Re-opening of Early Years Settings
From the week commencing 1 June 2020, the government is asking early years providers to begin welcoming back all children, providing the scientific data allows. Please read the guidance that has been issued.
- Guidance – Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Updated 23 June 2020 to reflect that early years providers are now open for all children and to provide additional information on protective measures.
- Actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020
- Coronavirus – implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings
- Guidance for Parents and Carers – Opening settings to more pupils from 1 June
- Planning guide for early years and childcare settings
From 20 July, early years settings will no longer be required to keep children in small, consistent groups within settings. Settings should still consider how they can minimise mixing within settings, for example where they use different rooms for different age groups, keeping those groups apart as much as possible. Please see sections 2.1 and 3.3 of this guidance.
The Educational Psychology Service is offering an individual training opportunity for all staff working in early years settings, and schools to support children and young people as they return following the COVID-19 restrictions.
The session is approximately 90 minutes long and is accessed through YouTube It includes several short activities and opportunities for reflection within in it.
The Department for Education has confirmed that Childminders can open to children from a single household from 13 May 2020. Childminders can care for multiple children from the same household, if they are not already providing care for keyworker children or vulnerable families.
From 1 June, subject to scientific advice Childminders can reopen to all children.
We will keep this page updated and publish further guidance from DfE as soon as it becomes available.
When to close a setting
The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson has asked that all schools and nurseries close from Monday 23 March 2020. However, we need to ask that if you are caring for children of key workers and vulnerable children (those with a Social Worker and or EHC plan) that you stay open as long as possible. This applies to group settings and childminders.
If you have any children of key worker families or vulnerable children and are unable to open or remain open for any reason, then please notify us at SSEEarlyYearsTeam@somerset.gov.uk
The Somerset school closure list can be viewed at www.somerset.gov.uk/school-closures/
Childcare Finder Service
Care should be provided to children of key critical workers and vulnerable children only. This is to limit the spread of the virus.
Other children must remain at home. The Local Offer lists alternate provisions that are available.
Key Workers can also use the Childcare finder service if they are struggling to find care for their children.
We will be processing entitlement claims as normal and will pay 100% of the estimate to settings as soon as possible at the start of April instead of the usual 90%.
Parent Declaration Forms – Summer Term 2020
We will not require Parent Declaration forms for the Summer term 2020 only. Parent Declarations will be required as normal for the Autumn Term 2020 unless otherwise notified.
Legal Documentation and Child Registration Forms
Following the decision relating to the summer 2020 funding period only, that legal documentation did not need to be submitted when claiming the Early Years Entitlement please note that from 1 September 2020 (autumn 2020) it will be back to the normal procedure. Therefore, Early Years Entitlement funding will not be paid for children if legal documentation and a Child Registration Form has not been submitted. This documentation must be saved in PDF form and emailed securely to email@example.com with a subject of Legal Documentation. Please ensure the legal documentation and Child Registration Form for the same child are included in the same email as we cannot accept one without the other.
If you have any legal documentation and Child Registration forms for any child that you will be claiming for in the autumn that you haven’t sent previously, please email this through as soon as possible. We would recommend asking parents as part of the registration process to complete the Child Registration Form and for a copy of the legal documentation. This documentation can be sent in any time before they become eligible for the entitlement. Please do not wait until they become eligible.
Entitlements Team email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01823 357039.
Where to find information
Education Psychology Service Helpline – Phone support for parents and carers.
Department for Education helpline: 0800 046 8687 – Opening hours: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
Latest Department for Education information
Guidance Coronavirus – early years and childcare closures as at 24 March
Business and financial support
Useful Guidance on sources of financial support – PACEY
See the web links for sources of financial support including for the Self-Employed
Latest information and advice for businesses
Guidance, advice, support packages and information are being released and updated on a daily basis for businesses and the self-employed. For current details please visit the COVID 19 web pages on Heart of the South West Growth Hub.
Business Rates Holiday
The Chancellor has announced “To support nurseries at this time, we have decided that they will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from April 2020”
COVID-19 Hardship Grant – We can offer providers who may be suffering severe financial hardship the opportunity to apply for financial assistance. Cases will be looked at on an individual basis and will need to meet specific criteria. Please contact your Early Years Link Officer for more information.
Responsibilities to staff when closed
Please adhere to employment regulations and liaise with childcare’s insurance (legal team)
Useful Guidance on Coronavirus – advice for employers and employees – ACAS
Advice for staff, parents and children
Please adhere to government guidance and follow the NHS advice
Wellbeing – Every Mind Matters
Parents who are struggling to find Childcare – there is a form to complete if they cannot find suitable alternative provision and their setting is closed.
Resources for talking to children about COVID-19
Holiday clubs and out of school settings
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 the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be an exceptional temporary circumstance in which the staff to child ratios set out in the EYFS can be changed if necessary. However, childcare providers or schools remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care and for their staff.
Ratios for childminders remain maximum of 6 children under the age of 8 years.
If you haven’t found what you need, or need more support please phone us on 0300 123 2224
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