COVID-19 Latest EY Service Updates

As we receive updated advise from Public Health England and DfE with regards to the current Covid-19 situation we are emailing the details and the links to all settings.  The email addresses used are those associated with your Ofsted registration.  If you are not receiving these emails, please check the email address used for your Ofsted registration.  If it is not correct, please amend accordingly and notify of the changes you have made.

The Government’s EY Entitlements team: Setting out the key updates to the guidance for EY providers

Published 24th February 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, the Prime Minister has set out the next phase of the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), including where some restrictions can be lifted. The decision to ease restrictions is made on the balance of risk to public health and educational considerations.

We have published today the 13th iteration of ‘actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ guidance which can be accessed via at In our guidance update, we have withdrawn education and childcare settings: national lockdown from 5 January 2021 and transferred relevant sections into the updated guidance.

Please note that we will be updating guidance for parents and carers shortly.

The Main changes to the guidance for early years:

Face coverings

We have clarified the guidance on wearing of face coverings where social distancing between staff in communal areas is not possible.

Childminders for school-aged children

Childminders can continue to look after all early years children. Until 8 March, childminders should continue to only look after those school-age children (from reception onwards) who are vulnerable or children of critical workers. From 8 March, childminders will be able to look after vulnerable children as normal, and all other children where parents are using the provision to support them to work, seek work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.


We have added a section on asymptomatic testing to the guidance confirming that we are now expanding home testing kits to staff in all private, voluntary and independent nurseries, who should start to receive deliveries of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) home testing kits to offer to all their staff for twice weekly testing from next month. This is will help to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmissions.  Childminders can continue to access community testing, and the Department continues to work with colleagues across government to review the testing approach available for childminders. Mass testing for secondary pupils as all schools and colleges fully reopen from 8 March - GOV.UK (

Guidance updates

We continue to provide the sector with guidance and support during the period of national lockdown. For information, links to the published guidance are provided below:


Please click here to download a letter of thanks from the Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson.


Kind regards,

Early Years Entitlements

South West Health Protection Team: COVID-19 educational setting webinar

Published 24th February 2021


The South West Health Protection Team will be running COVID-19 educational setting webinars for any educational setting to attend on Thursdays. We currently have sessions scheduled up to the 25 March 2021. The sessions will cover infection prevention principles and then discuss scenarios to illustrate this.

If you would like to attend, the webinars will be run on selected dates that are listed on our Eventbrite page. The link for which is:

Please register for a ticket on the date that you would like to attend. Registering for a ticket is free, it does not cost anything to attend these webinars.

Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with details on how to join. On the day of your webinar another email containing a copy of the presentation for you to access will be sent out.

If you have any difficulties, you can contact the South West Health Protection Team on 0300 303 8162 or via email contact



South West Health Protection Team

Testing locations for those with and without Covid-19 symptoms

Published 18th February 2021

Wherever you go for your test, you must book an appointment first. 

Download our Covid-19 Testing Map to find your nearest test site and for further details on how to book your test: Covid-19 Testing Map

Message from GCC Health Protection Team

Published 8th February 2021

Asymptomatic Testing

We are incredibly grateful for the continued dedication and resilience that the Early Years sector have shown in providing childcare throughout this pandemic.  We understand that there is frustration amongst staff regarding the access to asymptomatic testing using the Lateral Flow Device, which schools and maintained and school based Governor run early years’ settings have been provided with via the central government schemes.  Our understanding is that the Government is currently exploring different options for your sector, as part of their phased roll out of asymptomatic testing.  In the interim the current options available to Early Years setting staff in Gloucestershire are as follows:

Workplace Coronavirus Testing:

Community Asymptomatic Testing Sites:

  • Up to date information on community asymptomatic testing in Gloucestershire is available here
  • We currently have one site located at the Friendship Café which is open to anyone who lives or works in Gloucester and cannot currently work from home
  • We are in the process of setting up other sites across the county, starting later this month, with one at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester and another in the Forest of Dean before the end of March. 

As with all tests, there are limitations to asymptomatic testing using Lateral Flow Devices.  We recommend that you read the guidance here  It is important to remember that the most effective way to protect each other continues to be to follow strict hygiene measures and the other existing control measures. Asymptomatic testing is optional for staff but you can insist they strictly adhere to the broader measures. 

More information for employers on testing options and considerations more broadly is available here

Please remember that if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should self-isolate and book a PCR test.  You can book a test via the Government Online Portal available here and choose whether to visit one of the permanent or mobile sites in Gloucestershire or receive a home test kit.


We are aware questions have been raised regarding the scheduling of vaccinations.  The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.  Therefore phase one of the vaccine roll out includes residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, then those over 80 years old as well as frontline health and social care workers who care for those at higher risk of mortality, then the rest of the at-risk population in order of age and clinical risk factors. 

The Government has stated that Phase 2 of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.  More information can be found here

Covid-19 Cases in EY settings

Early Years settings are asked to report any cases of Covid-19 in the setting via the DfE Helpline.  If there is an outbreak in the setting it is escalated to Public Health England and directly to Gloucestershire County Council Health Protection Team so a risk assessment can be carried out and additional support provided, where necessary.  In the previous 28 days all notifications were assessed as low risk.

