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8 June 2020
By The Early Years and Childcare Service

Early Years and Childcare Coronavirus Blog Issue 7

Welcome and Introduction from Alex Gamby

This week, in line with government requirements for all early years and childcare providers to open where possible, we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of settings opening as follows:

  • For group provisions, an increase from approximately 170 settings during May to 399 at the end of this week
  • For childminders, an increase from approximately 460 during May to 561 at the end of this week.

The number of children being cared for has increased accordingly from an approximate average during May of 2,500, to 8,500, with the numbers of children of Critical Workers and vulnerable children integral to those having also increased.

In line with what you are telling us, we expect the number of open providers to grow over the coming days and weeks, particularly as parental confidence grows and demand increases accordingly. To support this and to provide reassurance, we have prepared an ‘open letter’ for families which we will make available through a range of public facing media, signposting them to government information about what early years and childcare providers are required to do. This letter has been sent to providers for you to distribute to your families if you wish. I would like to thank you all for what you have done this week as the early years and childcare sector takes steps along the road to recovery from COVID-19.

Kent County Council Funding Update

Providers have been sent a document ‘Further Guidance for providers regarding funding claims from week commencing 1 June’. This builds on original Funding Guidance sent out on 26 March 2020 (for ease of access if needed accessible here) and Supplementary Guidance on 28 April (here). We do appreciate that a lot of information has been provided and whilst we do welcome any new and unanswered questions, some of those we are receiving relate to information already provided through these funding guidance documents.

Public Health England  

Providers have also been sent a letter from Angela Baker, Deputy Director, Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England, South East, to clarify the action that early years and childcare settings should take if a child or member of staff are displaying coronavirus symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

Government Guidance for This Week

Ofsted: COVID-19 rolling update Updated to add information on completing social care and early years forms online. Ofsted have said that due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), there are likely to be delays in reviewing incoming post. Please use their online forms, if possible, for: early years (Updated 27 May 2020)
Updated with a new section on regulation and inspection of early years providers as they return to providing care for all children, including information for parents of children in early years provision during this time. (Updated 1 June 2020)

Apply for the coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes. (First Published 29 May 2020)

Financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) Updated info on funding. (Updated 29 May 2020)

Check if you can get Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare during coronavirus (COVID-19) Section about ‘if you have missed the 31 March deadline’ has been updated. (Updated 29 May 2020)

Chancellor extends Self-Employment Support Scheme and confirms furlough next steps The government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, giving more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus in the coming months, the Chancellor announced 29 May 2020. (First published 29 May 2020)

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Page updated with information about how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing. (Updated 29 May 2020)

Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus Updated guidance with additional or amended material, including cases in progress on 1 May 2020; annual reviews for those with EHC plans changing phase of education; actions following a tribunal ruling; and unchanged duties in relation to social care provision in plans. Also, improvement to the format of the tables in Annex A and a minor change to footnote 1. (updated 29 May 2020)

Actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020 Updated to reflect the announcement by the Prime Minister that the government’s 5 tests have been met and the decision, based on all the evidence, to move forward with wider opening of education and childcare settings. (Updated 1 June 2020)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings Updated to reflect the announcement by the Prime Minister that the government’s 5 tests have been met and confirmation of wider opening of education and childcare settings from 1 June, and updated information on testing for coronavirus. (Updated 1 June 2020)

Early years foundation stage statutory framework (EYFS) Updated to reflect wider opening of early years settings from 1 June 2020 and to provide a clarification on progress checks for children aged 2. (Updated 1.6.2020)

What parents and carers need to know about schools and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak Updated guidance about the wider opening of education and childcare settings, including details about opening secondary schools to years 10 and 12 from 15 June and links to guidance on safer travel. (Updated 1 June 2020)

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak Updated to include a restructure of the document in line with wider opening, updated content on funding including in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority and insurance, updated content on infection prevention and control, a new section on attendance, new information on the use of community centres and before and after school clubs, a new section of safeguarding and welfare including provisions for children with SEND and a clarification on paediatric first aid certificates. (Updated 2 June 2020)

