Health, welfare and EYFS disapplication during Covid-19
The DfE expect childcare settings, schools and local authorities (LA) to work together to ensure that different settings are supported to stay open wherever possible, taking into account their circumstances and cohort. Local authorities can help coordinate what this means, working with childcare settings to deliver the services required. This may take some time to organise at a local level and we ask you to keep us (LA) updated so we know which settings are offering care to priority children and can support them accordingly.
With significantly reduced numbers of children attending, and risks of under-staffing due to illness, we understand that shared provision through early years hubs and clusters is an option being considered in some areas.
There are issues to balance when making choices about provision at this time. First and foremost is public health, which remains the priority. Any arrangements should enable staff and children to limit risks relating to the spread of the virus.
EYFS - disapplication update and FAQs
Section 3: ‘This guidance outlines the temporary changes that came into force on 24 April 2020 and will last throughout the COVID-19 outbreak or until government stipulates otherwise. The long end date of the legislative changes is shown in regulations as 25 September 2020, but these will be reviewed on a monthly basis and dis-applications and modifications may be lifted earlier, for instance if government advice on self-isolation and social distancing is amended’. (EYFS, 24 April 2020)
It is your responsibility to read these in full, however, below are some FAQs and key updates from the temporary changes made to the document.
Does the Early Years Foundation Stage still apply during COVID19?
The DfE are keeping the regulatory position under review and will provide further information if any changes to the EYFS statutory framework are made during this period.
Can settings vary staff to child ratios?
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.’
The DfE 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 settings or schools remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care.
What if a member of staff already has an enhanced DBS check but is moving temporarily to another early years setting?
Where members of the early years and childcare workforce are already engaging in regulated activity and already have the appropriate DBS check, there is no expectation that a new DBS check should be obtained for them to temporarily move to another setting to support the care of children.
The onus remains on the receiving setting to satisfy themselves that someone in their setting has had the required checks, including seeking assurance from the current employer rather than requiring new checks.
Check if the new member of staff is on the DBS update service. Further information about DBS.
Which policies and procedures should be used?
The Early Years provision providing the care are to supply all their policies and procedures including health and safety guidance to all visiting staff e.g. signing in, fire safety including fire exits, first aid. (In accordance with EYFS)
The Early Years provision is to provide safeguarding procedure information e.g. details of duty DSL, contact numbers for First Response, LADO guidance
Does someone with a paediatric first aid certificate still need to be on site?
The requirements in the EYFS on paediatric first aid certification remain in place to ensure children are kept safe. Paragraph 3.25 and Annex A of the EYFS set out the requirements, including that ‘at least one person who has a current paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present, and must accompany children on outings.’
If settings or schools are using different parts of the building to ensure social distancing is adhered to then providers should take into account number of children, staff and layout of premises to ensure that a Paediatric first aider is able to responsd to emergencies quickly- EYFS paragraph 3.25.
Consider where emergency medication is kept ensuring easy access and in close proximity to the child, for example, if the provision is now spread across the buildings.
Ensure emergency medication and instructions are clear and highly visible to all staff including those who may be temporary to your setting.
The requirement for all newly qualified entrants to the early years workforce to have a full PFA or emergency PFA certificate within three months of starting work in order to be included in the required staff: child ratios at level 2 or level 3 will be disapplied.
What happens if staff need to renew their paediatric first aid certificates?
If paediatric first aid certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus (Covid-19), or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended by up to 3 months. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020.
What about Staffordshire Safeguarding (SSCB) considerations?
Covid-19 Safeguarding guidance for settings where staff may have to support at a different education setting, in relation to Staffordshire Safer Recruitment practices. Further information can be obtained in the link:
SSCB suggest providers communicate via email to confirm details of staff names who will be moving to the new provision.
SSCB suggest that staff provide their line managers contact number and name as a means of cross reference for the new provision.
Maintaining or forming secure attachments
This is key to children’s sense of security and feeling safe. To support this in these challenging circumstances steps can be taken to ensure children are introduced to new practitioners along with parents where possible.
Try to maintain some level of consistency of staffing where possible.
Be aware of children’s emotional trauma during these difficult times, separation from all that is familiar and some of their trusted adults.
When needing to mix age groups which is highly likely in these circumstances, ensure that children have access to age and stage appropriate resources /spaces and practitioner support.
Use the age divide to create activities where older children can support younger ones, reading stories, playing outdoor games etc.
What public health advice should childcare settings follow?
Settings should continue to follow the advice from Public Health England on handwashing and other measures to limit the risk of spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Regarding personal protective equipment (PPE), early years providers already use necessary PPE items when undertaking personal hygiene processes with children. Regarding the use of any additional PPE, it is advised that you follow the guidance from Public Heath England.
Hand washing and general self-care
Educational settings can help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by reminding everyone of the public health advice.
Please follow the key principles to adhere to keep children and staff safe.