We will aim to keep you all  updated if the situation changes.



Phone: 01452 425356 / 7224

Address:  Gloucestershire County Council, Education Outcomes and Intervention – Early Years Service, Shire Hall, Block 4, 3rd Floor, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG


Funding team: Tel: 01452 328668  Email:

Update: Testing for EY Practitioners

Published 1st February 2021

Many of you will be aware that an asymptomatic Education testing programme is being rolled out in Primary schools and early years settings attached to primary schools. This offers home lateral flow testing for weekly use for the staff working  in those settings.  This is aimed at helping to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus in school based education settings by identifying asymptomatic positive cases.  Those who test positive will then self isolate to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Asymptomatic testing is also available through community testing programmes and Local Authorities have been asked to prioritise asymptomatic testing for EY practitioners in settings in the PVI sector  that are not attached to school and to childminders.  In Gloucestershire there is already a community testing site at the Friendship café for anyone who lives or works in Gloucester city . This can be used for asymptomatic  testing, twice a week, by any EY setting practitioners who live or work in Gloucester city.   Our Public Health team are working hard to set up community testing in other parts of the county as quickly as they can , once these are up and running EY practitioners will be included in the priority groups that can access these testing facilities.

We have been advised that there are ongoing discussions , at a national level, about providing home  testing for the Early Years PVI and childminder sector through the Education testing  programme.  Home testing kits can not yet be provided to the EY sector, other than those attached to schools, until this is approved nationally  by the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

I do appreciate  that this is a really challenging time for everyone, and particularity for those working in the Early Sector and   I know that you are all doing a fantastic job in the care and support that you provide for your children.  Please be assured that we are doing all that we can to work with our colleagues in public  health to  ensure that you have access to testing as quickly as possible.

We will keep you updated on both the community testing programme as it rolls out across the county  and any changes to the Education programme.

Thank you for all that you are doing to support children and families across the county.


Best wishes



Phone: 01452 425356 / 7224

Address:  Gloucestershire County Council, Education Outcomes and Intervention – Early Years Service, Shire Hall, Block 4, 3rd Floor, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG

PPE Opportunity

Published 28th January 2021

Education PPE Opportunity

Schools and other education and childcare settings are currently responsible for sourcing their own PPE. With thanks to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), we have been fortunate to be offered free PPE for Covid-19 related use to support Gloucestershire County Council until March 2021.

This new opportunity is short term, subject to change and is in constant review. Therefore, if and when this new opportunity comes to an end, the policy will revert back to Schools and other education and childcare settings being responsible for sourcing their own PPE.

This short term offer is for Education and childcare services include all registered childcare providers, schools (including the independent schools, and alternative provision) and FE providers (including sixth form colleges).

This offer is for additional PPE for Covid related use and is not to replace what is expected as part of the day to day care for a child/setting

Please note – this offer is not for special schools as you have recently been contacted regarding ordering PPE for your settings separately.

Booking and Collection

If education and childcare settings would like to take up this offer, booking and collecting is simple. You can book via our online portal ( When you book, you will need to provide the name of the person collecting, the educational or childcare setting name and simply pick a date and time from the calendar. Please note, collection will be limited to Tuesday – Thursday 10am until 3pm only.

All collections will be from Cheltenham West Community Fire and Rescue Station, Tewkesbury Road, Uckington, Gloucestershire, GL51 9TZ

Please note - This offer is to support over 900 settings, so please only request what is needed and in line with the Guidance from the Department for Education (DfE). Stock is limited and we will be constantly reviewing orders to ensure that settings are not requesting more than is necessary in order for us to ensure stock is available for others.



Phone: 01452 425356 / 7224

Address:  Gloucestershire County Council, Education Outcomes and Intervention – Early Years Service, Shire Hall, Block 4, 3rd Floor, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG


Funding team: Tel: 01452 328668  Email:

Early Years Spring Term Funding Claims

Published 18th January 2021

We recognise that providers cannot wait until the end of the term for the funding due, so we will be issuing 2 amendment tasks this term.


  • Task opens – 1st February
  • Task closes – 5th February
  • Payment will leave GCC – 24th February

Please enter onto this task ONLY the children that you had removed form your first task, based on the original funding guidance that you should only claim for children in attendance.


Please can I remind you of the criteria for the children you can now claim for:

Funded hours should be recorded as the number of hours a child would normally be expected to attend including:

  • Children who are absent because they are self isolating
  • Children of parents have chosen not to send their child to nursery

This does not apply where a provider has limited numbers, either through closure, where you have furloughed staff or through restrictions on places for key workers and vulnerable children only.

  • Where the provider is temporarily closed due to circumstances such as staff infections or isolation periods, you should claim the expected levels of attendance.



  • Task opens – 1st March
  • Task closes – 11th March
  • Payment will leave GCC – 25th March

Please use this task for all other amendments that occur during the term, i.e., new starter, leavers etc.


