Early Years Update - 20.10.21

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Early Years

Enhanced COVID-19 Education Guidance for Cumbria FAQ's

Colin Cox, Director of Public Health, issued new enhanced COVID-19 guidance to early years settings and schools in Cumbria on Friday 8 October 2021. The new guidance has been issued because although the case rates in children and young people had levelled off, they were still higher than the national average and were not yet reducing.

A set of Frequently Asked Questions has been issued for the Enhanced COVID-19 Education Guidance for Cumbria which seeks to clarify any confusion surrounding the updated guidance.

Remember that the guidance for younger children aged 4 years and under remains as follows:

Parents of children aged 4 and under who are household contacts of a positive case should be asked to keep them at home for 5 days, starting from the onset of symptoms in the household contact who has tested positive (or test date if the positive case had no symptoms). They should only have a PCR test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Reminder - detailed COVID-19 support resources to help early years providers in Cumbria are available here - https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/coronavirus/education.asp

National COVID updates - DfE Contingency framework

The DfE have updated the contingency framework

The contingency framework describes the principles for managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare settings. It covers all types of measures that you should be prepared for. It also sets out thresholds for managing COVID-19 cases and when you should consider seeking public health advice. You should make sure your contingency plans outline how you would operate if your setting was advised to introduce any of the measures described in the contingency framework.

In response to recent queries, the DfE have updated the contact tracing ‘frequently asked questions’ which can be found on the document sharing platforms for primary and early years

NEW - Cumbria Transition Toolkit


A Year of Transition – Transition toolkit

Transition to school is not just a process that happens in the last few weeks of a child’s nursery year. Helping children to be resilient, confident learners, who settle well into school is a process that takes a long time.

The early years team have developed a toolkit to support early years settings, childminders and schools to work together to ensure children’s transitions from one setting to another are a positive experience for children and their families. It is primarily aimed at supporting children moving into the Reception class of a school, but many of the resources are equally useful for children moving to a school nursery from another setting, or for children moving between or within settings at any point in the year.

The toolkit draws together a series of resources for schools and settings to use to plan a successful transition for their children. It contains resources to help settings consider the skills and attributes children will need to prepare them for the move and how to support them to develop these. It also contains tools to support families during what can be a daunting process for some, acknowledging that they are their child’s primary educator and that their expert knowledge of the child is vital to the transition process.

It is acknowledged that many schools and settings have developed successful transition processes already. For others this is an area they wish to develop. This toolkit may help you to evaluate your current practice and suggest ways to improve the experience for all. Each of the resources can be downloaded separately and you are free to use those you feel will be useful to your transition process.

The toolkit is now available on the early years pages of the Cumbria County Council website (link below), along with a short introductory video explaining how each of the documents can be used:

Transition toolkit

Transition toolkit introductory video

Support for children with SEND and their families

The charity CONTACT are offering free virtual workshops for parents on a range of topics SEND workshops for parents flyer

There are a number of other workshops planned so please keep checking the webpage for more details - https://bit.ly/ContactWorkshops

NASEN are also offering free webinars to support inclusive practice:

Meeting the needs of every child - course information

The importance of play and relationships - course information

NASEN have also produced a quick reference guide to the key messages in the code of practice and revised EYFS. This resource highlights the key messages for SEND in the context of early years. It can be printed out and displayed, used as the focus of a staff meeting or kept in the front of a practitioner’s planning folder for example. To access this resource log in to the nasen website



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Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) Annual Review Resources for Education Settings

Thank you to everyone who attended the briefing sessions on the new EHCP process and paperwork. A number of key resources for the EHCP Annual Review can be found below:

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Annual Review Resources

Special school places

SPECIALIST PLACEMENTS - Change to ways of working

This academic year Cumbria SEND and Inclusion Team will be introducing a county wide approach to the allocation of Special School’s, Resourced Provision and Pupil Referral Unit SEMH places.  We will be introducing Specialist Placement Panel meetings and holding these every four weeks, these will begin on Tuesday 12th October 2021. 

Requesting a specific school can be done either following the issuing of the draft EHC plan, or at the annual review or early review, which identifies a wish by parents to consider a specialist placement.

