Can a childminder go to toddler groups?

A lot of childminders are asking whether they can attend toddler groups from September when schools return. You can read government guidance about reopening of multi-use community facilities.

Questions you need to ask include:

Have the premises re-opened?

You should approach the premises and ask whether they are open – and ideally someone from your group should carry out a visit to check the facilities are Covid-19 safe.

Do the premises have a risk assessment?

You should request a copy of their risk assessment and go through it to check it is keeping you and the children in your care as safe as reasonably practicable (more risk assessment guidance to follow).

Are parents happy with the outing?

While there is no requirement in the EYFS to ask permission from parents to take their children on outings, it is recommended that you discuss the type of outings you are planning and ensure they are happy with your choices and have read your risk assessment.

Can you travel safely there and back?

The current DfE guidance recommends walking where possible. Also note the current advice to only take small groups (up to 6 people) on outings. The community groups guidance states that if you arrange a toddler group, you must also follow the current early years guidance.

Does your risk assessment suggest that it is safe to attend?

While there is no requirement in the EYFS to have a written risk assessment, the community groups guidance states, ‘Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law.’

What should be included in a risk assessment?

Reading the community groups guidance, you must be able to, for example:

  • Enter and exit through separate doors to limit the use of narrow corridors.
  • Arrange arrival and departure times to limit groups congregating – this might mean implementing a 2m distanced queuing system.
  • Clean down the room thoroughly before use.
  • Ensure all resources are sterilised before use.
  • Maintain social distancing from other users (you and children) – DfE have confirmed that social distancing of 2 metres at community groups is still a requirement.
  • Wash hands thoroughly on arrival.
  • Maintain good hand hygiene including hand washing and access to hand sanitiser.
  • Provide tissues and lidded bins which are emptied and cleaned before and after use.
  • Limit interactions with people who are not from your household.
  • Keep a record of attendees for 21 days for NHS Test and Trace purposes (name and contact details).

Note: you may receive a call from NHS Test and Trace telling you to close your individual setting if someone who attended the group is confirmed to have the virus. GDPR does not prevent you from sharing the record of attendees with NHS Test and Trace if requested.

  • Not allow parents to attend – when saying this, the government mean that you cannot go to community (parent or carer run) groups with childminded children – you can only attend childminder specific groups.

Do you need to wear a face covering?

The the guidance states that face coverings should be worn and facilities should be provided for the safe disposal of face coverings following this advice.

Can you meet outside?

If your venue has an outdoor space, you must follow the current government guidance on outdoor venues.

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