Please refer to you portal user guide for advice on how to enter amendments including increasing or decreasing hours. For new starters and leavers you must enter the start or end date and adjust the number for weeks accordingly. Week 1 of the funding period = w/c 4th January. Week 12 of the funding period = w/c 29th March.

After each payment, breakdowns of the funding paid will be issued in your portal account and can be found under “Funding Documents”. Please review these ASAP to ensure the payment you have received reflects what you were expecting. Incorrect payments cannot be corrected after 31st March as we head into a new financial year.


Kind regards

Sue Bodenham
Finance Support Manager
Early Years Service
Gloucestershire County Council
Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester. GL1 2TP

Funding team: Tel: 01452 328668 Email:

Early Years Funding and Census

Published 18th January 2021

Dear colleagues

As you are aware, we have been looking at decisions regarding funding arrangements and allocation of funding entitlements for children in Gloucestershire.

We are now pleased to share the outcome of these decisions.

Please see the letter below, which outlines Gloucestershire LA plans.

Early Years Funding and Census Letter

The Early Years Service Nursery Funding Team will be sending out a further communication which highlights the timeframes and any further actions required. This will be communicated via email and will also appear on the Nursery Funding Portal pages.

Thank you for your patience regarding this matter.



Phone: 01452 425356 / 7224

Address: Gloucestershire County Council, Education Outcomes and Intervention – Early Years Service, Shire Hall, Block 4, 3rd Floor, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG

Funding team: Tel: 01452 328668 Email:

Vulnerable Children Cell - Useful Links and Resources

Published 16th December 2020

Access to food booklet with Christmas updates

Prevention of abusive head trauma sheet


Healthy Start Vouchers: If you’re pregnant or have a child under 4 and you are getting benefits, you may be able to get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any benefits. This important scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers and also gives you access to free vitamins. Pregnant women and children over 1 and under 4 can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under 1 can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.

Find out if you are eligible to get these benefits. If you're not eligible, click here to see the alternative grants and funds available. Once you have applied for your vouchers and your application has been approved, you will receive your vouchers for food and vitamins (see Spend your vouchers for more information on how to spend them).


Mental Health Support Children and Young People:

Adults and Children:

Children and Families Covid-19 Support Pages:

Family support poster:

Action on ACEs resource bank:

Action on ACEs sources of support:


Many thanks,

Sent on behalf of the Vulnerable Children Cell

Final Reminder: Finance Survey

Published 9th December 2020

This can be accessed using the link below:

(Please note: this is not the same as the weekly data survey which is still ongoing)



Phone: 01452 425356 / 7224

Early Years Data Survey

Published 9th December 2020

08.12.20 Letter from Minister Ford

Thank you to those of you who have been completing the Early Years data survey weekly so that we have been able to provide the DfE with various sets of data every week. The responses that you provide are really helpful in achieving that.

One of the key reasons that the Local Authority and the DfE are requesting this information is to ensure that we are aware of the number of vulnerable children who are not accessing a school or EY provision at this time so that we can make sure that they are safe. As you will be aware, for many children, accessing a school or childcare setting provides the opportunity to monitor the child’s well being and is therefore important that we can continue to monitor those children who are not currently attending.

We have now been asked to provide information to the DfE about how many children are currently attending your setting so that we can ascertain childcare provision in your area.  The data survey has therefore, been adjusted to reflect this and other important information that is now required.

Please can we ask you to complete this survey before the end of the day on Friday 11th December, to reflect the information and numbers you expect the following week. For example, this week you will include numbers of children you expect to be in your setting next week, if you don’t know please enter what you anticipate or estimate.

Please note that this survey does NOT need to be completed for settings that provide before/after school or holiday care ONLY. Please only complete this survey if you are a day care setting (playgroup, nursery, pre-school) or childminder.

Please find below the link to your new survey, for completion on or before Friday 11th December and every week thereafter:

Thank you.


Phone: 01452 425356 / 7224

Template Letters Covid-19

Published 2nd December 2020

The below template letters have been prepared and signed by Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health. The letters are able to be jointly signed by your manager/owner and can be adapted for your setting details and sent to your parents. There are two versions depending whether your setting has experienced Covid-19 cases or not.

Letter Templates:


Kind regards,


Department for Education: Updated guidance on protective measures

Published 2nd December 2020

The guidance has been updated to reflect the end of National Restrictions on 2 December and how these settings should operate under the local restriction tiers.

Guidance on protective measures for providers of holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have clarified the position under the local restriction tiers for:

  • home education
  • social distancing
  • educational visits and trips
  • music, dance and drama performances


Updated guidance for parents and carers during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated our guidance for parents and carers to reflect the end of National Restrictions on 2 December and how these settings should operate under the local restriction tiers.

We have updated our guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges to clarify the position under the local restriction tiers for:

  • clinically extremely vulnerable children
  • face coverings
  • music, dance and drama performances
  • educational visits and trips
  • extra-curricular activities

We have updated our guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings to clarify the position under the local restriction tiers for:

  • children with health care concerns
  • parent and child groups
  • music, dance and drama performances

Department for Education: Updated guidance for education and childcare settings

Published 1st December 2020

​​There are no substantive changes for settings to act on.

