Early Years Update - 10.3.21

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Early Years Weekly Attendance Survey – Please action on Wednesdays

The Department for Education have decided that we need to continue 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

This week our focus is on the rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication

 Chat Play Share - 5 little ducks

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.

This week the theme is Mindful breathing.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday

Lateral flow testing for early years staff

Details of Community lateral flow testing sites are now available on the County Council website at https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/coronavirus/communitytestingsites.asp.  Early years colleagues and anyone who needs to leave home to go to work are welcome to attend these sites during the opening hours listed to access asymptomatic covid-19 testing

Update from the Department for Education for group settings:

Following the the announcement on 22 February, nurseries in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector will soon have access to home testing kits through the COVID-19 education testing programme. The DfE have begun contacting settings directly today and will email settings directly with information and instructions.

PVI nurseries can expect to start receiving initial deliveries of testing supplies and instructions for use for asymptomatic testing from this Thursday 11 March. You will not need to place an order or take any specific steps to receive an initial delivery of testing supplies. The initial delivery of supplies should last around 3 to 4 weeks.

Please make sure that someone is available who can accept the deliveries when they arrive. A delivery schedule will be circulated shortly which will provide details as to when your setting can expect its delivery. Please refer to this schedule in the first instance of any questions arising.

The lateral flow device (LFD) test kits should be stored securely at a temperature between 2˚C and 30˚C and so must not be stored outside.

You should not open the test kits or commence testing yet. We will circulate further guidance on asymptomatic home testing in the next couple of days. This will include in-depth guidance and webinars on how settings can manage the testing process.

Lateral Flow Testing for household members of nursery and school pupils

On 8th March Cumbria County Council Public Health issued the following update for household members of school-age pupils

Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils can now access lateral flow devices to carry out rapid testing at home. See here.

In addition further guidance has been issued TODAY that this also applies to households of nursery age children. A leaflet for parents is available here

From 1 March 2021, if you are a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil, you can access twice-weekly rapid testing via one of the following routes:

  • Through your employer (if they offer testing to employees)
  • Attending a local testing site and having a supervised test onsite
  • By collecting home test kits from a test site
  • By ordering a home test kit online

Please note that whilst the online information does not specifically indicate the age range for household members rapid testing, it is predominantly aimed at adults aged 18+.

Get a test through your employer

Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.

Take a test at a local testing site

You can take a rapid lateral flow test at one of the local test sites listed below. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You should not need to book an appointment. Test sites will generally be open between 1.30pm and 7pm for lateral flow tests. Do not visit outside of these opening hours, as the site may be being used for the testing of people with coronavirus symptoms.

 Collect test kits

You can collect 2 packs of home test kits at a local collection point. Each pack contains 7 tests. Anyone aged 18+ can collect.

Most collection points are open from 1.30pm to 7pm. You can check online if the location is open or busy before you go. You do not need to make an appointment.

Do not visit a collection point outside opening hours, as it may be used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside these times.

Find your nearest home test kit collection point.

Order home test kits online

If you cannot get tested at your workplace or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online. Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits

The test sites in Cumbria are listed below.

  • Allerdale House Overflow Car Park (Workington)
  • Barrow Town Hall Courtyard (Barrow)
  • Carlisle Airport (Carlisle)
  • Castle Meadows Car Park (Whitehaven)
  • Cecil Street Car Park (Carlisle)
  • County Hall Car Park (Kendal)
  • Sandgate Car Park (Penrith)

Can the tests be used on children under the age of 12?

Yes they can, but the Public Health team does not recommend schools and other settings actively promote regular rapid testing in children under the age of 12 because it can be unpleasant for them.

We recommend schools encourage adult members aged 18+ of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils to participate in the twice-weekly rapid testing programme.

 Please note that the information booklet that comes with the household member LFD kits does say they are suitable for children under the age of 12, so parents/carers may ask you if they can test their children. Parents and carers should be advised that this is not recommended, but if they are going to do so, they should strictly follow the guidance in the information booklet.

If children under the age of 12 develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should get a PCR test.

This advice will be kept under review

Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge

The panel for the Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge met this week and we are pleased to say that three more Providers have successful signed up to the Pledge. Please look out for updates to the website to find out more, as well as future panel dates which will be added soon:


We also recommend signing up to the Facebook page to receive information about resources and training opportunities:


Looking after the wellbeing of your staff team is an essential part of signing up to the Pledge. If you’re not feeling okay, it is that much harder to make sure the children you care for are. Please find below details of a free online training session around team wellbeing, led by Linda Baston-Pitt from Purple Bee:

wellbeing training session

Linda will give a full presentation, you’ll get a resource pack and a certificate – and have time to ask questions.

Spring Budget announced on 3rd March 2021

Business rates: The business rates holiday for early years providers has been extended until 30 June 2021.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until September 2021. However, from 1 July, employers will be asked to make contributions to the cost of unworked hours. These will be paid at a rate of 10% in July and 20% in August and September. 

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS): The Chancellor confirmed two further SEISS grants for self-employed people. Newly self-employed people who filled out a self-assessment tax return for 2019/20 will be eligible for the fourth and fifth grants, but all other criteria remain the same. 

The fourth SEISS grant will be for 80% of three months’ average monthly trading profits for the period February to April, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. This can be claimed from late April. 

The fifth grant will be awarded during the summer and calculated based on turnover.

National Living Wage / National Minimum Wage: The National Living Wage will increase from £8.72 to £8.91 in April 2021, and will also be extended to 23- and 24-year-olds. The National Minimum Wage for under 23s will also increase - more detail available here.

Tax rates: Corporation tax will rise to 25% from 19% from April 2023 on profits over £250,000. However, this will not apply to businesses with profits less than £50,000 and there will be additional relief for businesses with profits under £250,000. 

From 2022, the personal income tax allowance of £12,570 will be frozen until 2026, rather than rising in line with inflation.  

Apprenticeships and training: Employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive a direct payment of £3,000 per new hire, compared with £1,500 per new apprentice hire (or £2,000 for those aged 24 and under) under the previous scheme.

This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16-18 year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies. 

Portable apprenticeships will also be extended. 

Sick pay and isolation: The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme will continue so employers with fewer than 250 employees will still be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible SSP costs per employee.  

£500 Test and Trace support payments will continue in England until the summer. 

Loan schemes and grants : The Bounceback Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes will close on 31 March. A new Recovery Loan Scheme, which opens on 6 April, will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on eligible loans between £25,000 and £10 million, and will be open to all businesses, including those who have already received support under the existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes.

Source: Early Years Alliance

Early Help e-learning course


The Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership have agreed that the Early Help eLearning course will be mandatory for all professionals working with children and young people. This includes all practitioners and volunteers in settings. The course takes around 40 minutes to complete.

Early Help for Children and Families (eLearning) can be found here.  

This course looks at the function of an Early Help Assessment.  Early Help is a dynamic process and it incorporates all the professionals involved in the child's welfare.