Updated DfE Coronavirus Guidance

2nd July 2020

The DfE have updated their early years guidance.

The following areas of the guidance have changed:

Section 2.1 – ‘From 20 July, early years settings will no longer be required to keep children in small, consistent groups within settings.’

Section 3.3 – the wording now says that providers should ‘Minimise contact between groups where possible’. Note: these changes remove the requirement to keep children in small, consistent groups to allow more flexibility for providers to go back to normal working. However, the guidance is clear that mixing groups should still be minimised.

Sections 3.1 and 3.2 – further guidance on risk assessment including, in 3.2, the statement that ‘People who live with those who have comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) can attend the workplace.’

Section 3.3 makes it clear that the following must be in place:

1. Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend settings.

2. Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual.

3. Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

4. Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach.

These 4 ‘must’ measures are described in more detail in the guidance. Further control measures including minimising contact, wearing PPE where necessary, engaging with ‘test and trace’, managing confirmed cases in the setting and following local health protection team advice are also detailed.

Note: these changes will need to be reflected in your going risk assessment. If you have staff, you will need to consider how staff who have previously been shielding family members can be returned to work.

Section 4 – updated advice about children who are shielding to state: ‘shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on August 1st’ conditional on reducing rates of infection. There is also a requirement for all children to return to education in the statement ‘All children who normally access childcare are strongly encouraged to attend so that they can gain the educational and wellbeing benefits of early education’.

Note: you will need to consider how this impacts you, your family, staff and children who attend the setting. You should update your risk assessment and take medical advice if necessary.

Section 5.3 – refers to the updated guidance on wraparound care.

Note: this will affect you if you are an out of school provider (before and after school or holiday clubs) – it is not relevant for most childminders.

Section 7.6 – refers to the EYFS reforms document published on 1st July.

Childcare.co.uk have provided information and guidance about the revised EYFS and further documentation and webinars will follow for all our members.

Section 7.7 – refers to the postponement of the statutory baseline assessment for reception teachers.

You might want to share this news with parents of children starting reception class this September. We have written guidance on starting school skills that you can share with parents.

Section 8.1 – you need to inform Ofsted if you re-open your setting.

Section 8.3 - Ofsted will carry out compliance inspections in the autumn term and routine inspections will re-start in January 2021 when it is expected you will have reinstated the EYFS fully (after the disapplications finished in September 25th and the extension to first aid finished on 30th September 2020).

This means you will be expected to be inspection ready by January next year.

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