Childcare Providers and Covid-19 FAQ
At Childcare.co.uk we are doing everything we can to help and support childcare providers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Free Coronavirus Toolkit for Childminders
In order to help childminders return to work after closure due to Coronavirus we have produced this FREE childminder toolkit containing free childminder contracts, free policies & procedures, free risk assessments, free paperwork, free webinars and lots more. PDF documents are free for all members and Word versions are for gold members only. All paperwork has been updated in relation to Covid-19.
• England: Lockdown 3 - Childcare and early years settings remain open including nurseries, childminders and nannies
• Scotland Lockdown - Childminders may remain open for all children
• Scotland Lockdown - Nurseries closed except for key worker children or vulnerable children
• Scotland Lockdown - Essential informal childcare is permitted including nannies and babysitters
• Free Poster - Coronavirus information for parents with children in childcare setting
• Free Poster - What to do if a child in your care or a member of staff has Coronavirus symptoms
Latest guidance from the Department for Education, Ofsted and Government
Can childminders and nurseries open?
In England childminders and nurseries can remain open for all EYFS children (birth to 5 years old).
Childminders may also provide care for older children of keyworkers/critical workers or vulnerable children. For example, for wraparound care (before and after school).
In Scotland childminders remain open for all children but nurseries may currently only open for keyworker children and vulnerable children.
Is childcare permitted in England during national lockdown 3?
Yes, a third national lockdown in England was announced on 4th January 2021. However, the English government have announced that early years childcare settings including nurseries and registered childminders may remain open. Nannies may also continue to provide childcare in a child's home.
You can read more about the childcare and the national lockdown restrictions on the .gov.uk website.
Here is an extract from the .gov.uk website that provides details on childcare permitted during lockdown 3.
What are the rules in Scotland?
Scotland Latest: .gov.scot - Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you can and cannot do
Scotland introduced a new lockdown from 5th January 2021.
Examples of reasonable excuses to go out:
• for childcare or support services for parents or expectant parents.
It also says: "From 26 December to 18 January, in Scotland, regulated early learning and childcare and school age childcare services can only open to children of key workers and vulnerable children."
"Only essential informal childcare is permitted in Scotland. Only children should enter the home of another household."
On the parentclub.gov website, operated by the Scottish Government it states:
"Registered childminders, however, can remain open for all children."
This suggests registered childminders may open for all children. Parents can use nannies and babysitters for in-home childcare if it is essential. Nurseries are only open for key worker children and vulnerable children.
What are the rules in Wales and Northern Ireland?
Wales: .gov.wales - Education and childcare: coronavirus
Northern Ireland: nidirect.gov.uk - Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice about childcare
I am a nanny. Can I still go to work?
Yes. The government have stated nannies will still be able to continue to provide services in the home (see screenshot above).
They also say:
There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising.
The main reasons are for work, voluntary or charitable services, and formal education or training (as opposed to extracurricular classes). This includes where you are fulfilling legal obligations. It can also include work in other people’s homes where necessary - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople.
Any nanny who does not feel safe or comfortable continuing to work should speak to their employer. No nanny should be forced to continue to work if they do not feel safe to do so.
We came up with the idea of a Virtual Nanny which allows a nanny to work from the nanny's own home if the child's parents are working from home. Having a Virtual Nanny is something that nannies and their employers may like to consider and the idea is already providing very popular.
What should I do if a child in my care or a member of staff has Coronavirus symptoms?
We have produced this free poster that provides guidance of what to do in the event a child in your care or a member of your staff have Coronavirus symptoms.
Further, we have produced another free poster for childminders and early years settings which gives parents easy to understand guidance about what to do if a child has symptoms of coronavirus or has had a coronavirus test.
Can school aged children of a critical worker parent attend a childminder instead of school?
Childcare.co.uk have spoken to the DfE about such a scenario and the DfE have stated that, under the current 'national lockdown: stay at home' childcare information, a school child with a critical worker parent should be able to attend their childminder if they, for example, cannot access a space at school or if parents feel it would be safer for the child to be with their childminder.
What is a key worker/critical worker?
The list is quite wide and includes NHS staff, social care workers, school & nursery staff, police officers, court staff, religious staff, journalists, some government staff, delivery workers, supermarket staff, army and MoD, firefighters, prison & probation staff, transport workers, infrastrucure workers such as gas & electricity and some financial services staff.
How can I prove that I am a key worker/critical worker?
We've created a free downloadable certificate for all registered childminders and nannies in order to help prove their key worker status.
Am I insured to provide childcare?
You should be insured to provide childcare, assuming you have an active public liability insurance policy, as long as you adhere to all relevent government, local authority and public health guidelines unless you hear otherwise from your regulator, local authority or insurance company.
If I open, do I have to follow the EYFS?
The Department for Education have published information for registered early years providers in relation to Coronavirus disapplications. The disapplications are were due to end on 25th September 2020. However, updated arrangements were put in place from 26th September 2020 until 31st August 2021 to allow providers to use the specific disapplications and modifications if any local or national government agreed coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions impact their ability to deliver the EYFS.
Can childminders take children outside of their setting or meet other childminders?
On 5th November 2020, Ofsted confirmed that childminders can continue taking all children they care for outdoors.
Under the exemptions to restrictions on leaving home, a childminder from one household can meet another childminder from a different household outdoors with any children under the age of 5 in their care.
As children over the age of 5 are counted in the limit on two people meeting outside, you cannot meet another childminder if they are accompanied by children over the age of 5.
The government have also said that support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.
Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit - meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers. Read more
Can my childminding setting remain open if my own child is asked to self-isolate?
If your child has been sent home from school and asked to self-isolate as they have been in contact with someone else who has tested positive for Covid-19 then your childminding setting may be able to stay open as long as your child does not have Covid-19 symptoms.
Read our detailed guide on What to do if a childminder's own child has been told to self-isolate in England for more information.
I'm going to struggle financially - will the government help me?
The government have launched a number of schemes to help childcare providers with financial support:
Self-employment Income Support Scheme - The government announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme for self-employed registered childminders. A financial grant of up to £2500 per month is available to childminders and they may continue to work. The grant pays 80% of average profits over the last 3 years. On 29th May 2020, Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced an extenstion to the scheme to cover June, July and August. The second grant pays 70% of average net profits and applications can me made in August. Read more about the second grant. Further Self-employment income support grants may be available from November 2020 to April 2021. Read more about the extension
Early Years Funding - If you receive funding for any 2, 3 or 4 year old children with free childcare entitlements then the government have said this will continue to be paid to local authorities even if children do not attend. You will need to check with your local authority to find out if you are able to keep any funding in the instance of a child not attending or closure of your setting as the rules vary in different areas.
Universal Credit - Self-employed childminders are able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.
Mortgage Holidays - If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments then the government has announced a mortgage holidays. Most major banks and building societies are participating in the scheme. Contact your lender for more details.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - If you employ staff that you would need to make redundant due to Coronavirus, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. On 29th May, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension to the furlough scheme until October 2020. As a result of the second national lockdown, the scheme has now been extended until 30th April 2021. Read more about the extension
Income Tax - Any income tax due from your self-assessment on 31st July 2020 will now be deferred until 31st January 2021.
VAT - If you are VAT registered then payment of any VAT between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 can be deferred until 31st January 2021.
SSP - If you employ staff then you will be able reclaim up to 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 per eligible employee.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - Self-employed individuals that are unable to work due to COVID-19 or those that have to self-isolate can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This benefit is payable from day one of sickness and is based upon previous national insurance contributions.
Business Rates - If you are a nursery that pays business rates then there will be a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme - There will be a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with the government guaranteeing 80% of each loan.
Ofsted Renewal Fees - Ofsted have said that all invoices for annual registration fees for childminders and early years providers sent after 3rd April 2020 will be dated 30th September 2020 to give providers more time to pay.
Can I still charge my parents if I am closed?
It will depend upon your contract with your parents but generally you wouldn't be able to charge fees if you are unable to provide childcare. Some parents are willing to pay full or half fees for a period of time in order for you to hold their places but this would be something you would have to negotiate with your parents. On 30th April 2020, the Competitions and Markets Authority announced that it would be investigating a number of sectors in relation to contracts with their customers. Nurseries and childcare providers were specifically mentioned as one of the sectors being investigated due to the high number of complaints being received. The CMA announced the results of their investigation on 28th July 2020 in an open letter to the early years sector. We have published an FAQ for childcare providers.
Can a nanny be furloughed?
The government have now expressly stated that nannies can be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government have stated that Individuals can furlough employees such as nannies provided they pay them through PAYE and they were on their payroll on, or before, 28 February 2020.
I'm due to be inspected soon - what will happen?
Ofsted have stated that most routine inspections will be temporarily suspended. On 12th November 2020, Ofsted announced new early years inspection arrangements.
I'm a childminder who isn't working at the moment - do I still need insurance?
It is a requirement of your Ofsted registration to have public liability insurance irrespective of whether or not you are currently working.
What about private tutors?
Whilst there has been no specific guidelines in relation to private tutors, the vast majority of private tutors are continuing to work remotely as Virtual Tutors and there has been an increase in demand for virtual tutors with schools being closed.
Will my insurance help me?
Generally there is little or no cover available for such an unprecedented situation of this scale with standard childminder insurance policies but you should check your full policy wording.
My first aid certificate has expired can I continue to work?
The DfE guidance states that if paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended to 25 November 2020 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020.
The guidance states that providers, if asked to do so, should be able to explain why the first-aider has not been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps have taken to access the training. Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.
Tigerlily are offering face-to-face Covid-19-safe first aid courses. You can save 15% as a member of Childcare.co.uk. Book a first aid course
Can childminders and early years workers get a Coronavirus test?
Yes. To qualify for a test you must have symptoms that you have reasonable cause to believe could be due to Coronavirus. You can read information about Coronavirus symptoms on the NHS website. Find out more about getting a Coronavirus test.
Can childminders and early years workers get priority Covid-19 vaccines?
There is no current prioritisation for early workers to receive Covid-19 vaccines. In February 2021 there was some confusion over vaccinations and many early years workers were able to book and receive a vaccine. Read more about Confusion over early years vaccine priority
Can I work as a babysitter?
On 1st May 2020 the government provided specific guidance in relation to travelling to someone else's home to provide paid-for childcare. This says:
If you provide paid-for childcare in a child’s home, you can go to your place of work - this is in line with Government guidance that you can travel to work if working from home is not possible. However, it is important that you take as many precautions as possible in line with Public Health England guidance. Read the full guidance
Therefore it would appear that you can work as a babysitter to provide childcare within a child's home but you must follow guidelines set by government and public health departments.
We will post news and updates for childcare providers about Covid-19 on this page of our website. Please check by regularly for the latest news.
Don’t have an account? Register free today
Sign up in one minute, no payment details required.
Member benefits include:
- Add a free profile detailing your requirements or services
- Search by postcode for local members near you
- Read and reply to messages for free