understanding and support as the programme is large and complex for such a large geographical area.

At this stage we do not have exact dates of when test sites will open, but hope to be able to provide you with more information in the next update, or sooner if we are able to.

Q & A session

We appreciate that testing is a key issue for your workforce, and therefore would like to invite you to attend a virtual Q & A session via Microsoft Teams. Please look out for an additional communication with further information about this later in the week. This will provide an opportunity to meet the Lateral Flow Test project team, discuss the testing programme and be able to raise any queries or concerns.

Keep the date:

Early Years Lateral Flow Test Q&A Session

Date : Tuesday 9th February  

Time : 5.30 – 6.30pm

Useful Information:

Please find here the latest version of ‘Help is here’ from Cumbria County Council which includes lots of useful sources of support for anyone struggling, including financially.

Updated FAQs from Foundation Years

Updated FAQs from Foundation Years can be found at:


The FAQs include references to the following:

  • Testing
  • Vaccination
  • Admissions and attendance
  • Use of the furlough scheme eg for staff who are shielding, sick or has caring responsibilities
  • Funding and the census
  • Reception-age children
  • The EYFS Profile
  • Paediatric First Aid 
  • Ofsted arrangements