We are hopeful that this will further improve our ability to meet the needs of children and young people with an EHCP who may require a placement beyond mainstream provision.

A review of this will be undertaken in the summer term and we would welcome any feedback.

Further information can be found below:

Specialist Placement Panel letter for schools and settings.doc

Admission Guidance September 2021.pdf

Cumbria Specialist Placement Referral Form Oct 2021.docx

Children and Families Health and Wellbeing Survey

We know it can often be hard to find information about children's health, wellbeing and development when you need it. 

In Cumbria, we would like to find the best way to share information and advice from pregnancy through to teenage years.

We would like you to help by telling us what information you think is easily available and which could be more accessible.  

Please complete our 5-minute survey

October half-term holiday Food Voucher Offer

The County Council has again committed to ensuring every Early Years child eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) or a free 2 year old childcare place will receive a Food Voucher over the October half-term holiday. The vouchers will have a value of £15 [5 x £3] for each eligible child and are fully funded by Cumbria County Council using the government replacement for the COVID Grant scheme.

You may be contacted by us for individual families details, so please check any emails from childrens.information@cumbria.gov.uk

We completely appreciate the ultra-tight timescales for everyone involved in this work and thank you for your patience and support.

Share a book every day


Thank you so much for taking part in ‘Share a book every day’ last week, the responses from you all have been wonderful.

We are sharing some more comments from you:

  • We have story/ rhyme time every day, I inform the parents via our WhatsApp group of the rhyme of the week, we link our crafts to a story as far as possible.
  • We visit the library every Monday for story and singing time, some children are not with me on a Monday so we are making our very own library in the playroom.
  • We will be reading our favourites, making story sacks to go along with them and incorporating them into our play. Our first book ‘Spot at the Aquarium’ with chiffon scarves and sea life finger puppets.
  • We have been exploring books in a very curious way, the babies have enjoyed exploring the Halloween story of ‘Peppa Pig Pumpkin Competition’. Toddlers have acted out ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ and done various Gruffalo activities. The pre-school unit have read ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a fly’ and have been using puppets. We have also made a lending library in the shape of a fridge.
  • We've been promoting the Share a Story with our parents and families.  Children have been relishing all the stories in school as well as taking home some of our "Best Books" (core texts) to share with families at home. We've encouraged families to get involved and they've responded by sending in photos of the kind of things they're doing at home.  We've also been able to reinstate our school Library system (after Covid) where children take home books from Nursery each week to add variety to their book sharing at home. We're asking parents to complete a little reading diary and send it in so that we can talk with children about favourite books they've shared with us too.

We have updated the poster so that you can display or share it with parents.

Share a Book Every Day poster

Please do keep sharing your experiences on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ChildrenandFamiliesInformationService or by emailing: childrens.information@cumbria.gov.uk

For more information, please see our updated web page: https://localoffer.cumbria.gov.uk/kb5/cumbria/fsd/advice.page?id=GuJmr7n3IIk

Home Learning

Early Years

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Tiny Tim (I had a little turtle)'. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share: Tiny Tim (I had a little turtle)

For a range of fun activity ideas for children and families, please share What Can I Do This Week? This week's activities all involve water. Remember that the activities contained in this communication are for the week starting next Monday.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday


Emotion coaching - Emotion Coaching is about helping children to understand and label their feelings and emotions, developing their tools to problem solve and begin to self-regulate. This training would be suitable for all practitioners but particularly those who wish to explore their setting's approach to behaviour leadership. This training will run over 3 two hour sessions via Microsoft TEAMS, on 10.11.21, 1.12.21 and 30.3.22. Look out for the invitation email soon.

Developing Early Phonic Skills - Reminder about our Developing Early Phonics Skills training for all Nursery teachers and practitioners on 11th November at various venues around the county. This training is face to face. Places are still available. Please book by contacting the School development team on Tel: 01228 221354 or Email: schooldevelopment@cumbria.gov.uk

Upcoming Events

9th November - Designated Safeguarding Lead clusters, look out for your emailed invitation.

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