Early Years Update - 24.2.21

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dan barton

Dear all,

As you will all be aware, the Prime Minister released a road map on Monday which sets out how national restrictions will be gradually eased over the next few months. The decision to ease restrictions is made on the balance of risk to public health and educational considerations.

We are very pleased to see that asymptomatic home testing will be rolled out to PVI group based settings from Monday 22nd March, as we have lobbied for this through various officer and political routes. Please find a letter from the Secretary of State, Gavin WiIliamson here - Secretary of State letter

We await further updates including for Childminder colleagues and will continue to mobilise community testing sites as it is likely to take some time for the necessary kit to be delivered to each business for home use.

I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible next week. The invitation is for one person per setting please, as there is an upper limit on how many people may access Microsoft Teams successfully. Please use the link below if you wish to join:

Early Years Q & A session

Wednesday 3rd March, 6pm – 7pm

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting


Dan Barton Assistant Director - Education and Skills

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

Lateral Flow Testing Update

Please see updated community lateral flow testing dates and times below:

Dallam School, Haverflatts Lane, Milnthorpe, LA7 7DD *NEW VENUE*

  • Tuesday 23 Feb – 18:00 – 19:30
  • Thereafter Tuesdays 17:45 – 19:30

Settlebeck School, Long Lane, Sedbergh, LA10 5AL *NEW VENUE*

  • Soft Launch session on Wednesday 24 Feb, 17:45 - 19:30
  • Thereafter – Mondays only (from 1 March), 17:45 - 19:30

St Benedict’s School, Red Lonning, Whitehaven, CA28 8UG *NEW VENUE*

  • Wednesdays, 17:45 - 19:30

Workington Academy, Stainburn Road, Workington, CA14 4EB *NEW VENUE*

  • Thursdays, 17:45 - 19:30

Trinity School Sports Hall, Strand Rd, Carlisle CA1 1JB

  • Wednesdays 17:45 – 19:30
  • Saturdays 09:15 – 12:30

Beacon Hill School, Market Square, Aspatria, Wigton CA7 3EZ

  • Saturdays 09:15 – 12:30

Queen Katherine School, Appleby Rd, Kendal LA9 6PJ

  • Thursdays 17:45 – 19:30
  • Saturdays 09:15 – 12:30

Millom School, Salthouse Road, Millom, LA18 5AB

  • Wednesdays 17:30 – 19:30
  • Saturdays 09:15 – 12:3

Furness Academy, Park Drive, Barrow-In-Furness, LA13 9BB

  • Tuesdays 17:45 – 19:30
  • Thursdays 17:45 – 19:30

Dowdales School, Dalton-In-Furness, LA15 8AH

  • Mondays 16:30 - 18:30
  • Thursdays 16:30 – 18:30

Ullswater Community College, Wetheriggs Lane, Penrith, CA11 8NG

  • Wednesdays 17:15 – 19:30
  • Saturdays 09:15 – 12:30

No appointment is necessary – please just arrive at the testing site between the stated times.  Please wear a face covering unless you have a medical exemption. Please note, the testing sites will not be open outside these times.   

We are working hard to make testing available at other sites across the County as soon as possible, and more sites will become available over the coming days and weeks. Please look out for further communications.

Important information

  • At the moment, the new sessions highlighted above are being ‘soft launched’ to priority groups. Following the soft launch, others who cannot work from home will be invited to attend.  It would be appreciated please if you do not share information on the new sessions with anyone outside of your organisation at this stage so that the number of tests available are able to be managed.
  • Community Lateral Flow Testing is for asymptomatic people only.  If you have symptoms of coronavirus, please do not attend the test site, but instead book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

About Lateral Flow Testing at Community Sites

  • Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it. That’s why the rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests, which provide results within an hour, are being used to proactively test asymptomatic individuals.
  • This will help to identify those who unknowingly have the virus and enable those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate, which can help drive down the R rate locally and save lives.
  • A Lateral Flow Test detects the presence or absence of coronavirus from a swab or saliva sample.
  • It takes less than 15 minutes to register, administer the test, and around 30 minutes to produce a result.
  • Your result will be sent to you via SMS and/or e-mail – you will be asked for these contact details on registration.  Results will be communicated at latest within a day of the test.
  • If you do not receive your result within 24 hours, please let us know at ask.lft@cumbria.gov.uk.
  • If you test positive with the lateral flow test you will need to self-isolate for 10 days. Eligible individuals who test positive will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test through NHS Test and Trace. Please note the government has laid down eligibility criteria.
  • If you test negative with the lateral flow test you will need to continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus - to protect yourself and others, you must remember: Hands. Face. Space.

Updated Risk Assessment

In light of recent changes to government guidance the Early Years team have updated the Risk Assessment document. The most recent version is on the Early Years section of the County Council website, or can be found below:

Risk assessment document - updated 23.2.21

Home learning links

This week our focus is on the rhyme Three Blind Mice. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication

Chat Play Share - Three Blind Mice

For a range of fun activity ideas, please share What Can I Do This Week?  Remember that the activities included in the Wednesday Communication will be for the activities beginning the Monday of the following week.

Monday - jam jar - small world.pdf                Tuesday - jam jar - treasure jar.pdf

Wednesday - jam jar - picture frame.pdf       Thursday - jam jar - ideas jar.pdf

Friday - jam jar - letter collect.pdf 

Saturday - jam jar - rice.pdf

Sunday - jam jar -cress.pdf

'Cumbria together - have your say' survey results

Over 350 families completed the survey before Christmas, and focus groups are now underway as we continue to listen. Thank you for sharing the consultation with your families – we received really valuable feedback about what it was like to be a parent or carer of a young child in Cumbria during 2020.

We will be launching a report on the findings next week and starting to feed back to families on how we will respond and act on what we have heard.

Scam calls to Cumbrian settings

We have been alerted by one of our Private Early Years Providers that the Setting received a phone call from a man who claimed to be a High Court Enforcement Officer from Cardiff Civil Justice Centre. He was asking for payment regarding a debt. Fortunately, the Nursery checked this out with the correct department in Cardiff and was not persuaded to make a payment. Please remain vigilant.

Updated guidance documents

The DfE has updated the Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak 

A useful summary of the changes has been provided by the Early Years Alliance.

Summary of guidance changes 22.2.21

Please make note of the important changes which include use of face coverings and supporting pregnant and vulnerable staff members.

You can find the government's Roadmap proposals here:


Some key timelines are as follows:

8 March:

  • Wraparound childcare (including childminders) can restart from 8 March for all children where it is needed to enable parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group.

29 March:

  • Parent and child groups can take place outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees (children under five years of age do not count towards the attendee limit).

12 April (at the earliest):

  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.
Roadmap part 1

Roadmap part 2