Early Years Update 23/02/2022

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Early Years

In today's update:

Public Health Updates

Prime Minister’s announcement on the Living with COVID-19 plan – What it means for Early Years settings

On the 21 February, the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the government’s COVID-19 response ‘Living with COVID-19’.

Further information on what this means for early years settings is below.

Changes to routine LFD testing

From Monday 21 February, the Government is removing the guidance for staff in early years settings to undertake twice-weekly asymptomatic testing. The Government is removing this guidance because the risks of severe illness from COVID-19 in most children and most fully vaccinated adults are very low.

Staff will be able to access test kits from their local pharmacy or online.

If you are due to receive a delivery of test kits during this week you will receive a separate communication in relation to this.

For more information, please visit our frequently asked questions on the document sharing platform.

Changes to self-isolation and daily testing of close contacts

From Thursday 24 February, the Government will remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test.  Adults and children (including those under the age of 5) who test positive will continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days, and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days. Early years settings should encourage families to follow this guidance.

In addition, the Government will:

·       No longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 to test daily for 7 days, and remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate.

·       End self-isolation support payments (so please bear in mind that parents on a low income who have to stay at home to look after young children who have tested positive will no longer be able to claim a support payment).

·       End routine contact tracing. Contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests. Staff, children and young people who are close contacts of a positive case should attend their early years setting as usual. This includes staff who have been in close contact within their household, unless they are able to work from home. It also includes children who are siblings of positive cases, therefore our local enhanced guidance (which supported early years settings to ask parents and carers to keep children who were household close contacts of a positive case at home for 5 days) will also end.

·       End the legal obligation for individuals to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate.

More detail can be found in the Living with COVID-19 plan published today.

Further detail will be published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Thursday 24 February.

From Friday 1 April, the Government will:

·       Update guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people. This will align with the changes to testing.

·       No longer provide free to order universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England.

·       Consolidate guidance to the public and businesses, in line with public health advice.


Closure of the UKHSA advice service

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement confirming that self-isolation is no longer a legal requirement following a positive test and the publication of the Living with COVID-19 plan, the UKHSA advice service will be decommissioned from 31 March 2022.

The UKHSA advice service, accessed through option 1 of the DfE COVID-19 helpline, was introduced by UKHSA’s predecessor, Public Health England (PHE), in September 2020. This was to provide advice to education and childcare settings on the action they should take to respond to positive cases of COVID-19 in their setting.

Support will continue to be available via the Education IPC team at Cumbria County Council. Please continue to email EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk if you have any queries. The DfE COVID-19 helpline will still be available to answer your questions relating to COVID-19 in education and childcare settings, once the UKHSA advice service is switched off (and can be used outside of office hours when the Education IPC team is not available)

Early years settings no longer required to notify Ofsted of positive cases

From Monday 21 February, the Government will no longer require early years settings to notify Ofsted of COVID-19 cases in their setting.

Since Summer 2020, Ofsted have processed COVID-19 notifications from early years settings on behalf of DfE. This data has helped DfE understand the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. However, the Government has confirmed that now is an appropriate time to end this data collection.

For outbreak management purposes, until further notice, please continue to notify positive cases to the Education IPC team at Cumbria County Council using either the online notification process or by emailing details securely to EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk

It remains a legal requirement under the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework to report cases of serious illness. You should notify Ofsted as soon as practical, and in any case, within 14 days of a notifiable event happening. For information about what is classed as a notifiable event or serious incident and what to tell Ofsted, please refer to the guidance on reporting a serious childcare incident.

DfE and Ofsted will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in early years settings through other data sources and through direct engagement with the sector.

Supporting and enhancing early education for two year olds - toolkit for practitioners

We have updated the “Supporting and enhancing early education for two year olds - toolkit for practitioners” and it is now available on our website.

