Early Years Update - 24.3.21

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Early Years Weekly Attendance Survey – Please action on Wednesdays

Thank you for your continued support in providing Early Years Weekly attendance information.

Please use the link below to submit your data, the information is then collated and submitted to the DfE for Cumbria.

Attendance Survey

Home testing now available for childminders

We are very pleased to say that, from last Monday, there are now more options available to childminders to enable them to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme. This testing offer is also extended to anyone who works in an occupation related to a school, early years childcare provider, or college and their household, childcare and support bubbles. More information can be found here.

Now all childminders will be able to access asymptomatic twice-weekly testing by either:

This is a very welcome development for childminders. Please remember that all positive results from rapid tests undertaken at home do need to be confirmed with a standard PCR test.

Regular asymptomatic testing update

Private, voluntary and independent (PVI) group based settings are now taking part in regular asymptomatic testing, (from the 22nd of March). The DfE have provided some FAQ to support this roll out – Asymptomatic Testing in Primary & Early Years FAQ

Please also note that PVI nurseries should expect to receive a further delivery of test kit supplies between 24th and 26th March. These supplies should last another 3-4 weeks. If a setting has received too many test kits you will be able to keep them as stock to use as and when required.

The DfE has said that the number of kits being delivered to PVI settings for lateral flow testing is "based on a workforce estimation using the number of childcare places on record with Ofsted". They advise that "if this data is no longer up to date and thus PVIs do not think they have received the correct number of test kits, they should use this online form to report this" 

The DfE has advised that the wording on the form is being updated to make it clear that childminders and wraparound providers can also order tests online. You should still order online in the meantime, regardless of the wording on the form.

Shielding update

The Government has announced that shielding guidance is being paused and from Thursday 1 April, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people are no longer advised to shield. CEV people must continue to follow the national restrictions that are in place for everyone. 

From Thursday 1 April, all CEV children should attend early years provision,  school, college, wraparound childcare and out-of-school settings, unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend. 

Where parents/carers, staff, or students are anxious about attendance, you are asked to speak with them about their concerns and discuss the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk and any additional measures that could be put in place.

Test and Trace support payments extended to parents of self-isolating children

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, which provides a £500 payment to those on certain benefits or low incomes who are required to self-isolate, has been extended to the parents and carers of children who cannot work because their child is / children are required to self-isolate.

To apply for the payment, parents and carers will need to either provide their child’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID, or a communication from their early years provider or school informing them that their child needs to self-isolate (see 'Self-isolation letter', below).

Further information on the eligibility criteria for the scheme is available here.

Self-isolation letter

Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders, alongside other educational settings, are required to provide a letter to all parents or carers of children advised to self-isolate, to support their application to the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

To support this, the DfE has developed a template letter for early years providers to give to parents whose children need to self-isolate, which includes information about this financial support, and is available here

Please note: we are not aware of a specific early years template letter but you may choose to use this one and adapt for your needs.

Once an application for a payment has been received, your district council will be in touch with the child's early years provider to verify the details of the child provided on the application. This will include a check of the child’s name, age, address and days of self-isolation, and is to minimise the event of fraudulent claims.

This check may be conducted before or after a payment is made, depending on the arrangements the individual district council has chosen to put in place.

The letter that early years providers give to parents and carers should explain to them that their district council will conduct a check with their child’s setting if they apply for a payment.

Cumbria County Council Food Vouchers Offer for Early Years children during Easter holidays

Thank you for all the support you gave families to enable them to access food vouchers over the Christmas and February holiday period.

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 Easter holidays through the WONDE voucher system.

We will be contacting providers in the Private, Voluntary, Independent and Childminder sectors with information to pass onto parents to make them aware of the food vouchers that will be issued to the families mobile phones or email.

Thank you for your ongoing support with this.

Healthy Families Cumbria Early Years Pledge – new settings achieve the Pledge

We are really pleased to announce that the following settings have been awarded the Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge:

Wiggonby C of E Primary School 

Inglewood Community Nursery and Infant School 

Family Action Carlisle 0-19 Children and Family Support 

Congratulations to these Providers. The panel members were really impressed by your commitment to supporting families to be happy and healthy especially important during these difficult times.  Keep up the good work and please share any ideas with others via the dedicated Facebook page - Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge | Facebook 

If you are interested in becoming a Pledge setting please go onto our website to find out how you can take part - https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/publichealth/healthyfamiliescumbriapledge.asp

The next panel meeting will be towards the end of next term. We look forward to hearing how you are supporting families and young children in Cumbria to be happy

Preparing for the Revised EYFS Framework

Webinar: Introduction to the Revised EYFS with Ruth Swailes

A recorded webinar specially for Cumbria is available to you as you prepare for the implementation of the revised EYFS framework in September

Ruth has many years’ experience within education and has worked as a School Improvement Advisor, Early Years consultant and moderator in several Local Authorities, supporting leaders and teachers to improve outcomes for pupils. She is passionate about Primary education, particularly Early Years and is currently working with Oxford University Press as Lead Early Years Curriculum Consultant, developing the International Early Years curriculum.

In this recorded webinar Ruth will share the changes to the new EYFS curriculum and Early Learning Goals, she will dispel some of the myths and share questions which teachers, leaders and governors may be asked about their approach to teaching the new EYFS. Ruth will draw on the latest training and information from the DFE and Ofsted to provide leaders with the information they need to shape their thinking and to be confident that they are meeting the statutory requirements of the EYFS. This recorded webinar is available for you to download in order to share with your staff. Please use the link in the briefing paper from the 8th March.

The Development Matters web page has also been updated to help Providers prepare for the launch of the new framework in September - http://development-matters.org.uk/

Home learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'I'm a little teapot'. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication

Chat Play Share - I'm a Little Teapot

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 Clothes

Monday   Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday

What are your CPD needs for the future? Have your say by Friday 26 March

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a short survey on professional development, which will help the Department to identify critical professional development priorities in light of the impact of COVID-19.

The survey also asks for views on the overall impact of COVID-19, including time out of settings and the impact on children's development and wellbeing.

If you are an early years staff member, please take the time to fill in this short, anonymous survey. 

Cumbria SEND Improvement Programme

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dan barton

Dear colleagues,

The SEND Improvement Partnership would like to ask for your help please.

  • We are carrying out our annual SEND surveys
  • We have a letter which we would like you to pass on to families of children and young people with SEND



You can download the letter here

As part of continuous monitoring of the effectiveness of the SEND Improvement Programme we are running our annual online surveys for parents/carers and children and young people with SEND. We have separate surveys for those children with EHCPs and those at the SEN Support level of need.

We would like to ask you to pass the attached letter (download above) on to parents and carers of children with an EHCP or at the SEN Support level of need in your setting as soon as possible.

You can either print off the letter to distribute, or save and email on, whatever is best for you. The surveys will be promoted on the Local Offer website and on social media too. We know that you are the people who have most direct contact with these families and so we would be very grateful if you could not only pass on the attached information, but actively encourage parents and carers to complete the surveys too. The more feedback we get, the clearer the picture will be of the successes so far and where the focus should be, as we know there is still much to do.

Over the coming weeks we will be launching a survey specifically for feedback from practitioners, and will be in touch again for your help in completing the ‘SEND Practitioners survey’ soon, as we know that your input and feedback is vital to the improvement process.

Many thanks for your help at what we appreciate is already a very busy time.

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Find out more about the Cumbria SEND Improvement Programme 

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