Covid-19: Information for parents and carers about childcare settings during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Updated: June 2020
If you are a parent or carer, and you need advice or support about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 500 80 80
Many parents use childcare services for their children under the age of 5. As with schools, childcare providers were asked to close on 20 March 2020, apart from caring for vulnerable children and children of parents who are in critical jobs.
In May, the Government announced that they were asking all Early Years Providers to re-open to children from 1st June
We understand there is still some parental anxiety and confusion about this so we have prepared this factsheet to help.
Information from the Department of Education for parents and carers is also available: Guidance
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can more children now attend school and childcare settings?
We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know it is good for children’s mental wellbeing to have social interactions with other children, carers and teachers. Children can return and be cared for in small groups (sometimes called “bubbles”) within certain guidelines set out below
Can all children return to school or childcare?
From the week commencing 1 June, Government have asked that:
- nurseries and other early year providers, including childminders, begin welcoming back all children *
- primary schools welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year 1 and year 6
- all schools and childcare providers continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers – they have been supporting since the end of March
This approach aims to limit numbers within schools and settings while ensuring that the children and young people who can benefit from attending most are able to do so.
* Providers have been asked to prioritise children of Critical Workers and vulnerable children as before and then those children who are 3 and 4 years old and making the transition to school.
The government announced the list of parents who are classed as Critical Workers in light of the guidance on school closures and this has not changed.
Health and social care
- Education and childcare
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, communication and financial servicesA full list of job roles is available here: Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision - GOV.UK
Childcare provision will also continue to be prioritised for vulnerable children. These include:
Children known to Social Care
- Children who have been assessed as vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities
- Children with Education and Healthcare Plans (EHCP)
- Young Carers
- Disabled Children
How will risks to children, teachers and families be managed?
The Government have provided guidance and support to schools, colleges and childcare settings on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to help them to reduce the risk of transmission as more children and young people return.
Nottinghamshire’s settings also have a comprehensive Recovery and Re-opening suite of materials that they can access as well as support from the Early Childhood Services Team.
These guides recommend:
- carrying out a risk assessment
- making sure that children do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus
- promoting regular hand washing and promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach
- cleaning more frequently (BUT: Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended)
- minimising contact through smaller classes or group sizes and altering the environment as much as possible
- reducing mixing between groups through timetable changes, such as staggered break times or by introducing staggered drop-off and collection times.
- limiting the amount of contact between different groups of children (such as smaller class sizes with children and staff spread out more
I don’t want to send my child back in to childcare, do I have to?
It’s not compulsory to send your child back. Children who can be safely cared for at home, still can be for the remainder of the summer term.
If you have a social worker, they will work with you to assess the best option for your child.
Will all providers re-open to all children?
Some of the providers in Nottinghamshire may not be able to fully re-open on 1st June. Some are taking a phased approach and some are unable to re-open because they share a building that is still closed, or they are themselves or their staff are classed as vulnerable or are shielding. In the past two weeks, providers have been really busy devising their plans to ensure they can provide childcare as safely as possible and within the guidelines above.
Parents will therefore find that for now, the provision at all settings will look very different and providers may need to adjust their routines as they go along to ensure continued safety. They may also not be able to offer a place immediately to all children because there are not enough rooms or spaces available, or because they do not have enough available staff, to supervise the small groups.
Some childcare providers also may not want to provide care for children who will be attending more than one setting because of the risk of the virus spreading.
It’s also important for parents to recognise that whilst schools and settings are being asked to re-open this is being done in a controlled manner to ensure children are safe and to prevent further risk to the spread of infection.
What about children who go to two providers?
Government Guidance suggests: To minimise contact between groups of children and staff, children should attend just one setting wherever possible and parents and carers should be encouraged to minimise as far as possible the number of education and childcare settings their child attends.
If a parent usually uses two childcare providers, we are asking them to consider options to limit movement between groups. Childcare Providers and Schools are working together to find solutions to this.
Please contact your local setting to understand about any changes that might impact on you individually.
If I get funded childcare, will that continue, or will I have to pay? Does this change if my child has to move to a different childcare provider because my usual setting can’t provide a place for me?
If you currently receive funded childcare, parents will not have to pay extra apart from the usual charges to pay for meals etc.
The advice we give to parents needing to move their child during summer term is for them to try to find a place in a setting that still has some vacant funded places. We do have systems in place to re-distribute your Early Years Funding if there are no other options available to you
We cannot fund additional places if you are not eligible for Early Years Funding for your 2,3 or 4 year old and you usually pay for your place
If you need to find alternative childcare, please contact:
- your current childcare provider in the first instance as they already have good links with neighbouring services.
- the Early Childhood Services team at email@example.com or call us on 0300 500 80 80.
- You can also check the Notts Help Yourself website which is being updated on a daily basis with information about closures and which settings remain open. Childcare | Notts Help Yourself
For more information:
- This information is also available as a Factsheet for parents and carers
- Guidance for parents and Carers from 1st June
- Hints and tips for parents and carers at home with preschool children has been developed and is available at Notts Help Yourself
- Practical Local Information for Parents and Carers
- Department for Education: Help children aged 2 to 4 to learn at home during coronavirus (COVID19)