Early Years Update

Email dated 29.06.2021

 

Dear Colleagues, 

As the end of term draws closer and the work to support children’s transition to school gets busier, we would like to draw your attention to a few important updates about transition to school through continuing Covid restrictions, Covid news, and the EYFS reforms.

Please do stay connected to the Bristol Early Years Website for current information and resources to support you and ask your lead teacher for support if needed. 

https://www.bristolearlyyears.org.uk/

Whether you are finishing term on 21st July or continuing through the summer, we wish you all very enjoyable last few weeks with your preschool children and a very safe end to the school year. 

With best wishes and many thanks for your continuing hard work and resilience through such challenging times, 

The Early Years team

School and Setting Transition Arrangements  

As the country is still in the 4-week pause at Step 3 of Covid restrictions, it is important to note that the Step 3 restrictions remain in place, including those set out in the COVID-19 operational guidance for schools and settings.

This means that early years, schools and colleges must continue to risk assess and plan activities in line with the system of controls and should follow government guidance. However, many settings and schools have been in contact about the arrangements seeking clarification. The information below is based on government guidance, BCC Public Health guidance and feedback from the sector, and is provided to support colleagues in working together to review planned activities.

  • The government guidance recommends schools and setting should complete thorough risk assessments before running transitional, taster and open days to ensure that they are run in line with the system of controls that are in place and that they align with the advice contained within the appropriate guidance for schools and settings and the roadmap out of lockdown.
  • This means that traditional transitional visits are unlikely to be feasible this academic year and schools and settings should consider moving to a virtual transition process in full where possible.
  • However, national guidance stresses that the government are keen not to restrict individual settings from designing events which maintain the integrity of bubbles or consistent groups and adhere to the system of controls in place.

Therefore, schools and settings must consider the following if they are planning to hold any type of transitional event on site:

  • Review current risk assessments for any transitional activities that will be held on site
  • Provide outside activities where possible – ventilation continues to be a key aid in reducing the spread
  • Arrangements must maintain the integrity of bubbles
  • Comprehensive data collection to enable contact tracing if a case were to emerge post visit
  • LFD Testing of adults in households prior to attending transition days to assist identification of cases that are asymptomatic

 

We would also encourage:

  • Clear messaging to families that if their child is unwell that they do not attend a transition session.
  • That children from setting with an active outbreak should not attend transition days

There have also been enquires about arrangements for September, and the possibility of settings supporting families with staggered entry to primary schools by providing places when the child is not in school. It is not currently possible to predict what Covid restrictions may be in place in September, and in the light of rising Covid cases, we therefore advise clear messaging to parents that settings cannot agree to undertake such arrangements and will be guided by the available government guidance at the time.

Please refer to Government guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/actions-for-early-years-and-childcare-providers-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

 

 The School Transfer document 

The Transfer documentation and guidance to support transition of all children, and children with SEND, is available to download from the Bristol Early Years website. Please remember to password protect the documents before emailing to schools. We understand that this is time consuming, but it is an important safeguarding protection process and thank you for your time in doing this. Schools are being reminded to inform you when they receive the documents, please liaise with your lead teacher if you have any difficulties with this.

https://www.bristolearlyyears.org.uk/

 

EYFS reforms – additional briefing – see attachment

An additional date for an EYFS Reforms briefing, covering the changes to the Statutory EYFS framework as well as information about non-statutory documents and guidance, for settings has been arranged:

July 13th at 2pm – 3pm. Please see the attached flyer for the Zoom link. We strongly recommend that setting leaders unable attend one of the first sessions try to attend this session.

 

EYFS Reforms – Department for Education online resources
From September 2021
, all early years providers must follow the new early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework.

 

The key aims of the reforms are to:

• improve child outcomes at age 5, particularly in early language and literacy, especially for disadvantaged children; and

• reduce workload, such as unnecessary paperwork, so that practitioners can spend more time interacting with the children in their care.

To support the implementation of the revised EYFS, the Department for Education has developed a new online service for private, voluntary and independent early years settings and childminders. This service provides resources, advice and support to help practitioners to understand the requirements for each area of learning and development and what these requirements mean in practice. The new service is now live on gov.uk and can be accessed here – Prepare for changes to the early years foundation stage framework – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Early Years team recommend that settings try to find time to explore these online resources – you may recognise a few familiar Bristol faces in some of the videos!

 

Covid Updates 

You may have seen in the media today, speculation about the possibility of the ending of isolation in the autumn, for contacts of children with Covid in schools and early years settings. We will of course keep you updated with government policy, but we want to remind you that at present nothing has changed and that you should continue to follow the systems of controls and procedures for isolation in the current government guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

 

Update on Testing Arrangements from the Department of Education – Testing to continue for All-Year-Round settings through the summer. 

For all educational settings – summer and autumn testing arrangements:

The DfE wants to update you on plans for testing over the summer and into the Autumn, so you have sufficient time to plan ahead of the summer break.

For term time only settings – We are confirming that regular asymptomatic rapid testing will stay in place until the end of the summer term. Thank you for all your efforts to encourage staff to test themselves twice a week at home – please do continue to do this in these last few weeks of term.

Regular testing will pause in education settings over the summer except for in those that remain open all year round such as summer schools, out of school settings and those that do not operate on a term-time basis. However, testing for all is still widely available and kits can be collected either from your local pharmacy or ordered online.

Please use the online re-ordering platform to place orders for further test kits after reviewing your stock levels to enable testing over the summer holiday period, if your setting remains open (for example Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries, Independent Training Providers (ITPs) and Adult Community Learning provider (ACLPs).

Contacts

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