Coronavirus - update for early years settings
Page updated: 8 September 2020
This dedicated webpage will provide government guidance to Staffordshire childcare settings for the autumn 2020 term. We will also share information on what settings need to consider when re-opening, before and after school and split provision. On this page information is available on:
Local outbreak control (test and trace)
What to do if when there are two or more confirmed or suspected Covid19 cases within 14 days at the setting.
holiday clubs/ out of school care and split provision, financial support / business hub/ furlough scheme, re-opening a childcare setting, what to do if child displays symptoms and more.
Funded childcare places
For 2, 3 and 4 year olds for autumn 2020.
Frequently asked questions
Your questions answered on: support available, PPE and testing kits, community centres, social distancing, CMA update and funded childcare
Local outbreak control and test and trace
Settings must familiarise themselves with what to do in the event of a Covid19 outbreak or suspected cases. In this section you will find information and guidance on the reporting process in Staffordshire. It is important settings take immediate action and follow the reporting processes which must occur when a setting has two or more confirmed or suspected Covid19 cases within 14 days of each other.
Action cards: PHE have produced action cards (92KB) for childcare settings regarding key steps to quickly identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreak.
Report confirmed cases of Covid19 to: Health Protection Team in Public Health England using the:
Settings can also inform the local outbreak control team at Staffordshire County Council or get advice on suspected cases. The team should also be contacted for advice on suspected cases.
Can staff at childcare settings get tested for Covid-19?
Education settings, as employers, can book tests through an online digital portal. There is also an option for employees to book tests directly on the portal.
Guidance and support for early years settings during Covid-19
- New: Guidance for educational settings includes protective measures, restrictions and actions if child has symptoms or confirmed cases. (DfE update 7 September 2020)
- The Business Support Hub - settings can find information on eligibility and how to apply for: tax relief, job retention scheme, business rate holidays, furlough, self-employment grant, small business grant and more.
- Home schooling and play (327 KB) - case study - Little Owls Childcare and Oaklands Nursery School on impact of families and wellbeing
If any setting temporally closes or re-opens, we politely ask if you can keep us up to date and complete and relevant surveys that we send out.
Settings who close and need to signpost keyworkers looking for childcare please email our Early Education and Childcare Team and we will assist.
DfE coronavirus contacts
The Department for Education (DfE) have a dedicated website and helpline to answer questions about Covid-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials. Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted as more resources are made available.
Frequently asked questions
Is the council co-ordinating a response for early years?
Yes, and we will continue to contact childcare settings with help from our colleagues at Entrust to obtain information on which settings are open or closed and our team are constantly reviewing the impact of the virus and sustainability in the sector. Completing the weekly DfE updates help us to do this.
Do settings have to re-open from September?
Settings are encouraged to re-open as normal in autumn term. Any setting that has not re-opened will have funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds held back for children, this is unless the setting is part of an outbreak or local lockdown.
Is there support available to discuss re-opening a setting or any other considerations?
Some support is available via our Entrust Early Years colleagues. If you know your district consultant you can contact them directly or email the Early Education and Childcare Team detailing your enquiry and will contact the business team on your behalf.
Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing kits for settings?
The council contacted education settings about providing a free emergency pack of PPE which is available for collection at local fire stations in June.
DfE are supplying testing kits to schools, local authorities have been in discussions with the DfE about supplying test kits to childcare settings. We will announce any update on this, but staff can currently book for tests
What is the advice for children attending more than one setting which could include before and after school care/ wraparound, holiday clubs and for childminder dropping off/ collecting children?
Ideally parents should attend only one setting but with some settings (schools in particular) operating approximately 9am - 3.30pm, PHE and the government realise parents will require more than one setting to meet their working requirements and childcare needs, and this is allowed.
Settings are encouraged to accommodate the childcare needs of families as normally as possible and follow the government guidelines on how this can be done. We have also produced guidance and considerations for settings to review
Can settings at community venues open?
Yes, from 1 June, community centres or places of worship were allowed to open for providers on the early years register which usually use those premises. Providers should ensure they are acting in line with the protective measures and safe working guidance
From 20 July, community-facing premises including village halls, community centres and places of worship were asked to consider opening for holiday clubs and activities.
Is there advice and guidance for parents?
Government have also issued some advice and guidance to parents accessing which was update on 1 September 2020.
Where else can settings go to seek business advice, insurance and potential impact of an enforced closure?
Settings are advised to contact their insurance company to seek advice on their policy in the event of a closure. Settings are also advised to contact organisations such as the NDNA, Pacey, EY Alliance (formerly PLA).
Do settings have to consider social distancing elements for parents dropping off and picking up children?
Yes, settings are advised to adhere to social distancing guidance, particularly in relation to parents (or childminders) collecting or dropping off children and congregating in foyer areas. Settings may need to advise to wait at the premises entrance or gates or even stagger collections or drops offs, but clear guidance must be put in place for all visitors to the setting.
What if a funded child left my setting in the summer term?
We paid 100% of claims for the summer term in April 2020 to those settings who completed the forecast task in March 2020.
Any child who left a setting this summer term, the provider will retain the funding they claimed for that child in the forecast and we will not be asking for it back.
Similarly, providers were able to claim for children who are starting with them from 1 June 2020.
What must settings consider when charging parents during lockdown period? Competition and Markets Authority update
The CMA investigated and released information and guidance on considerations for the early years sector when it comes to contracts, charges and fair or unfair practices with parents and childcare charges:
CMA: Early Years Sector - Consumer Law on privately charging parents during a lockdown (DfE update 28 July)
If settings have any further enquires not covered above which are related to early education funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds who can they contact?
Contact our team and we will endeavour to provide or seek a response.
Can clarity be provided about the definition of vulnerable children and keyworkers?
Vulnerable children now include only children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. In some cases, evidence maybe required.
Government has released information on the full list of vulnerable children and the keyworker list.