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Information for early years and childcare service providers

Last Updated 3:45pm, 1 September 2021


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National guidelines

Please see the government website for full guidance on what you can and cannot do during this time and actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

From 19 July, early years settings and holiday clubs are no longer expected to be identifying close contacts of a positive case in the setting. This will now be undertaken by NHS Test and Trace who will follow up with the parent following a positive PCR test in a child. Usually within 24-48hrs of the result. Read more in our July update for providers.

The DfE has developed a new FAQs document to answer your questions on the Step 4 guidance for early years settings. Additional FAQs for childminders are available here.

Asymptomatic testing

This process is continuing until the end of September when it will then be reviewed.

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has outlined the asymptomatic testing programme in education. Currently, the asymptomatic testing programme in education covers all staff at school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. Guidance and delivery schedule for Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries for tests is available here.

You can get regular rapid lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Details of why you should get regularly tested and how are available on the NHS website.

Childminder testing process

Please see our quick guide on reporting the outcome of a COVID-19 test; childminders will need to follow this process for each completed asymptomatic LFD rapid test.

COVID-19 vaccination: resources for children and young people

Find out about what to expect after the COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people.

Reporting a test result

It is imperative that the Local Authority is notified of any confirmed Covid case (staff or children) in your setting. Please report all confirmed cases using this form.

For more information, please see our quick guide on reporting COVID-19 test outcomes.

If you need support for single confirmed cases, call the DfE Helpline on 0800 046 8687 ​(Mon-Fri 8am-6pm and Sat-Sun 10am-6pm) and follow the National Action Card for your setting. They can support risk assessment and follow up.

You should only contact PHE SW Health Protection Team (0300 303 8162) if your setting has had five or more cases in the past two weeks or more than three class bubbles are affected, or you have taken all actions and are still seeing more cases in your setting, or you have a high rate of severe illness/complex cases, or the cases are linked to a variant of concern.

Please also refer to the PHE SW HPT’s latest guidance for childcare and educational settings in the management of COVID-19 and their updated advice about Acute Respiratory Infection management in education settings.

Support for early years and childcare providers

The Early Years and Childcare Service want to make sure that you are kept up to date with the latest advice and information. You can do this in the following ways:

Your early years and childcare advisers (EYCA) should be your first point of contact; they are available for providers to call, Skype or email. Full details can be found in the EYCA contact list.

The funding helpdesk continues to be available for providers questions about the entitlement funding. Email queries to

We are managing additional funding to support providers through and beyond the pandemic.

Please note that the team are currently working from home, so please do not send any post to County Hall.

Information for early years and childcare providers

Public Health England (PHE) have produced helpful posters about hand hygiene and “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” approach to stop the spread of germs.

There is also a poster with details of how to contact PHE as well as guidance for childcare and educational settings about the management of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Making every contact count

Children’s social care are asking that whenever an early years and childcare provider has regular contact with a child who is known to have an allocated social worker, professionals share the information with the children’s social care team using the ‘making every contact count’ form. Once complete, this form should be returned to

As early years and childcare providers are likely to be having contact several times a week, children’s social care are requesting that the form is completed every six weeks (half termly) starting from this half term (22 February). However, if you have a concern about anything within the six-week period you need to complete an additional form to highlight your concerns and return it to the central email inbox.

Further details of making every contact count during the pandemic are available here.

Settings guidance toolkit and sample risk assessment

Settings do not need to reformat their existing contingency plans to specific templates, but the plans should be kept robust and up to date. Read our guidance toolkit for more information and advice on how to maintain these plans.

In order to help you plan and prepare your setting, we have put together a sample Childcare Risk Assessment that must be adapted to reflect the significant hazards and control measures present on your site to allow the safe return of children and staff to your setting.


Further guidance and the latest updates from Ofsted relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for schools, early years, children’s social care and further education and skills providers are available on the government website.

Reporting COVID-19 cases

You must notify Ofsted here, or the childminder agency who you are registered with, of any confirmed cases in the setting, whether a child or a staff member. You should also tell Ofsted if you have to close the setting as a result. It is a legal requirement as set out in paragraph 3.51 of the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage. Report as soon as possible or within 14 days.

From the end of January 2021, childminders, nurseries and all other childcare providers must use an online notification form to tell Ofsted about significant events.

Don’t forget, if your operating circumstance change (you open or close), you need to notify Ofsted 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.

Emergency PPE for education and registered childcare settings

PPE is currently being held centrally by Devon County Council, where schools and registered childcare settings are be able to request it, free of charge, if they are unable obtain PPE through their usual supply chains. Schools and registered childcare settings are still required to supply their own PPE in the first instance. You can find a list of suppliers of PPE available here.

The emergency PPE can be requested by filling out this form After a request has been approved, the PPE will be available to collect, within 7 days, from one of four collection points in Exeter, Newton Abbot, Tavistock or Barnstaple.

Free PPE is available until the end of March 2022.

Financial support and funding

Information about financial support for early years and childcare providers is available on our webpages.

Further guidance about financial support for education, early years and children’s social care is available on the government website.

The DfE have also produced a resource pack to help us communicate with working parents. The pack includes a range of materials including flyers, social media assets and draft emails that help promote government childcare entitlements for children aged 2-4, as well as tax-free childcare.

Keep your details up to date on Pinpoint

Please ensure your Pinpoint record is up to date and shows whether you are open or closed.


The DEL training website contains a wide range of short courses and e-learning for early years and childcare staff to book onto.

Currently the majority of our training is available as either virtually or via e-learning and can be accessed via the DEL training website. We will continue to review the situation and may bring back some face-to-face training when safe to do so, and if there is a need.

Early Years and Childcare Workforce Development Team:  

Government guidance for early years and childcare providers

Further guidance

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended for the full duration of the national lockdown with furloughed staff to be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2,500 a month.

Additionally, the following guidance is available on the government website:

Looking after ourselves and others

You can find more information on health and wellbeing on the ‘keeping safe and well’ advice page. This includes a section about looking after yourself and your family’s wellbeing.

Here, we’ve highlighted some guidance that you should find useful:

Privacy notices

Changes to how we may process your personal data during the COVID-19 crisis