Early Years and Childcare FAQs

Early Years and Childcare FAQs regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) Last updated 18 Jan 2021.

EARLY YEARS & CHILDCARE 

For nursery schools and those in reception, please visit the ‘Schools' FAQs. 

Funding 

The government have announced 18 March, that they have issued revised guidance setting out the details of the 2021 spring term top-up funding and funding for the 2021-22 financial year. 

This is really good news as it provides reassurance to many Voice Community members that their funding will be in line with the most up to date attendance data. 

On 17 December the government announced they would provide additional funding over the Spring term for those councils who could show rising demand for the free childcare entitlements. This top-up funding is capped at 85% of January 2020 census levels but local authorities who saw attendance levels already above this cap at census week will be paid for that recorded attendance in full. 

In the Summer and Autumn terms 2021 local authorities will send attendance data – which they already collect for local funding purposes – to the government so that each council can be funded based on real attendance data. The government expect this will ensure that funding matches attendance as children return to settings or take up their free entitlements for the first time, as lockdown restrictions are eased. 

Nurseries and childminders who deliver the early education entitlements for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds will be paid by their local authority in the usual way for the hours they deliver.  

Parents and childcare 

The government has, on numerous occasions, expressed the importance of employers being flexible with regards to childcare. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said that employers need to be flexible if employees were experiencing childcare issues as a result of schools/nurseries being closed.   

If you are experiencing difficulties, then you must explain the issue and should ask your employer to be flexible around your return to the workplace. You may be able to work flexibly, or you may need to take some annual or unpaid leave.  

If, after discussing this with your employer, you feel you need support, then please call Voice Community on 01332 372 337.  

Testing in Early Years 

In England, mass testing of staff working in early years settings was announced by Minister Vicky Ford (11 January).  The Department for Health and Social Care said that 131 local authorities have signed up to community testing, with 107 already having started testing in their communities. These are focusing on the testing of key workers and those who must leave home for essential reasons which includes staff working in Early Years. Whilst this is not the dedicated testing that Voice Community have been calling for, this is an important step in helping to keep our members in early years safe at work. 

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile 

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile assessment does not need to be completed in 2021 but the government are asking schools to make ‘best endeavours’ to undertake it.  There will be no requirement to submit data to the local authority or to confirm whether they have completed the EYFSP to the Department for Education.  

We will seek further clarity and confirmation to fully understand what this might mean for schools and their staff. 

The Foundation Stage curriculum remains, and providers should continue to support their children to meet their Age-Related Expectations. 

This change applies to schools who are early adopters of the Early Years Foundation Stage reforms, as well as schools who are following the current statutory framework. 

Paediatric First Aid requalification training 

If you need Paediatric First Aid certificate requalification training but are unable to access it due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, your certificate can be extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 1 October 2020.  

(This is in recognition of the fact that some practitioners are facing difficulties in accessing requalification training due to courses being cancelled. If asked to do so, providers 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.) 

I am a nanny. Can I still go to work? 

Yes.  If you provide paid-for childcare in a child’s home, you can go to your place of work.  However, it is important that you take as many precautions as possible in line with Public Health England guidance, such as walking and cycling to work, or wearing a face covering when using public transport.  

Your employer should complete a risk assessment and share this with you.  It should identify the risks and look at ways of reducing them. This could include limiting the rooms you use, an increased cleaning regime and use of PPE and face coverings.  

No nanny should be forced to continue to work if they do not feel safe to do so. 

What about Scottish nurseries and early years establishments? 

Unlike in England, all early years’ provision is to remain closed until the end of January apart from hubs for children of key workers.  You can be asked to attend work in the hubs.  If this causes you difficulties, then please get in touch with us on 0131 220 8241. 

Full comprehensive guidance can be found at the Scottish Government website

According to the latest guidance in Northern Ireland 

Childcare can continue to be provided by a person registered in accordance with the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 or any childcare provided free of charge.  

Informal childcare arrangements are also permitted to continue. 

Voice Community has written to the NI Executive to ask for information to explain the decision to keep settings open without any restrictions on numbers. We have asked for additional support for staff to keep them safe, including access to regular testing and priority vaccination when appropriate. 

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