Early Years update

Email dated 05.01.2021

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you and your staff teams managed to take a rest over the holiday period, although we recognise the immense pressures faced at this time.

We anticipate that last evening’s government announcement has been understandably met by a mix of emotions and given rise to a raft of questions. The Local Authority is currently seeking further clarification regarding some key issues for Early Years settings, including those that have been raised directly by the sector.

We are keen to understand the reasons why Early Years settings are being asked to stay open whilst schools need only be open for key worker and vulnerable children. Alongside this we are trying to establish what further advice and guidance will be provided for the sector as settings are being asked to stay open.  We also urgently need to understand the funding implications for EY settings in view of possible reduced numbers attending, including detailed information in relation to dual funding and furloughing.

For your reference, the Pre-School Learning Alliance has just issued the following information from their conversation with Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford earlier today: https://preschoollearningalliance2.createsend.com/campaigns/reports/viewCampaign.aspx?d=d&c=1493A399420F6B62&ID=4CF5956DD967E9012540EF23F30FEDED&temp=False&tx=0&source=Report

It is clearly apparent that the situation continues to change rapidly and we will send out any further updates when more information is available.

Many of you have made contact with the team today and based on your comments we are also raising some specific requests via the DfE on the following:

  • Advice on additional protective measures, such as the use of masks and/or visors for adults in Early Years settings and possible supply chains.
  • The possible availability of testing for Early Years staff.
  • Whether Early Years practitioners are being considered as part of the vaccination programme.

In the meantime, we are advising Early Settings to:

  • Maintain current rigorous infection controls including hand washing and, where possible, social distancing.
  • Review your risk assessment and consider any additional changes you could implement such as the introduction of masks and/or visors for all staff who are happy to wear them, particularly in areas where they will be mixing with other adults such as drop up and pick up times or staff break times.
  • Meet with vulnerable staff to review their individual risk assessment.
  • Identify key worker and vulnerable children in case guidance and expectations for EYs settings should change at any point in the future
  • Consider how many staff you may need to support those identified key worker and vulnerable children and whether you can take advantage of the ongoing offer of the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, a.k.a. furlough scheme) to support your business. Use the worked examples available online to calculate what the current income of your business is of free/paid childcare.
  • If self-employed, check whether you would be able to claim funding through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

 

Please do get in touch if you feel there are any further key issues that we need to be considering at this stage via askcyps@bristol.gov.uk . Should you wish to discuss your particular circumstances, please be reassured that your Area EY Consultant and Lead Teacher, as well as the central EY Inclusion team, are available to support you.

 

Thank you for your continued resilience at this incredibly difficult time.

With our 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)