Early Years Provider Updates | COVID-19 Edition 26

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Service Lead for Early Years and Prevention, Michael Jarrett, for the attention of the Early Years Sector.

Please find below communications from the Early Years and Prevention Service to keep you informed of various different initiatives and government updates for 04/05/2020. We hope you find this informative and if you have any suggestions about content please contact us on earlyyears@slough.gov.uk.

It is important to keep in contact with families during this time, so please share this information across all of your contacts. 

What’s New

VE Day

Slough Borough Council are doing a few different things to mark VE day and would you like to get the little ones involved. The link below goes to some blank bunting so the kids can do draw/paint their own VE Day designs! Some ideas to include are – poppies, our flag colours and 75 years! https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4TrqYDyf4PMdLypxzyTwGDg/great-british-bunting

If you would like to take part please email your photo’s of the finished art work to gemma.leary@slough.gov.uk  as soon as possible but by Wednesday evening the latest.


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and school closures, SEBDOS have offered support to their current open cases via telephone and video conferencing. SEBDOS are pleased to say that quite a number of clients agreed to this and those children and their families are continuing to receive high quality and welcome support in these very difficult times. A few schools/settings have informed them that they would like some cases put on hold until everything re-open.

SEBDOS would like to advised settings that they are still accepting new referrals for both children and their families, so far they have had a good response but were anticipating greater numbers given the current unprecedented circumstances.  They would urge schools and early years settings to consider new referrals, children and families who may not have been appropriate for referral in more settled times may well need that support now. Once they receive a referral from you that support can start straight away. Please refer any child or family to julia.heath@littledown.slough.sch.uk.

SEBDOS have also offered online training via Zoom which a number of schools and settings have expressed an interest in. Currently they are offering live virtual bespoke training on ASD, ADHD, behaviour management and safeguarding for both teaching and support staff. Please contact earlyyears@slough.gov.uk if you are interested.

New Government Updates for 04/05/2020

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Schools and Other Education Settings During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Information for parents and carers about educational provision for critical workers, school closures, exams, free school meals and home schooling. Added information about the May bank holiday, a link to the admissions appeals and updates to the support is available to parents to help them educate their children at home.  For more information click here.

Coronavirus Act 2020 | Notices to Temporarily Remove or Relax Statutory Requirements in Education and Childcare

We recognise that during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, flexibility will be needed in education and childcare settings. Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State for Education can issue notices to temporarily remove or relax statutory requirements and provisions in academy arrangements where this is an appropriate and proportionate action relating to the incidence or transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Secretary of State for Education has issued four notices to:

  • Modify pupil registration requirements so that a child attending a school on a temporary basis because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak should not be registered as a pupil and should return to their usual school once it reopens.
  • Disapply the duty on Ofsted to undertake regular inspections of state-funded schools within prescribed intervals. Duties on other bodies to provide a statement of action and relating to the inspection of collective worship and denominational education are also disapplied.
  • Modify the duty on local authorities to secure special educational provision and on health commissioning bodies to arrange health provision in accordance with education, health and care (EHC) plans, so that they can discharge this by using their ‘reasonable endeavours’.

The notices apply from 1 May 2020 to 31 May 2020. We will continuously review whether these notices are an appropriate and proportionate action in all the circumstances relating to the incidence or transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Further notices may be made as a result.

We have also amended regulations to alter timescales relating to EHC plans. The usual timescales for EHC needs assessment and plan processes will be replaced by duties to act as soon as is reasonably practicable (or in line with any other timing requirement in the amended regulations). This guidance document will cover the period from 1 May 2020 to 25 September 2020 and will be kept under review.

EYFS Disapplications

The Department published guidance for early years providers about the temporary disapplications and modifications of certain elements of the EYFS statutory framework during COVID-19.  The temporary changes include:

  • Providers to make reasonable endeavours to meet existing learning and development requirements
  • Providers are not required to undertake the EYFS profile assessment in 2019/20 academic year, and accordingly local authorities are not required to collect or moderate data on this
  • Providers are not required to undertake the 2-year progress check during the COVID-19 period
  • Exceptions are allowed to the qualifications that staff hold in order to be counted in ratio requirements
  • For those caring for children aged 2-5, providers must use their ‘best endeavours’ to ensure one person with a full PFA certificate is on-site at all times when children are present or complete a written risk assessment and ensure that someone with a current First Aid at Work or emergency PFA certification is on site at all times children are on premises
  • There is no longer the requirement for new entrants to hold PFA certification to count in ratios during this period. 

