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Our support to the EY sector throughout COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for many businesses and this also applies to the early years sector.

Part of the role of the Early Education and Childcare Team (EEAC), Finance Team and our education partner, Entrust, has been to provide additional support since March 2020. Our remit was to help support childcare settings (inc childminders) to continue doing their amazing work in educating and caring for young children and enabling parents to go to work particularly critical workers.

We have produced a timeline of additional support made available to the sector, some of which was initiated due to discussions or feedback from the sector where we listened and actioned.

Summer term 2020

  • April 2020: EEAC committed to an Early Education Funding (EEF) pay-out of 100% to settings for claims made in the forecast task for summer term even if a setting did/ could not reopen in summer. The local decision not to claw back any funding in summer term (even if the child moved or left) was made prior to any government announcement.

  • April 2020: Weekly EEAC Updates Communications - ongoing and now fortnightly. Ongoing communication relevant to the EY sector including key updates related to COVID-19, Ofsted, financial support, government guidance, training/ webinars, health and wellbeing, family support and much more.

  • April 2020: Dedicated COVID-19 support webpage - ongoing. A new support webpage was set up for the EY sector which acts as a one stop site for government guidance, financial support, FAQs, PHE, actions for outbreaks, home learning, regular updates and more

  • April 2020: Critical Worker Childcare Grant, arranged to provide some financial support to settings who remained open for critical workers and vulnerable children during the early weeks of summer 2020.

    • £750.00 per week for non-domestic settings
    • £80.00 per week for childminders
  • April 2020: Commissioned support through Entrust - ongoing: ref business and health checks for settings who had been impacted by COVID-19. Contacting settings directly impacted by the virus, EYFS disapplication advice and guidance, advising on marketing and promotion of setting, development a specific package of support for sustainability following the pandemic for any early years provision.

  • May 2020: Market Recovery Group - ongoing, assembled a recovery group for non-domestic settings to discuss current climate concerns and considerations moving forward. Ongoing every fortnight.

  • June 2020: Market Recovery Group for childminders - ongoing, to discuss current climate concerns and considerations moving forward. Ongoing every six weeks.
  • June 2020: PPE. Set up of an emergency PPE package for the EY sector that was arranged to be collected from local fire stations.

  • August 2020: Diagnostic and re-opening / rag support: Entrust produced a diagnostic check to prepare settings that were closed to reopen their business again. All settings that remained closed from March 2020 to September 2020 were contacted to ensure they understood the current DfE guidance including the required risk assessments and systems of control processes. Assessment of the settings' readiness to open and rate them accordingly.

Autumn Term 2020

  • September 2020: Committed to funding EEF (75%) at autumn 2019 levels. For settings whose attendance numbers were lower than expected and fell below any claims made in Autumn 2019, additional funding was passed on to aid sustainability for those settings as per DfE guidance.
  • September 2020: Local Outbreak Control Team support for EY sector - ongoing. Dedicated team, telephone line, email and webpage (webpage no longer available) ref Local Outbreak Control Team and information/ advice on how settings should respond to COVID-19 cases and who contact for support.

Spring Term 2021

  • January 2021: Guaranteed EEF for families and settings where parents chose not send children for funded hours / cover child absence or settings who were impacted by COVID-19. EEF was covered beyond the current Council attendance policy of 20 days absence and has since been extended to cover impacts until 8 March 2021, longer for critically vulnerable children (CEV) who are still shielding.

  • January 2021: Roll out of Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) and PPE. LFT for non-domestic settings on site (opt in) and access to local testing centres for childminders ahead of government roll out. 

    First phase non-domestic settings were trained and began testing early January. A further 4 phases were rolled out-onboarded, trained and had delivery of free LFD/ PPE which took place through February and early March. 70% of non-domestic settings are now taking part.

  • January 2021: COVID-19 Impacts Grant for spring term only- for settings affected by COVID-19 who had to close their setting or isolate rooms due to staff or children testing positive.

    • £400.00 per week for non-domestic full closures (max pay out £800.00)

    • £200.00 per week for non-domestic room closures (max pay out £800.00)

    • £80.00 per week for any childminder impacts (max pay out £360.00)
  • February 2021: Vaccinations, for practitioners / carers looking after for critically vulnerable children (CEV) in settings.

  • March 2021: Childminders and home testing: Childminders were contacted on 5 March to inform them about LFT kits being made available  for home testing. More information to follow.

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