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak – main changes to previous guidance The most recent Government updates includes clarity for where Out of School provision is operating on a school site and the following guidance must be applied. Ofsted registered out of school provision can only provide childcare to the children who are currently attending school. This provision must operate on the school premises and be able to follow the same health protection procedures as the school and the headteacher must be satisfied with your arrangements. The out of school provision that operates within the school can only provide childcare to the children of that school (you cannot care for children from another school). All other out of school settings are not able to reopen at this time.
If you have an out of school provision operating on a school site you must be working with the school to ensure the same arrangements are being followed, such as keeping children in the same small consistent groups that they are in during the school day.

Childcare providers should not be offering care for school aged children (regardless of year group) during the school day; this includes out of school and early years providers (excluding childminders). If out of school providers are unable to implement the same protective measures as the school, they should continue to remain closed for the time being.

Childminders can provide care for children of all ages from 1st June in line with their current Ofsted registration and within the usual limits on the number of children they can care for.

The ‘Out of School Alliance’ has more information and questions that have been answered by the Government.

What parents and carers need to know about schools and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak Updated information on what parents and carers need to know about schools, colleges and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes information on the curriculum, after school activities, repeating a year for pupils, transport and keeping children safe online. We have also amended information on if it is compulsory to send pupils to educational settings and education for children at home. It also includes updated information for parents of children with special education needs. (Updated 2 June 2020)

Reporting serious incidents to the Charity Commission during the coronavirus pandemic Guidance for trustees on what matters may need to be reported as a serious incident during the coronavirus pandemic. (First published 3 June 2020)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing: privacy information Privacy notice on COVID-19 virus testing for critical workers and their household members who are self-isolating because they are showing symptoms. Both documents have been updated in the following ways: eligibility criteria has been amended, how to get test results without a valid email or mobile number has been added, detail has been added to the explanation of who gives data to whom and a greater emphasis has been placed on informing employers of positive test results. (Updated 3 June 2020)

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust – message from the Kent Oral Health Team

As you are aware, due to the current restrictions with regards to COVID-19, we as a nation have had to adapt to living a different way of life. As a result, most dentists have closed their doors for face-to-face treatment and only emergency dental treatment is available across the country. Despite the government announcing that dentists will reopen on 8 June 2020, this is likely to be a phased opening as many practices will have to put measures in place to protect patients and staff.

The restrictions in accessing routine dental care means that looking after our oral health is all the more important. The Kent Oral Health Team is pleased to be able to offer live online training sessions for staff and students as well as provide further information and resources.

We can offer the following:

  • Live online oral health ‘train the trainer’ sessions for nursery and school staff members
  • Live online oral health promotion sessions for nursery and school children
  • Online resources and information about oral health for children and teachers
  • Information on how to access a dentist for emergency treatment during this time.

For further information or to book a session please contact us on [email protected].

The Childcare Directory now provides a facility for us to denote when a setting is open, partially open or closed on each provider’s profile.

To assist families in finding childcare we therefore intend from next week to start marking profiles where we know a setting is closed.  Therefore if you are a closed setting, as well as letting your Childcare Sufficiency Officer/Childminding Adviser know if you open your setting please also copy in [email protected] so that we can amend your online profile accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions
The Early Years and Childcare Service has published a Frequently Asked Questions document which was recently updated on Kelsi.

Good Practice Examples of How Settings Have Supported Vulnerable or Key Worker Children

This week we have an example of good practice from a provider in the west of the county:

“In order to stay in touch with families who were not attending during the lockdown we used an online system called Tapestry and our Facebook page to provide activities for the children and links to other activities, ideas and mental health support for children and the families.  We also spoke with a number of families who were looking for advice and support regarding behaviour, sleeping etc.”

Please tell more us about the excellent work you are doing so that we can share your stories in this section.

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