Coronovirus (Covid 19) - Safeguarding updates

Email dated   19.3.20

Dear Early Years Colleagues,

We hope you are keeping well during this period of change and difficulty.

As the government has now produced guidance on key workers and the continuing provision of education for identified children, you may wish to update the information we have asked you to send in regarding the numbers of children and your plans for opening. If so please send in an updated list.

Full guidance for maintaining educational provision can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

There is further guidance available for parents and carers which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

The guidance is clear that where a child can be kept at home, this still remains the best option and this is reflected in the to support social-distancing.  However, if a child has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.

The government has published these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

If any parents’ work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or they work in one of the critical sectors identified in the guidance, and they cannot keep their child safe at home then their children will need to be prioritised for education provision.

You will see from the bold text, the presumption is that children should be at home if at all possible but settings will have to make a judgement based on discussions with families and their particular context.  At this challenging time, we appreciate this will not always be easy but providers are best placed to understand the needs of their children and families and we are confident they will make decisions in the best interests of children, families and staff.

We have also been asked to send the following safeguarding updates out to all early years providers on behalf of the Schools Safeguarding in Education Team…

ACTION REQUIRED – out of office numbers needed

Given the most recent recommendations from the government, it is imperative that safeguarding partners are able to contact you as DSLs/Safeguarding teams. Please can you ensure that your setting has completed the following corresponding surveys. Please prioritise this, we will be contacting you next week if you have not done this. To read more about this click here.

 

Primary/Secondary/ and Post 16 settings (Special, PRUS and independent)

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JGQNJZV

Early Years (maintained and PVIs)

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JZ8JKCV

Alternative Learning Providers (Academies and independent)

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JPJPRPB

 

First Response Update:

The First Response team are also experiencing disruption due to coronavirus. Please be mindful of this when phoning through for support as resources are being allocated to priority cases.

A number of settings have been phoning to refer cases that would not normally meet the threshold for social care interventions such as low level parenting needs, social needs or complicated family situations. Please consider seeking advice and guidance from your locality Families in Focus for advice around what can be provided for early help. Click here for contacts.

If there is early help support the setting can make in partnership with other providers please consider this first and monitor consistently with practice around the vulnerable children list.

Citizen Service Point at 100 Temple Street

 From 18 March the Citizen Service Point (CSP) will only be handling emergency cases until further notice.

The decision has been taken to promote social distancing and to ensure some protection for frontline staff who serve hundreds of citizens on a daily basis. Services which will temporarily cease to be accessed via the CSP are all available either online or by telephone.

Essential – services that will continue

  • Local Crisis Prevention Fund
  • Homelessness – if citizens are not homeless on the day a triage can be undertaken on the phone
  • Antisocial Behaviour (severe cases)
  • Keys for end of tenancy
  • Licencing will be provided by licensing service but will be limited
  • Scan Coin machines for payments
  • Self-serve computers will be available (spaced out)

Non-essential – services that will not be available at the CSP for a short period

  • Assistance to complete Home Choice Bristol forms – (online or phone)
  • Assistance on other application forms (Housing Benefit, Council Tax etc.) – (online support available by phone)
  • Providing supporting documents for applications – (online)
  • EU Settlement applications – (online or a rearranged appointment at a later date)
  • Travel Card and Blue Badges – (online or phone)
  • Notifying tenancy changes – (online)
  • Council Tax Reduction – (online or phone)
  • Universal Credit (except in an emergency) – can contact DWP and CAB for advice
  • Applying for white goods – (online or phone)

Best Wishes

The Early Years Team

Contacts

Deborah Brown - (General Enquries)
Dawn Butler - (General Enquiries)
Nicola Theobald - (General and Nursery School Enquiries)
Sharon McDonald - (Childminder Enquiries)