Coronavirus - update for early years settings
Page updated: 23 November 2020
This dedicated webpage will provide government guidance to Staffordshire childcare settings for the autumn 2020 term. On this page information is available on:
Local outbreak control - actions for setting with confirmed Covid19 or suspected cases
Contacting the Local Outbreak Control Team for confirmed or suspected Covid19 cases at a childcare setting and step by step guide, including considerations for childminders and reporting to Ofsted
Guidance and financial support for early years settings
Government guidance on early years actions, holiday clubs/ out of school care and split provision, financial support, furlough scheme, re-opening a childcare setting, funded hours 2, 3 and 4 year olds and more.
Frequently asked questions
Your questions are answered on: support available, PPE and testing kits/ download posters, community centres, social distancing, CMA update, redundancy/ looking for work and funded childcare.
Local outbreak control - actions for settings with confirmed Covid19 or suspected cases
Important - settings must take action
Settings (includes childminders) must familiarise themselves with what to do in the event of a Covid19 case 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.
1. Settings must inform the Local Outbreak Control team at Staffordshire County Council on suspected or confirmed cases and follow the steps as outlined:
2. For general infection control concerns or questions:
3. Settings must also tell Ofsted if they have a case of covid19 and the setting must close.
4. Settings can also seek advice by contacting the DfE if they cannot contact the Local Outbreak Control Team:
- 0800 046 8687 (option 1) which has replaced the previous local Public Health England lines. Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
**NOTE it is advisable the Local Outbreak Control Team, should be the first initial contact
Staff at childcare settings booking a test 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 financial support for early years settings during Covid-19
- Guidance for educational settings includes protective measures, cleaning, restrictions, managing cases for staff and children, visitors to the setting, attendance, informal childcare and much more (DfE update 5 November 2020)
- Financial Support for Early Years - settings can find information on eligibility and how to apply for: tax relief, job retention scheme/ furlough (CJRS), business rate holidays, self-employment grant, small business grant, Test and Trace grant and more (13 November 2020)
- Home schooling and play (327 KB) - case study - Little Owls Childcare and Oaklands Nursery School on impact of families and wellbeing
- Posters and digital materials have been produced by Public health England. Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted as more resources are made available. The Council has also produced materials that can be used by early years setting
If any setting temporally closes or re-opens, we politely ask if you can keep us up to date and complete the weekly 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.
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. Settings completing the weekly DfE survey help us to do this.
What do I need to do in confirmed or suspected cases of Covid19?
We have supplied full guidance, steps and flowchart that advises settings on what to do in relation to suspected cases or an outbreak.
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.
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
Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing kits for settings?
The council contacted education settings about providing a free emergency pack of PPE which was available for collection at local fire stations in June.
Information on current and emergency supply of PPE can be found on our dedicated PPE page
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
Can settings at community venues open?
Venues that are multi-use purposes facilities can open when providing childcare and youth activities. Full guidance and measures for safe use at such venues
Is there advice and guidance for parents?
Government have also issued advice and guidance to parents
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 (childminders), 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 those dropping off/ collecting children 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 in the summer term, the provider will retain the funding they claimed for that child in the forecast and we did not 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.
Redundancy and careers advice for employees
The National Careers Service has set up and triage service to give people advice concerned about redundancy or finding work
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.