On 2nd June, the DfE updated its “Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak” outlining its restructured guidance in line with wider opening.
The full guidance can be read here, but new sections have been added – ‘Attendance’ and ‘Safeguarding & Welfare’ guidance for all childcare providers.
The Attendance section generally sets out its principles of attendance, what to do if demand for places is high and whether children can attend two settings.
The Safeguarding and Welfare section includes child protection policies, how to keep children safe online, considerations for children’s mental health and wellbeing and provisions for children with SEND.
The following principles will apply to the wider opening of settings:
- Children should not attend if they have symptoms or are self-isolating due to symptoms in their household.
- All children who normally access childcare are strongly encouraged to attend so that they can gain the educational and wellbeing benefits of early education.
- Vulnerable children continue to be encouraged to attend where it is appropriate for them to do so (for children with education health and care (EHC) plans this will be informed by a risk assessment approach), further details on vulnerable children can be found below.
- Children who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield and should not attend.
- Children who are clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). Few if any children will fall into this category, but parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
- Children who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, can attend settings.
- Children who are too young to be able to understand and adhere to instructions on stringent social distancing and live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding are advised not to attend a setting.
The full updated section on Attendance can be found here.
Safeguarding and welfare
Settings must continue to take all necessary steps to keep children safe and well during this period and have regard to the government’s statutory guidance on working together to safeguard children. The safeguarding and welfare sections of the EYFS still apply, including requirements relating to child protection arrangements. Settings should work closely with local authorities.
The safeguarding and welfare sections of the EYFS still apply, including requirements relating to child protection arrangements. Settings should work closely with local authorities.
The full updated section for Safeguarding and Welfare can be found here.
The DfE said the guidance, Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak, should be read alongside the following guidance:
Guidance on infection prevention and control
- Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings
- Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings
- Planning guide for early years and childcare settings
Guidance on funding
- Financial support for education, early years and children’s social care
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Use of free early education entitlements funding
Other relevant guidance
- Actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020
- Supporting vulnerable children and young people
- guidance on the early years foundation stage (EYFS) disapplications
- Ofsted’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19)