Early Years Update 30/06/2021

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In today's update:


Public Health Update

The government has published data showing that reports to Ofsted of Covid-19 cases in early years settings doubled in just one week, from 31 May to 7 June, with reports of cases in setting jumping from 135 to 269, rising above 200 for the first time since March. During the same week, overall case numbers in the UK increased by 40%.

Remember you can read weekly updates on the situation in Cumbria here

It is likely that restrictions are likely to be in place until 19th July at the earliest – thank you for your excellent partnership working to limit the spread of the virus.


Home learning - Chat, Play, Share

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'The Wheels on the Bus'.  Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share - The Wheels on the Bus


Preparing for the revised EYFS

Schools across the country were invited to be part of an early adopter year during 2020/21.  Around 30 schools in Cumbria signed up to be early adopters. They have shared some of their thoughts and learning in Briefing Paper 9 which has now gone to education settings and is available on the website. 


Cumbria’s SEND Local offer website

Cumbria’s SEND Local Offer website is the central information point for families with children and young people aged up to 25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Did you know that in addition to providing information for families on a wealth of subjects such as early years, education, health and leisure activities, there is also a section containing information for professionals, including the SEND Handbook, SENCO network and SEND specialist teaching service.

We would like to remind SENCOs and other professionals within schools that they can signpost parents and carers to the SEND Local Offer website to find information, advice and support on matters related to their child’s additional needs and/or disabilities.

You can find the SEND Local Offer website at SEND Local Offer | Cumbria's Family Information Directory or search ‘Cumbria local offer’


Deaf awareness and sign language workshops in Cumbria

Signs4Life are offering a range of courses to help to implement positive methods of communication. This includes an accredited BSL programme. Courses can be offered remotely if preferred. Further details here 


Food vouchers for the summer holidays

The Food Vouchers for Summer holidays scheme will be in place again this summer. Arrangements are being finalised and settings will be informed as soon as possible.

The intention is to repeat the arrangements from this Easter.


EYFS disapplications update

On Monday the EYFS disapplications guidance was updated as follows:

  • Link added to the current version of Ofsted’s early years inspection handbook, published on 28 June 2021, for inspections taking place from 1 September 2021
  • Clarified that the period in which the EYFS disapplications can be used ends on 31 August 2021
  • Clarified that if government restrictions and requirements are lifted before 31 August 2021 the disapplications can no longer be used as the necessary conditions for using them will no longer be met

The Covid-19 guidance for early years providers covers existing flexibilities within the EYFS with regard to staffing ratios. There are no plans to change this guidance when the disapplications end in September:

Paragraph 3.30 of the EYFS states ‘Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made.’

We consider the extent of COVID-19 to be an exceptional temporary circumstance in which the staff to child ratios set out in the EYFS can be changed if necessary. Early years settings and schools, however, remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care.


Updated guidance

Early Years Inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision (updated 28th June)

A summary of the changes is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-inspection-handbook-eif/summary-of-changes