Public Health and local and national updates for Early Years settings

Email dated 13.07.2021

 

Dear Colleagues,  

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 current guidance for the key changes at Step 4 includes: 

  • There will no longer be a requirement to keep children and young people in consistent groups (bubbles) in schools and out-of-school settings or to reduce mixing in early years settings. 
  • Education and childcare settings will not routinely be required to undertake contact tracing for children and young people. Close contacts will instead be identified directly by NHS Test and Trace. Settings may be contacted in exceptional cases to help with identifying close contacts, as currently happens in managing other infectious diseases. 
  • Contacts of a positive case will be informed by NHS Test and Trace and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so. 
  • Self-isolation will continue for those who have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • From Monday 16 August, children under 18 years old, and those who are double vaccinated, will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact, unless the guidance changes again. 
  • Parent and child groups can operate as normal and without restrictions in attendance. 
  • A list of sections in the guidance that have been updated, moved or removed can be found on pages 4 and 5. 
  • The guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children has also been updated and can be found here

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.

https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2021/07/06/parents-pupils-teachers-and-students-find-out-what-step-4-of-the-covid-roadmap-means-for-you/ 

 

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.    

  https://help-for-early-years-providers.education.gov.uk/get-help-to-improve-your-practice/food-safety- 

 

 

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. 

  • Can you ensure that the schools are aware of any SEND needs of the children and the band of any additional funding they are currently allocated that will transfer with them to school 
  • If you have any worries regarding a child’s school place for September, please contact School Admissions at school.admissions@bristol.gov.uk 
  • If you are aware a parent is intending to electively home educate their child rather than start Reception, please email the EHE team at  ehe@bristol.gov.uk with the details. 
  • When you are planning to transfer children’s Safeguarding Files you should establish what date the child is expected to be enrolled and then contact the new school in September to confirm the child has enrolled and transfer the file. It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead that holds the child protection file to ensure that this is transferred to the new setting, (the proposed changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education for the new academic year state that this should be done within 5 days of the child starting at their new setting).  This means that DSLs should coordinate the collation of these files now ready to send in the new academic year. The guidance can be found here: Welcome to the Bristol Safeguarding in Education website. 

 

Safeguarding News

Information from the Early Years DSL Network Meetings is now available on the Early Years website. Please do take a look.

Safeguarding | Bristol Early Years 

 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. 

keeping children safe in education 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. 

  • Staff who don’t work directly with children on a regular basis can read a condensed version of part 1 (annex A) 
  •  
  • New information on what your child protection policy should include 
  • Updated guidance on the two levels of allegations against staff, those that may meet the harms threshold and those that don’t (low level concerns) 
  • Guidance on online safety has been moved to part 2 to give it more prominence
  • New best practice advice on recruitment processes and updated guidance on conducting pre-employment checks
  • There’s new guidance and expectations around tackling sexual violence and harassment (including peer-on-peer abuse) 

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. 

Safeguarding Audit.

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. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework–2/early-years-foundation-stage-coronavirus-disapplications?fbclid=IwAR3-qgxrowWaxy5TvzpiK-bzBIYX3E4tNrkAn2zivMbq4TTOcKe27A2DLok 

Ofsted News

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:  

  • Settings judged less than good at their last inspection (including those who received an interim visit in the autumn term) 
  • Settings that registered recently but have not been inspected 
  • Settings whose first inspection is overdue 
  • Settings that were not inspected in the last inspection cycle due to the pause in routine inspection 
  • Ofsted will continue to carry out urgent inspections if they have significant concerns about a provider. 

A summary of the changes to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework can be found here:  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-inspection-handbook-eif/summary-of-changes 

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: 

  • Changes to ensure the handbook reflects the latest version of the EYFS framework (2021), which comes into force on 1 September. 
  • Clarification on Ofsted’s requirements for inspection intended to dispel myths about inspection that can result in unnecessary workload for providers (e.g., on paperwork that is required during an inspection). 
  • Changes to grade descriptors, to ensure these take account of personal development for early years professionals at every level. 
  • Clarification of how inspections are prioritised by Ofsted. 

 

Contacts

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