Public Health and local and national updates for Early Years settings
Email dated 13.07.2021
As we head through this summer term it is impossible not to notice that the challenges of the pandemic are still very much with us and there are still a large number of additional considerations that we must give our attention to.
We are attaching two important letters for you from Dr Fiona Neely of Public Health England (South West) relating to recent local rises in Covid cases and Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI). There is one letter for you and your staff, and another which we ask you to send to all your parents and carers. These letters provide clear guidance on what symptoms to be alert to, and the basis on which children and staff should isolate at home and seek Covid tests. Please read the letters carefully and we also encourage setting managers to attend the free, fortnightly Public Health webinars (details in the letter) to learn more about the latest infection control updates.
At the time of writing to you the Government is still committed to move to Step 4 of its roadmap for Covid on July 19th so please do look at the information and links below about the key changes to our systems of control. We will of course keep you updated of any further news.
In addition to the ongoing Covid response, there are also a number of important safeguarding and food safety updates and news from Ofsted to be aware of. We are also attaching a letter from the children’s and families’ minister, Rt. Hon Vicky Ford which includes important information relating to the EYFS reforms and some useful links.
As always, we thank you for your incredible ongoing commitment to your children and families and keeping our communities as safe as possible.
The Early Years team.
Current Covid Updates.
Actions for early years and Actions for out of school providers have both been updated. Please follow these until Step 4 of the road map begins.
DfE has also published updated guidance to be followed when Step 4 of the roadmap commences.
You may have seen in the media that some MPs in the government are raising questions over the continuation of the wearing of face coverings in enclosed indoor areas. Policies and risk assessments for the use of face coverings in communal areas settings are still up to the individual needs of the setting. We will provide any local or national updates to this as soon as we have any.
The DfE has published a blog for settings and families which might be helpful to explain what the changes may mean in practice. It may be helpful to share this with families.
Food Safety in Settings
Requirements for the provision of food and drink have been updated in the EYFS reforms, including ensuring that children have a healthy balanced diet by providing access to healthier food provision in line with current government dietary recommendations for children. It is important that all providers read and understand the updated duties.
In order to support this, the DFE has created a Food Safety web page for further guidance and useful links. The letter (attached) from Jo Churchill MP, and Vicky Ford MP, outlines the different elements of the new requirements and includes links to sources of useful information and help.
Transition and Information Sharing
Just a reminder to please make sure arrangements have been put in place to share information with the schools that children are transferring to in September.
Information from the Early Years DSL Network Meetings is now available on the Early Years website. Please do take a look.
Keeping Children Safe in Education
The DfE has now published an updated version of the statutory guidance document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021’ (KCSIE) This guidance is currently for information only and comes into force on Wednesday 1 September 2021.
Some of the important changes for early years are listed below, but please do take the time to become familiar with the new document.
Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership Board
The latest newsletter with all the local updates is attached. It includes information and links to the new KBSPB website, which is designed to become a one-stop-shop for resources, events and guidance.
We are aware that completing the safeguarding audit this year was very time consuming and added to workload at an already challenging time. The safeguarding team hope to form a working group to plan next year’s audit to make it more relevant to EY settings, help settings understand which parts of the audit are most important for them, and also to explain any unfamiliar terminology or systems included in the audit. We hope this will make it easier to complete.
Don’t forget that BAND are also available to help support settings with safeguarding and policies. Your Lead Teacher is also able to support with specific queries. Action plans to improve our safeguarding systems and professional knowledge of the team are an ongoing process and can be completed over time, and with the support of professional dialogue to share ideas that have worked well in our own settings.
End of EYFS Disapplications
The Department for Education has confirmed that the Early Years Foundation Stage disapplications are due to come to an end of 31 August. They could however finish sooner with the lifting all coronavirus restrictions be lifted on 19 July as planned by the government. This is also set to apply to disapplications relating to Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificates. Please communicate this change to all staff, so that we all operate fully under the statutory EYFS requirements once again.
In addition to resuming full graded early inspection framework (EIF) inspections of early years on 4 May, Ofsted has also updated its early Years inspection framework
More details on how providers will be inspected from May can be found in Ofsted’s coronavirus (Covid-19) rolling update. But the priority for Ofsted inspections will be for:
A summary of the changes to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework can be found here:
Please contact your lead teacher for any support with practice and provision and remember that your Bristol Standard is a great source of evidence and rehearsal for those professional conversations with Ofsted.
Updates to the Ofsted framework are not extensive, and include: