What is the current advice for settings, are they to remain open or are they to close?
The guidance is that childcare settings should remain open if possible but ONLY to provide care to vulnerable children and key worker groups (also known as critical workers).
If any setting temporarily closes we ask you inform the Local Authority so that we have an awareness of the current situation within the Borough and in turn we can keep you informed.
Ofsted have confirmed with the Local Authority that Providers do not need to let them if they close their setting due to COVID-19.
There is also no requirement to notify Ofsted of their reopening once the Government has agreed. Childcare Providers can operate as normal then.
If we have to close, what are we expected to do with regards to our vulnerable children and children of key workers?
If your setting closes and you have these children, could you please liaise with the Local Authority and we will broker places with local providers. If providers have capacity to take more children please could you keep us updated to enable us to pass your details onto those families affected.
Will we still receive our funding given we can't offer funded places due to COVID-19?
The Local Authority will continue to honour funding for current 2, 3 and 4 year old places where:
- A provider is asked to close by authorities due to COVID-19
- Children cannot attend due to COVID-19
- A provider closes due to insufficient staffing cover due to COVID-19
The Local Authority has agreed to fund providers for children of key workers they accept due to their usual registered providers/schools closing due to COVID-19. Providers must keep records of the children they agree to provide via this route and also gain evidence that the parent is a recognised key worker. The amount paid will relate to the child's current eligibility for 2, 3 and 4 year old funding, paid at the providers current rate.
How can we claim for the additional funded hours we have provided due to other providers having closed due to COVID-19 ?
If the funded hours were provided up to and including the 3 April we will be issuing a template for you to complete and return to the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox or to Andrew.email@example.com by the 10 April and any monies owed will be processed alongside your estimate payments which will be paid on the 24 April.
As for the FUNDED children you have unexpectedly taken on for next term you can simply add to your actuals as per usual on the portal with your submission deadline being the 7 June.
Where can settings obtain information and grants, business rate holidays and information for paying staff and employee advice?
COVID-19: support for business
For a full list of government support schemes linked to COVID-19 visit GOV.UK: COVID-19 support for Businesses.
- Business rate holiday for 12 months
- Small business and rural rate relief
- Job retention scheme-contribution of up to 80% for employees
- Business interruption Loan Scheme for 12 months interest free
- Deferred VAT payments
- Self- employed deferring income tax self-assessment
- Settings in shared spaces could benefit from 100% rate relief and more
Where can settings go for advice should they face an enforced closure?
Settings are advised to contact their insurance company to seek advice on their policy in the event of an enforced closure. Settings are also advised to contact organisations such as the NDNA, PACEY, EY Alliance (formally PLA).
What should childminders do if a family member in the same household is in isolation due to symptoms of COVID-19?
The government advice is that visitors should not be allowed into the household. Childminders may seriously have to consider temporarily closing until the 14 day isolation period has passed (or longer in some cases), and that person is no longer showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Useful links and advice below
Department for Education (DFE)
The Department for Education (DFE) have a dedicated website and helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 in particular in relation to isolation, staff, parents and young people.
Phone: 0800 0468 687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
Public Health England
Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials campaignresources.phe.gov.uk
Government advice guidance and action plan
For updates on COVID-19, see www.gov.uk
Update 25 March - For the government update on early years and childcare closures, see Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings
Guidance for educational settings includes what to do in suspected cases of COVID-19 in children and staff at your setting.
Settings are advised to adhere to social distancing guidance particularly in relation to parents congregating in waiting areas. Further information below is available here: GOV.UK: Implementing Social Distancing in Education and Childcare Settings.