For early years providers we have clarified the position under the local restriction tiers for:

  • managing safety in settings and staffing
  • 30 hour entitlements
  • business support

For special schools and other specialist settings we have clarified the position under the local restriction tiers for:

  • transport
  • educational visits
  • music, dance and drama performances
  • physical activity in schools
  • school uniform
  • residential special settings​


​​COVID Workforce fund announcement and Contingency framework for education and childcare settings

The Department for Education has announced a COVID workforce fund to support schools and colleges facing the greatest combined staffing and funding pressures. They will be able to claim via the new short-term COVID workforce fund, as part of the government’s national priority of keeping education settings open.

The fund will be backdated to 1 November and cover the current half term, with detailed guidance due to be published shortly. It is designed for schools and colleges facing significant funding pressure and will cover the costs of high levels of staff absences over a minimum threshold, to help ensure schools and colleges can remain open.

We have also today published an updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency framework for education and childcare settings. This guidance sets out how the Government would manage the exceptional circumstances in which further restrictions were required on education, to help contain virus transmission within a community. The framework is not a guide to operational management of education in local areas or individual education settings.

The government hopes never to have to implement the restrictions set out in the framework. Any implementation remains a decision for central government, working closely with local leaders, and would only come as a last resort to control extremely high prevalence of the virus if all other measures had been exhausted. ​


​Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.
Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.

Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm


Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.


Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below:

Update on Guidance for informing Ofsted of coronavirus incidents at childcare businesses

Published 17th November 2020

The Government has today (11 November) published guidance on how business owners and managers should report a coronavirus incident at their nursery, childminder business or other day care.


Community Social Work Team: New duty line

Published 16th November 2020

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to update you all as to some recent developments and support for all practitioners in the community when they have a safeguarding concern about a child.

If the concern is not immediate/urgent, then practitioners can contact the Community Social Work Team on 01452 426263 – we request that practitioners inform parents when doing this as is good practice (unless doing so may place someone at increased risk of harm).

If a practitioners has an immediate safeguarding concern, then continue to call MASH selecting option 3 and confirming the immediacy of the concern.

Please click here for the original GSCE alert to this email which explains this in more detail.

As well as link below which is updated GSCE webpage which has links to both MASH and Early Help services, amongst others:



for any enquiries please contact Nick Bollington, Early Help – Community Social Work 


Getting tested for coronavirus (Covid-19)

Published 10th November 2020

Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus (COVID-19) website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Staff and pupils must not come into their education setting if they have symptoms and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop symptoms. All children can be tested if they have symptoms, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents or carers if using a home testing kit.

We have published a list of actions that early years, schools and further education colleges must follow in the event that a child or young person displays symptoms or if they confirm they have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The action lists are sector specific and print friendly. They can be accessed using these links:

Covid-19 update and the Department for Education Government Briefing (05 November 2020)

Published 5th November 2020

Dear All,

I am sure that, for many, the announcement of a second lockdown has been unwelcome, albeit necessary, news and will present different challenges to us all, not least to you as Early Years providers.  I know I that you will all continue to do the best you can to support the children and families of Gloucestershire; please do contact your Locality team if you need any support, and especially to advise them if you have made the decision to temporarily close your setting.

Following the initial announcement, as you can expect, we are receiving regular updates in respect of guidance for early years settings and schools; please see below the latest updates.  We have also received queries about funding for the remainder of the Autumn term as some of you are in a position where you have parents who have decided not to send their children in for the next month whilst they are working from home or are furloughed.

DfE Government Briefing (05/11/2020)

I would therefore like to reassure you that there will be no changes to our published funding arrangements for the Autumn term.  You should continue to claim for children you had registered to attend between September and December, even those that have chosen not start with you as planned or have started but have now chosen not attend for the next few weeks during the lockdown period.  As previously advised, we will compare your claims at the end of the term with the average number of claims made over the past 3 Autumn terms. In line with guidance from the Department for Education our aim is to ensure that we are broadly providing funding to all settings in the amount that they would typically receive in the Autumn term.

For your fee paying children you should apply your usual contractual arrangements if your parents choose not to send their child in to the setting, even though you are open and operating, whilst they work from home.

If you are advised to close your settings under Public Health guidance, you should continue to claim for the children that were registered to attend during that time.

Please do keep an eye on the Government website for further updates as no doubt additional guidance will follow, details of their telephone helpline is included in the attached email so that you can contact them directly should you need to.


Stay safe.

Best wishes,


Guidance from the Department for Education: Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak (Updated 21 October 2020)

Published 29th October 2020

Click here to view the full guidance: Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated this guidance as follows.

  • Made format changes to make information easier to find
  • Added information on:

- The use and disposal of face coverings (section 3)

- Supervised toothbrushing programmes (section 3)

- Local COVID alert levels and tiers of restriction (section 3)

- Music, dance and drama (section 3)

- Maximising use of sites and ventilation within settings (section 3)

- Reopening of buildings (section 3)

- Journeys, such as pick-ups and drop offs (section 3)

- Attending more than one setting (section 3)

- A child with symptoms attending a setting (section 3)

- Pregnant women (section 3)

- Visitors to settings, including new admissions and settling in (section 3)

- Use of outdoor private and public spaces (section 5)

- Informal childcare (section 5)

- Supporting children’s and staff wellbeing (section 6)

- New SEND legislation (section 6)

- EYFS disapplications ending on 25 September 2020 (section 7)

- Emergency first aid (section 7)

- The Job Retention Bonus scheme (section 10)

  • Amended wording on:

- Employer health and safety and equalities duties (section 3)

- Staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (section 3)

- Children who are shielding or self-isolating (section 4)

- Safeguarding (section 6)

  • Added an additional paragraph on managing coronavirus (COVID-19) cases (section 8)
  • updated information on funding (section 10)

Since 1 June, early years settings, including childminders, have been able to welcome back children of all ages. We are continuing to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

We will keep this guidance under review as we continue to monitor the situation.

Official Sensitive Covid-19: Risk assessing children who are returning to school

Published 29th September 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Please find below the link to the two virtual briefings to go through the process and answer any questions.  These will be:

Please look to the Downloads section to find a briefing note and risk assessment template that details the approach that needs to be taken to support attendance for vulnerable children and undertake the appropriate risk assessments.  This process builds on previous guidance and is an essential part of ensuring that vulnerable children across the county are protected and have access to the support they need. 

  • CS COVID Briefing Note 32 - Vulnerable Children Attendance Briefing
  • COVID 19 Risk assessment template: Return to education setting template

The guidance outlines the need to prioritise the risk assessment process for vulnerable children that are not attending school/setting, but a risk assessment should be in place for all vulnerable children.  Vulnerable children are considered to be: “Children that are open to Social care as a Child In Need, a child on a Child Protection Plan, a Child in Care or a child with an EHCP”.

This is critical guidance and an essential part of the ongoing response to COVID19 and our dialogue with Ofsted and the DfE. The quality of risk assessment and the associated responses will be a focus for Ofsted in both their work with us and their visits to schools, so please take the time to read this briefing carefully and if you have any queries or concerns contact the assigned social worker or EHCP case worker. In addition we will be running two virtual briefings to go through the process and answer any questions.  These will be: 9:00am Weds 30th September and 4:30pm Thursday the 1st Oct.  Further details on how to attend these sessions will follow.


Kind regards

Charlotte Jones


Acting Director of Education

Gloucestershire County Council

Block 1, 3rd Floor

Shire Hall, Gloucester, GL1 2TG.

Free Mental Health Resources

Published 28th September 2020

These are all free to download and if you want hard copies there is a small charge.  The guides include:

  • How to look after your mental health
  • How to support mental health at work
  • How to manage and reduce stress
  • How to overcome fear and anxiety 
  • How to look after your mental health using mindfulness
  • How to look after your mental health using exercise

To view all guides on the Mental Health Foundation webpage, click here.

NHS Test and Trace COVID-19 app – Resources for schools, parents and young people

Published 28th September 2020

The app has been launched to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It will do this by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so that they can take action.

Introducing the NHS COVID-19 app

The app is available to download on smartphones for anyone aged 16 or over. This means that some students in year 11, students in years 12, 13 and in further education colleges will be eligible to use the app and benefit from its features. In addition to the guidance for schools and further education colleges which we published yesterday, NHS Test and Trace has published guidance and resources to support the use of the app which are available to download.

Schools and further education colleges may find the fact sheet for parents and the poster about storing phones in lockers useful.

Stay up to date with GOV.UK:

Covid-19 Template Letters

Published on 26th June 2020

Please look to the 'Downloads' section for the template letters. 

Settings must follow the correct reporting procedures before using these letters and they should not send them out until they have reported cases to Public Health England.

The letters should NOT be issued until the contents have been agreed with the Public Health England (PHE) South West (SW) Health Protection Team.  The contents may change and status of cases will need to be updated.

30 Hour Eligibility Codes (Update 18th June 2020)

Published on 22nd June 2020

Dear Colleagues,

You may recall that on 7th May we emailed you details regarding 30 hour eligibility codes for critical workers and vulnerable children.

This advise has been updated on 18th June and the main points are:

  • If parents are temporarily not meeting the minimum income requirements as a direct consequence of COVID-19, they will be treated as eligible.  They should continue to apply and reconfirm through their childcare account and will be contacted to provide further evidence if necessary.
  • Critical workers who exceed the maximum income threshold due to increased income as a direct consequence of COVID-19 will remain eligible for the current tax year 2020/21 (up to a limit of £150,000)
  • Local Authorities are being asked to use their discretion in accepting the codes of all children who missed the 31st March deadline and had turned 3 before 1st April 2020.

Parents meeting the criteria of points 1 & 2 should continue to apply and reconfirm through their childcare account and the date range of their code will be set by HMRC.

For parents falling into point 3, once they have presented their eligible code to you and you have validated it on the funding portal and confirmed their application missed the 31st March deadline, you should contact us at with a copy of the Parent Declaration form and confirmation of the child’s start date at your setting.  We will make arrangements to update their code and input their extended hours claim on your behalf.  If you are unable to get the formed signed at this point, continue to send it to us and arrange to have the original signed at your earliest convenience.

Full details of the updates issued on the 18th June can be found by clicking here.  We will continue to keep you updated of any further changes.

Kind regards

Sue Bodenham
Finance Support Manager

Letter from the The Nursery Funding Team

Published on 5th June 2020

Dear Colleagues

Early Years Funded Entitlement For 2, 3 & 4 Year Olds for Terms 5 & 6 (Summer) 2020

With so many changes during the COVID19 situation we have constantly strived to find the best solutions to ensure the funding is paid promptly and effectively.

At the beginning of the term we tried to find a way to get payments out to you all without adding extra burdens to those of you that remained open and taking into consideration those settings that closed and had no means of confirming funding numbers.  We based the payments on the claims that had been paid in the Spring term, removing children that had left your settings, those that had reached compulsory school age and no extended hours for any eligibility codes that had expired.

We then opened the first amendment task to allow claims for those children that were new to 2, 3 & 4 year old funding and those that had changed their hours from Spring to Summer.

We now need to open a final amendment task following the re-opening of settings on 1st June.  This task will remain open until 10th July and the payment will be released from GCC on 31st July.  We are aware that the payment will be after the end of term but we are hoping that the task will capture all of the terms movements if there should be any further restrictions lifted or changed.

You should now submit all your claims on this task, including any new or additional children and any increased or decreased hours.  Please also remember to amend any leavers' claims by adding an end date and reducing the weeks and hours as necessary.  Details on how to do this can be found in Section 18 of the Portal User Guide.

For children increasing their hours, you will need to use the "Average Hours Calculator" that can be found on our website and instructions on how to use it can be found in Section 19 of the Portal User Guide.

Adding all your claims will result in over claims for some of your children that can now only attend one setting.  We will contact you to discuss these occurrences and will need to review all of your children's summer term attendance to ensure we are funding you for the correct additional hours over and above your pre-funded places.

Payment of any additional hours will have to be made after the main funding payment on 31st July because all children's hours are capped to not exceed their annual entitlement so the payment will have to be made outside of our usual Nursery Funding system.

The timetable for the remainder of the term is provided below:

Key dates for the rest of the Summer term:

Term Starts 20th April 2020
Week 1 of funded period starts 20th April 2020
2nd headcount amendment task opens 15th June 2020
2nd headcount amendment task closes 10th July 2020
Week 12 of funded period ends 17th July 2020
Term ends 20th July 2020
Headcount amendment payment released from GCC 31st July 2020
Headcount amendment payment breakdown lists issued 3rd August 2020
Payment of additional hours 7th August 2020
Autumn term task opens 14th July 2020
Claim forms for Autumn term issued 15th July 2020


30 Hours Free Childcare

To claim the additional 15 hours in the Summer term, parents need to have applied for an eligibility code from HMRC by 31st March 2020.  Any codes obtained after this date will not qualify for the additional hours until September 2020.  The website parents need to visit to apply for 30 hours free childcare is:-

We are here to assist you with your claims, if you should have any queries please contact the team at  Please also refer to all the updates we are sending you, regarding the COVID19 situation.  All the latest information can be found on our website at

Yours sincerely,

Sue Bodenham

Finance Support Manager

Advice from Ofsted: Early Years and childcare

Published on 2nd June 2020

The DfE has published plans for all early years and childcare settings to prepare to re-open from 1 June 2020 for all children, provided that the 5 key tests set by the government justify this change at the time. It has also released guidance on protective measures.

The DfE also confirmed that if childminders are not providing care for vulnerable children or children of critical workers, from 13 May 2020 they can provide care for children from ‘one household’. This will help with the central government plans as more people return to work.

Letting us know if you are opening or temporarily closing

We have been working with the DfE and local authorities to find out which early years providers, including childminders, are currently open or temporarily closed. This is to help find out if there is sufficient and accessible childcare available in the coming weeks and to help support vulnerable children as best we can.

We still need further information about whether some providers are open or closed. We may contact you via email in the coming weeks to ask you about your setting and plans for the future. Please check that this email comes from an address before responding as soon as you can.

If your operating circumstances do change (you open or close), notify us by sending an email to with ‘Change in operating hours’ in the subject field. In the body of the email, please confirm the unique reference number for each setting and the details of the change. You can find your URN on your registration, your inspection report(s), and on your Ofsted reports page.

Resigning registrations

You should continue to tell us if you are resigning your registration. To do this, email from your email address that we have on your registration and include your unique reference number (URN). You can find this on your registration, your inspection report(s), and on your setting’s Ofsted reports page.

First aid certificates

If your paediatric first aid certificate is due to expire, see advice from the Health and Safety Executive. It has announced a 3-month extension to the validity for all certificates coming up for renewal on or after 16th March 2020.

Coordinating Support for Children and Families during COVID-19

Published on 1st May 2020

The pages can be found here.  We will be continuing to add and amend material as it becomes available.  We have also added collated responses on services changes during Covid-19, in the Family Support section, on the right of this webpage.

