Covid-19 Preparing to Open Letter to PVI sector

Letter dated   15.05.20

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you and your team are well in these fast changing times as we now begin to think about the reopening of early years providers for more children. We are very aware that the government’s intention to return presents early years providers with a unique set of challenges, whether this will be extending your setting’s current offer, or reopening after a period of closure.

Each setting will need to reconsider routines and timings, with risk assessments, to create a ‘refreshed’ offer for children, according to the government guidance and priorities (links below in case you haven’t seen them). The LA has been advised by the DfE that further operational guidance being referred to as an ‘implementation toolkit’ will be published early next week, so please look out for it. Our understanding is that this includes a model letter to parents/carers. (We will ask the Lead Teachers to bring this to your attention)

There is an expectation that critical worker children and vulnerable children of all ages continue to attend and that when beginning to welcome back other children, priority is given to the pre-school year group if available spaces are limited.

The government guidance is specific in stating that settings are expected to carry out a risk assessment and to use their professional judgement on what is possible at this time. It also states that “it may be necessary for providers to put a temporary cap on numbers to ensure that safety is prioritised.”

Further communication regarding the Government’s announcement from the Director of Education will follow next week along with a template Risk Assessment. The LA recognises that providers must respond to their unique circumstances and adopt a bespoke approach to this situation. The health and safety of children and staff is paramount in any decision-making and must guide your planning.

Further details are in the documents below:

  1. 05.2020 – Our plan to rebuild – This is a 51 page document covering the recover strategy. There are references to ‘childcare’ on page 26 and also in Annex A: Staying Safe outside your home on page 49, as well as a useful summary of ‘Vulnerable Groups’ on page 51. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

 

  1. 05.2020 – Opening Schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1st June: Guidance for parents and carers – This goes into more detail about what parents should be able to expect from 1st June 2020 and crucially says that ‘nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back all children from 1st June https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

 

  1. 05.2020 – Actions for Education and Childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1st June 2020 – This discusses in more detail why specific year groups are being asked to go back first https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/actions-for-education-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020

 

  1. 05.2020 – Opening schools for more children and young people: initial planning framework – This is a checklist of sorts to allow providers to think on the many different themes before making decisions on how to offer childcare https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/opening-schools-for-more-children-and-young-people-initial-planning-framework-for-schools-in-england

 

  1. 05.2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings – This gives guidance to providers on effective infection protection and control and explains about when it may be necessary (or not) to use PPE and/or face masks https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings

 

A Unique Transition.

The LA is also hoping to produce guidance to support this unique transition experience. It will contain practical support for well-being, PSED, learning and assessment and SEND which should be of help as we go forwards.

 

Foundation Years website.

The DfE’s Foundation Years website is a useful official source of government early years information and updates.

https://foundationyears.org.uk/

 

Please be mindful that the 1st June 2020 is subject to the Government’s ‘roadmap’ strategy to lift restrictions and could be postponed  if targets are not met surrounding the rate of infection (referred to as ‘R’). The DfE has made it clear that there will be a touchpoint at the end of May to review the 1st June date.

The LA EY Consultants, Early Years Inclusion Team and Lead Teachers will be available to offer further support at this stage. We will bring together key considerations and models of provision to share with you. These will be for your review and reflection, as we appreciate your approach will need to be bespoke. If you are developing approaches that you feel will support your colleagues, please let us know in order that we can plan for their wider dissemination.

Thank you once again for your hard work and determination throughout this crisis.

 

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)