Document available here

We also have a dedicated webpage for the toolkit. On here you can click on the areas that you are interested in, the areas that are covered are; Brain development, Attachment/Key person, Working with parents and home learning, Enabling environments and characteristics of effective teaching and learning, Schematic play and common patterns of play, Managing behaviour, The 7 areas of learning and development, Children with additional needs, Progress check at age 2, Ratios and mixed age provision, Free Early Education for 2 year olds and Frequently Asked Questions.

Find the webpage here

Healthy Pledge

Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge

There is still time to submit your pledge workbook before the next panel meeting is held. Here are some examples of the brilliant things our pledge settings are doing to help our early years families be healthy and happy.

“Within the garden we have an enclosed area which is reserved for woodwork.  There is a huge amount of learning that happens in the wood workshop.  In this area, children will develop their physical coordination, fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination”

“In each room there is drinking water available for children to help themselves to (where age appropriate) as well as a fruit bowl should children get hungry in between mealtimes.”

“Children are involved in food preparation where appropriate and often engage in baking experiences. All mealtimes and food experiences are the perfect opportunity to engage children in conversations about the importance of healthy food choices.”

“Every day we go out for a walk. My curriculum is based around nature. We spend most of the time outdoors exploring. We start the day with wake up, shake up. We love being active, yoga and dancing are a daily activity.”

We would love to hear about the fabulous things you are doing, here is a link to our Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge webpage where you can find out more and download the workbook. We also have a private Facebook page, where we share ideas. https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/publichealth/healthyfamiliescumbriapledge.asp    


Happy Mums – Supporting Parental Mental Health

This awareness-raising training is aimed at staff in day nurseries and pre-schools, as well as childminders, to increase your knowledge and confidence in addressing the mental health challenges faced by parents of young children. The Early Years workforce has a crucial role to play in supporting parents and signposting to further help, with a view to improving the life chances of the children in their care. This session is designed for one or two members of staff per setting to attend as ‘Parent Mental Health Champions’ and cascade information to their colleagues.

Next Session: Monday 28th February 2022 at Harraby Community Centre, Carlisle, 2-5pm

 To book a place at £35 per person please contact Katie Bruce, Admin Officer via info@happymums.org.uk or 01228 592301

See flyer for more information 

Safeguarding and welfare

Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL)  -  The next DSL networks were due to be held on Tuesday 15th March. We have cancelled these are they were in the same week as the CSCP Safeguarding week events. We encourage you to have a look at the programme and book onto some of these free events. They include “SAFER SLEEP”,  SAFEGUARDING IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS” and “EARLY HELP TRAINING”.  This year’s theme is “Learning from Practice” – more details of the events and how to book on are available here

The next round of  DSL network meetings will be held on Tuesday 28th June 2022.

Internet safety

The DfE have published some information on screen time in the early years and information on how to keep children safe online. Online safety is also highlighted in the Early Years Foundation Stage

Ghislaine Bombusa, Head of Digital at Internet Matters works closely with online safety experts to develop advice and guidance that helps to educate and inform parents about online safety issues.

SEND workshops

There are a number of Contact workshops  early-years workshops for parents (and practitioners) which are free until the end of March.

The  EYSEND Calendar also has details of events which are run by a number of SEND partners.

Free online lecture – Nancy Stewart

Cherishing the growth of young children: what early years education can be Monday 14 March 2022 at 4.45pm. Please see flyer for more information and how to book.

Home Learning

Early Years

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears'.  Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share - When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears

Upcoming Events

Save the date

You are invited to the spring Manager's Network Meeting for your area-

Carlisle and Eden Wed 2nd March 1.30 to 3pm or 6 to 7.30pm please email Karen.Clarke@cumbria.gov.uk to book your place

Allerdale and Copeland Wed 2nd March 1.30 to 3pm or 6 to 7.30pm please email karen.norman@cumbria.gov.uk to book your place

Barrow and South Lakes Wed 2nd March 1.30 to 3pm or 6 to 7.30pm please email Laura.kendall@cumbria.gov.uk  to book a place