We would also like to highlight an extension of the hours of the Family Information Service Advice Line from today, Wednesday 22nd April. The helpline offers families guidance and emotional support on any aspect of parenting and family life. This free confidential service will now be available from 9 am to 8 pm weekdays and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday. You can find out more in the flyer under the Family Support section, or via the Family Information Service web site.

Please feel free to share with parents and other interested parties.

Sent by The Early Years Service

Update - Funding Arrangements for the Summer Term 2020

Published on 28th April 2020

We recognise that many providers are continuing to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers across the county.  This is a critical service as part of our response to COVID-19 and we thank you for playing your part.  We recognise that attendance numbers will be dropping as government and public health guidance strengthens.  It is essential that provision continues, which is why the government has committed to maintain funding.  If at any stage you are considering closing your provision you must discuss this with the Early Years service first. It is essential that we keep an overview of the available provision for key workers/vulnerable children - and if there are any children whose places are affected we will need to work with you to make alternative arrangements.

2, 3 & 4 Year old Funded Children

  • Funding for the Spring Term is now complete and no further adjustments will be made, in accordance with 13.12 and 13.13 of the Local Provider Agreement.
  • We will NOT be issuing a task or Parent Declaration Forms for the Summer Term.
  • The first payment for the Summer Term will be estimated and will reflect the amount of funding paid to Early Years providers in the Spring Term rather than providers needing to submit actual claims.
  • Funding payments for the Summer Term will be made on approximately 30th April 2020.
  • By 7th May we will request details from you of any funded keyworker/vulnerable children that you took from another setting in the Summer term. We will request the days and hours the children attended, what setting they moved from and whether they were a keyworker or vulnerable child, we also need to know specifically if the keyworker parent works for the NHS.  We will also ask you to tell us how many of your funded children that you expected to attend in the summer term actually continued to attend. We will send you a template to complete and submit with this information.
  • On the same return we will ask you to provide us with details of new claimers, those that you did not claim for in the spring term. Please include all children who were due to be new claimers even if they are not able to attend due to the current pandemic. We will compare the amount of funding you have received against what you were due and include their funding in the amendment payment.  The amendment payment will be made on approximately 29th May.
  • We will NOT recover any over payments. We will take into account the funding you have received, new claimers/starters, additional children from other settings and reduced attendance before we make an amendment payment. As advised by the DfE this means that any children you take from another setting temporarily will fill your pre-funded places first if you have any spaces left empty through non attendance. Children you take in addition to the pre funded places will then attract further funding.  Advice from DfE stated "Local Authorities will continue to pay providers for the free entitlements as they would have before the closure, or partial closure, of settings due to the Coronavirus. This means there will be a number of pre-paid places available in those settings who remain open and we expect local authorities and providers to work together to use those funded places to accommodate the children of critical workers."
  • Parents MUST continue to reconfirm and apply for their 30 hour eligibility codes as normal. The deadline date for applying for the Summer Term is 31st MARCH 2020.

Fee Paying Children

  • If a fee paying parent is a key worker, based on the list, or their child has an EHCP or a Social Worker, they will need to find an alternative childcare provider if their usual provider is closed. The Early Years Service can support parents with this if needed.
  • If they have already paid their fees in advance to their existing provider, this may restrict them using an alternative provider if they have to pay again.
  • Please check your parent's contracts and insurance policies regarding sudden and unexpected closures and consider refunding your parents if possible.
  • For those key worker parents who cannot be refunded, GCC will cover the cost of their childcare at an alternative provider, excluding Independent School Nurseries, for the period that they had already paid for at their original setting. Parents will then resume payment as usual.
  • This applies to all Early Years Children (0 - 5).
  • Parents should contact the Early Years service to discuss covering fees not refunded and if agreed providers must submit an invoice to: for the fees for these children.

  • If an Early Years provider wishes to close and to furlough staff, despite having key/vulnerable children in the setting, you must contact the Early Years service before taking action so that arrangements are in place for children. It is critical that we ensure provision is available for vulnerable children and those of key workers. It is the expectation of the DfE and the Local Authority that settings will remain open wherever possible to provide childcare for children in the specified categories.  The Early Years service will work with providers to resolve any barriers to this.

Early Years Business & Finance Advice - FAQ COVID-19

Published on 21st April 2020

Please look to the Downloads section on the right to find the FAQs relating to Business and Finance for EY providers, each with the relevant DfE information and links.  Please note that this is DfE guidance that we all need to be aware of, follow and respond to, rather than any Local Authority decisions or guidance. 

If you are not able to find what you are looking for or need further information to help you to interpret any element of this please refer to DfE helplines and webpages.

Sent by The Early Years Service

Email from Tim Browne

Published on 24th March 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Firstly I would like to thank you for all of your hard work and efforts in making yesterday successful for the children who needed you. I know this was not a simple ask from Government and I have great admiration for all you are doing in these difficult times.

You will have seen the announcement last night from the Prime Minister announcing three new measures to reduce the spread of infection:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes:
    1. Shopping for basis necessities such as food and medicine
    2. One form of exercise a day
    3. Any medical need, or to provide care to help a vulnerable person
    4. Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely cannot be done from home
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping gatherings of more than two people in public

Guidance was updated overnight in light of this:

Schools and Early Years settings are still expected to remain open for vulnerable children and those of key workers. Many of you saw less demand for places yesterday than was expected and we would anticipate that numbers will now reduce further with many more parents now at home, or working from home.

It is clear that the situation is changing rapidly and it is possible over the coming days there will be more stringent measures on travel. We are therefore providing text for you to customise on your letterhead should we reach the point where critical workers (including school / setting staff) need to have paperwork to enable them to travel between home and work.

To manage our responses to you, please do not reply directly to this email. Please liaise directly with your Early Years Adviser.  Please visit our Who we are webpage to find out who covers your area, as well as their contact details.

Best wishes,

Tim Browne

Director of Education

Email from the Early Years Service

Published on 23rd March 2020

Dear All,

Thank you to all of those who have submitted their Covid-19 EY  information form. 

We have been busy trying to ensure that we have been able to identify alternative provision for those children who need it, but unfortunately due to the volume of calls and emails we have not quite got to everyone.  However, I think all of the children that needed urgent care for Monday have been contacted.

If you have not yet sent in your completed form please do so as early as possible today (Monday) so that we can continue to make arrangements for childcare where needed.

I would also like to thank you all for your support during this difficult time, many of you have offered to take extra children, to relocate staff where needed etc, this has been really helpful in ensuring that we can accommodate childcare needs for our vulnerable children and to support keyworker staff to maintain critical roles.

We have also attached some FAQs that we hope will help to answer some of your queries.

Thank you,

Sent on behalf of the Early Years Service

Email from Tim Browne

Published on 20th March 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Overnight the DfE have updated their guidance for schools /settings to include the definition of a key worker. The full information can be found online:

We know that you have been desperate for this information since the announcement on Wednesday so we are sending this in a separate communication to you this morning and will update yesterday’s guidance with this information later on today – as I am sure this will raise more questions as the day goes on.

It is important to note that there just needs to be one key worker in a family for them to be prioritised for education; but that the Government are still asking parents to keep their children at home if they are able to.

We have attached a template communication for you to share with your parents if this is helpful for you to either use, or include in other information you are sending out.

Key worker categories

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

Link to the DFE page for Key Workers:

Link to document:

A statement put out by the Health and Safety Executive

HSE's current guidance on the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981: and the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989 is that those holding an OM, OFA, FAW or EFAW qualification should undertake retraining before their original certificate expires and HSE strongly recommends that employers, and individuals holding those qualifications should plan for requalification training well in advance of expiry dates.

If however requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus or by complying with related government advice, it is reasonable and practical to extend the validity of current certificates by up to 3 months. Anyone taking advantage of this extension should be able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.

This guidance comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020. HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.

The Department for Education supports the HSE statement regarding the extension of first aid certificates during coronavirus emergency and that it can be applied to paediatric first aid certificates held by staff in early years provision.

With best wishes,

Tim Browne

Director of Education

Update on Coronavirus: Funding claims and further guidance

Published on 11th March 2020

Nursery funding claims

As previously communicated, settings can continue to claim for funded children for a 2 week period if the setting has been advised/instructed to close and/or if a child has been advised/instructed not  to attend due to the need for self isolation etc.  We will consider the potential to extend the funding period as and when we receive any further information/advice from Public Health England and DfE with regard to enforced closure of schools and settings and will advise accordingly once decisions are made.

We do also acknowledge the concerns raised by providers with fee paying children about the potential financial impact that any enforced closure may have and this will also be considered if we receive advice that schools/settings have to close.

Detailed below are some links to update information

The Department for Business (BEIS) and Public Health England have issued guidance for employers.

Educational Settings Guidance:

If you are a member of an professional organisation e.g. Morton Michel, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), we would advise you to sign up to the updates and alerts for members, links detailed below:

Nursery Funding during periods of absence due to Coronavirus

Published on 5th March 2020

If an Early Years setting needs to close, the funding will cover 2 weeks of the closure period.  The following passage relating to children’s absence is taken from the current provider agreement:

13.12 Gloucestershire County Council will not claim back funding for any irregular attendance in a funded period, but needs to be informed of any regular patterns of non-attendance so that the matter can be reviewed for the following funded period.  Providers should be seen to be engaging all the relevant parties to support a child to regularly access their funded place.  Children can be absent due to sickness or holidays for a period of up to 2 weeks before any funding will be recovered.  In exceptional circumstances Gloucestershire County Council will not claim back funding for a period of 2 weeks in cases where parents do not give their correct notice period when leaving the setting.

We are advising settings to review their insurance policies regarding sudden closures for any longer periods.

We have been forwarding all communications about Coronavirus from the DfE and Public Health England to all Early Years settings in Gloucestershire, as and when we receive them, please look out for these emails and take note of the advice that is updated on a daily basis.  We expect the Health Protection Agency and DfE to issue further advice If the need arises for settings to close, at the moment this is not in place.



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