The rest of the EYFS remains in place. The term ‘best endeavours’ applies to the PFA requirements. This is a higher level requirement than ‘reasonable endeavours’.  The guidance providers further information on this can be found here.

Government will notify providers when these temporary changes will be lifted via usual government communications. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Business Support Grant Funding | Guidance for Businesses

Guidance for businesses setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Guidance updated with information on tax. Click here to view the full article.

Keeping in Touch and Targeted Support for Early Years Settings

During this unfamiliar time the team would like you to know that we are here to offer you support, in whatever way you may need it? We are on the other end of the phone or email and will continue to provide you with daily email updates. Even if you are currently closed the team can offer a range of support from discussing government guidance documents to reviewing local area initiatives.

We understand that this is a difficult period for everyone and in these uncertain times it can often help to share concerns, questions and queries with others, so please do keep in contact and pick up the phone anytime for a catch up.

You can email and call individual members of the team or for general enquiries contact earlyyears@slough.gov.uk or call 01753 476554.

If your setting is currently still open and are considering closure please discuss with the Early Years Service and for further information, advice or guidance please contact the team on 01753 476554 or email earlyyears@slough.gov.uk


DfE Data Collection

The DfE have now requested that the Local Authority submits to them the total number of early years children (0-4 year olds, excluding 4 year olds in reception) being cared for, every Monday and Thursday. Please can all providers (who are open) continue to submit registers every Friday but in addition to this please email earlyyears@slough.gov.uk before 12pm on Monday’s and Thursday’s with the following information:


Total Number of 0-4 Year Olds in Attendance Number of Children Who’s Parents are Critical Workers Number of Vulnerable Children


Early Help Provision

We appreciate that our children, young people and families may experience some challenges in the coming weeks.

Where possible, the Early Help Hub will continue to provide support to families through our family support. If you require support from the EH Hub team and you have a family support worker already, please contact them directly or call us on 01753 476589.

If you are not currently supported by our family support workers but require support and advice, please call us on 01753 476589 and our Family Information Service will be happy to provide you with information and advice to ensure you get the support you need. If this line is not available you can access the website by clicking on the following link: www.sloughfamilyservices.org.uk.

If the child or young person requires immediate protection please call the Front Door Hub on 01753 875362 and send the electronic multi-agency referral form (MARF) to sloughchildren.referrals@scstrust.co.uk

Domestic Abuse | Slough Safeguarding Partnership

Challenging times may result in the need to access specialist support, don’t be alone, attached are some resources that might be able to help.  You can also visit the Slough Safeguarding Partnership here to learn more.

Alternatively if you can also access the Slough Safeguarding Partnership newsletter by clicking here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

If providers have any children or young people displaying any Mental Health and or well-being concerns, then please contact the East Berkshire Getting Help Service at CAMHSGettingHelpEast@berkshire.nhs.uk.

Continuous Professional Development

During the pandemic it may be appropriate for some staff to complete some online training to support their continuous professional development. We have complied a spreadsheet that contains some e learning opportunities which you may want to explore in line with each employee’s development needs.

You may consider requesting furloughed staff to complete some online training whilst they are not officially working, if you do this please ensure you are following the guidance below as outlined in the guidance document ‘Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.

Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training.

Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours.

However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages (see National Minimum Wage Section for more details). https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Temporary Extension of Eligibility Criteria for the 2-year-old Entitlement

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are temporarily extending eligibility criteria for the 2-year-old entitlement to include children assessed as being vulnerable and meeting the definition in Section 17 of the Children Act (1989) and who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

The Secretary of State for Education has decided to temporarily extend eligibility for the free early education entitlement to 2-year-olds from families in receipt of Section 17 support who have NRPF, for the duration of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak only.

This is to support their safety and wellbeing whilst restrictions are in place. Eligible children are British-born children who are entitled to be in the country yet are not receiving support by virtue of their parents’ immigration status, which triggers the NRPF. This is a temporary measure during Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is intended to support vulnerable children not usually eligible for a free place through the free early education entitlement.

Local authorities will be reimbursed for eligible children who have taken up a temporary free 2-year-old place by attending an early years childcare setting during Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are working on the process to reimburse local authorities and further guidance will be made available in due course.

We will inform local authorities when this temporary extension of the eligibility criteria has come to an end. Please click here to learn more.