Coronavirus guidance for Childcare and Early Years

Information for childcare providers and staff

Suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19

For guidance on what to do if there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a setting, see Managing cases of suspected or confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools and early years settings.

Business and financial support

For information on support available locally for all types of business, see our page on Financial Support for Business

Useful Guidance on sources of financial support: PACEY

Support for Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Loss of income due to coronavirus

For information on what support is available from the government, Find out what financial support you can get for your business

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme CJRS

Guidance from the RSC’s Office for Business Interruption Loan Scheme (BILS)

For HR advice please refer to DfE Coronavirus helpline: Call 0800 046 8687 or email [email protected]

ACAS free employer advice helpline: Call 0800 046 8687 or visit employeradvice.org

Responsibilities to staff when closed

Please adhere to employment regulations and liaise with childcare’s insurance (legal team)
Useful Guidance on Coronavirus – advice for employers and employees – ACAS

Support to pay staff

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England

Please see the full government guidance

Job retention bonus

This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees.
To be eligible, employees will need to:

  • earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December and January
  • have been furloughed by you at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • have been continuously employed by you up until at least 31 January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate RTI data to 31 January has been received. More information about this scheme will be available by 31 July and full guidance will be published in the Autumn.

For further details on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme including key dates and the retention bonus, see gov.uk.

Staff ratios

Paragraph 3.30 of the EYFS states:

‘Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made.’

We consider the extent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be an exceptional temporary circumstance in which the staff to child ratios set out in the EYFS can be changed if necessary.  However, childcare providers or schools remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care and for their staff.
Ratios for childminders remain maximum of six children under the age of eight years.

Teaching resources for staff

Coronavirus resource centre: Campaign resources from Public Health England

School Zone: help stop germs spreading by using our range of fun lesson plans on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

STC – Signs and Symbols

Support services for Education: Resources for talking to children about COVID-19.

BBC Bitesize - Lockdown learning resources from the BBC

SENDIAS Support for Parents

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and its Use in educational settings

Please see the below guidance which will be reviewed as and when guidance may be updated.

Staff must be trained on donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) PPE. Please see below guidance including video demonstrations:

Please note that this guidance is of a general nature and that an employer should consider the specific conditions of each individual place of work and comply with all applicable legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Updated handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain.

Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

You can find out more information, guidance and video on hand washing on GOV.UK.

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

E-Bug has published posters on hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes, to display in bathrooms, classrooms and shared spaces.

NHS Test and Trace

See an overview of the NHS test and trace service, including what happens if you test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested

View guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

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If you haven't found what you need, or need more support, please phone us on 020 8901 2690 (Option 1)

Early years funding and general FIS enquiries - Joan Ugwu, Tel: 020 8416 8879  Email: [email protected]

General FIS enquiries - FIS Team, Tel: 020 8901 2690 (Option 1) Email: [email protected]

Early Years SEND Co-ordinator - Denise Deighton, Tel: 020 8736 6215 Mobile: 07747 152 652 Email: [email protected]

Inclusion funding - Email: [email protected]

Early Years training - Email: [email protected]