Early Years Update - 8.12.21

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Early Years

Early Years Attendance Data Collection

The Department for Education Early Years Attendance Data collection is on Wednesday 8th December 2021 – please count the number of 0-4 year olds in your provision on this day. If you are not available on Wednesday, please submit for Tuesday.

Please use this link to submit your information: Attendance Survey

Cumbria County Council have been asked to collect this information from you, the information is used to inform government departments on the impact of Covid 19.

Thank you for your continued support with this work.

Public Health Updates

Arrangements for COVID-19 testing during the holidays and on return in January

When settings close for Christmas, all staff should test over the holidays in line with national guidance. This means that they should test if they will be in a high-risk situation that day, and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19. For settings remaining open over the Christmas period, staff (including students of secondary age and older) should continue to test at home twice per week.

Staff in all early years settings should take one self-test at home either the evening or morning before they return in January. They should then continue to test in line with government guidelines. Settings should check their test kit stock levels and make an order of test kits so that staff are able to test over the holiday period if required, and for the first week of January, using home test kits.

Vaccination - over 40's are invited to book a booster jab

Today (Wednesday 8 December), marks one-year since the UK became the first country in the world to administer an approved COVID-19 vaccine. It was given to Margaret Keenan in Coventry.

See this message from Santa

Colin Cox, Cumbria's Director of Public Health, said:

“Thankfully cases are continuing to fall this week which is encouraging.

“However, with confirmation the Omicron variant has been detected in the UK, we must remain cautious until we learn more about it.

“The government has introduced new precautionary measures until that happens and I urge everyone to follow the guidance as closely as they can.

“This means wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport, self-isolating for 10 days if you’ve been in contact with someone infected with the Omicron variant and taking a PCR test if you’ve been abroad before day 2 following your return the UK.

“COVID booster vaccines are also set to be rolled out for anyone aged 18+ over the coming weeks in response to Omicron, but for now if you’re aged 40 and over, book your booster vaccine as soon as you can.”

For more information on the latest COVID-19 guidelines in response to the Omicron variant, visit GOV.UK/coronavirus.

Updated letter templates

The letter templates that can be used by educational settings to communicate with parents and carers about positive cases of COVID-19 within the setting have been updated. These now take into account the updated guidance relating to the Omicron variant and mask wearing in communal areas. All updated letter templates, along with other useful resources will shortly be available on the Cumbria County Council webpages: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - information for schools and early years settings | Cumbria County Council

Outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting

We are now seeing a small increase in settings reporting cases of diarrhoea and vomiting within the setting. Viral infections that cause diarrhoea and vomiting are extremely common in children and young people, and outbreaks in educational settings are more common over the winter months. As such, we have produced a document that provides information for settings about diarrhoea and vomiting, and about the approach that should be taken if an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting is suspected within an educational setting. This is available on the Cumbria County Council webpages; Coronavirus (COVID-19) - information for schools and early years settings | Cumbria County Council. If an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting is suspected, settings should consult the national guidance (Health protection in schools and other childcare facilities - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), and contact their local UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Health Protection team (Cumbria and Lancashire) on 0344 225 0562 or email cl.hpt@phe.gov.uk.

New electronic reporting system

There has been a short delay in rolling out the new electronic reporting system. This is to ensure that the new system works smoothly, and links into current arrangements for monitoring and maintaining oversight of cases. We hope to provide a further update on progress in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Educational settings should continue to notify the Education Infection Prevention and Control (EIPC) Team of COVID-19 cases, by emailing their notification forms to EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk.

Updated guidance

The Contingency Framework for Education and Childcare settings was updated on the 3rd December and is available here - Contingency framework

Changes include:

  • updated advice to the face coverings section and Annex B to reflect that face coverings are now temporarily recommended in communal areas in all settings for adults and for pupils from year 7 onwards
  • updated advice on tracing close contacts and isolation to reflect the change in measures for close contacts of suspected or confirmed Omicron cases         

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic was updated  on 2nd December and is available here - Actions for early years and childcare providers

Changes include:

  • Added clarification on the use of face visors and face shields by those who are exempt from wearing face coverings and what guidance children and staff must follow when traveling to England from abroad.

New - Speech, language and communication screening tool

Children’s Speech and Language Therapy have launched their new Speech, Language and Communication Screening Tool.

The aims of this tool are:

  • To support parents, settings and professionals in more detailed investigations
  • To help identify children who may require enhanced support with their skills
  • To support further discussions with families, professionals and Speech & Language Therapists when considering making onwards referrals.

The link for the Screening Tool, manual, and a useful ‘how to’ video which will talk through the screener and how you might use it, can be found below


You can also follow the Speech and Language therapy team on Facebook for further updates, advice and information. Find them using the handle @CumbriaCommunicates.

Cumbria 2 year old review - updated template December 2021

With the introduction of the revised EYFS from 1st September 2021, the 2 Year Old Review template was updated and refreshed in order to meet the requirements of the Statutory framework. The format has now been slightly amended. The current version is available on the Early Years website or can be accessed here

Guidance on its use can also be found here Guidance for using the integrated 2 year old review progress check

The 2 Year Old Review remains a statutory assessment for all 2 Year Olds attending an early years setting including childminders. PVI’s and schools. The 2 Year Old Health Assessment remains a mandated contact for health between 2 and 2.5 years of age. Due to the current situation, some children may not have had their 2-2.5 year old visit. however if you have any concerns about the health or development of a child please contact your local health visiting service

In the pilot of the revised template the providers included the completed template in the child’s red book rather than the summary slip and parents provided very positive feedback about the accessibility of this for their family and their health visitor.

Christmas Holidays 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 Christmas holidays. The vouchers will have a value of £78 [13 x £6] 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

Learn - Explore - Debate

NCB recently worked with the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver the latest round of Learn - Explore - Debate events. 

The first session focused on COVID-19 recovery, including a presentation from DfE and a case study from Triangle Nursery School in Lambeth

In the second session, Wendy Ratcliff HMI and Samantha Sleaman-Boss from Ofsted presented on inspections under the revised EYFS and explored the role of assessment in greater detail.

The final session featured a case study from Amy Devine and Angela Prodger from the Pen Green Centre on how to take a celebratory approach to SEND

All of the videos, case studies and slides from the events are now available on the Foundation Years website

Health and Wellbeing

Carlisle castle

Support for victims of domestic abuse

It is estimated that 25% of women and 16% of men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.  Domestic abuse isn’t only violence – it also includes coercive control, harassment or stalking, emotional, sexual, financial, and online abuse.

The ‘16 Days of Action against Domestic Abuse’ campaign (from 25 November to 10 December), is an opportunity for employers to raise awareness of the support available for staff.

Cumbria County Council will show support for domestic abuse survivors by lighting up the Citadel and other buildings in Carlisle during the 16 days.

Support is available

No-one should suffer domestic abuse.  For more on what support is available:

Visit the Domestic abuse support services in Cumbria webpage. 

Home Learning

Early Years

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Twinkle, twinkle Christmas star'.   Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share: Twinkle twinkle Christmas Star.pdf

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

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday