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Information for early years and childcare service providers

Last Updated 11:12am, 2 June 2021


Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

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National restrictions

Full guidance on what you can and cannot do during this time is available on the government website.

The guidance around actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has also been updated.

Asymptomatic testing

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.

Changes to childminder testing process

Following feedback on the registration and uploading process since March, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Test and Trace have been working to identify ways to make it easier for childminders to identify their profession when recording results on the NHS Covid-19 test results portal.

The changes are due to come into effect from 2 June and are designed to allow us to monitor more clearly the effectiveness of our testing programme and identify any areas or groups within the early years childcare system that are not engaging in testing, so that we can identify potential barriers.

Instructions on how childminders can access testing kits remains unchanged and can be found on the government website.

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.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact the Department for Education Coronavirus Helpdesk.

Reporting a test result

Please report all confirmed cases  of COVID-19 to the Local Authority (LA). For more information, please see our quick guide on reporting COVID-19 test outcomes.

If you need advice and are not getting a timely response from the DfE or the Public Health England South West Health Protection Team (PHE SW HPT), Public Health Devon have advised that you request a call back from the Devon County Council Public Health Team. To do this, add your request to the ‘Additional Comments/Questions’ section of your smart survey return.

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. You can still contact the DfE helpline if you have further single cases, but you do not need to if you feel confident to follow the guidance to identify and isolate close contacts without further support.

For two or more confirmed cases in the same group or class, follow the National Action Card for your setting. If you need further advice, the LA and the PHE SW HPT (0300 303 8162) can also provide support.

You should also call the PHE SW HPT (0300 303 8162) regarding possible COVID-19 cases if:

  • The number of cases exceeds 5 within 14 days
  • You’ve taken appropriate action but are still seeing more cases
  • You’re thinking you might need to close because of the number of people affected
  • Somebody in your education setting has been admitted to hospital
  • You’re getting significant interest from local media

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.

Letter templates

The following template letters are available to use in communications with parents and staff:

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).

The Department for Education have produced an action list detailing what to do if a child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Attendance survey

All early years providers, with children who have not yet started in the reception class, should complete the fortnightly Attendance Survey.

The attendance survey will be emailed to you every other Thursday; the date when the survey must be returned will be included in the email. A reminder email will be sent if we have not received your completed survey on the Tuesday before the survey must be completed. This enables us to collate and submit a weekly return to the Department for Education.

If you need further help, please take a look at our user guide and refer to our set of FAQs for Early Years and Childcare Providers about the Attendance Survey.

There is also a new mailbox for you to email should you need further support.

Educational setting status form

As part of the educational setting status form, any settings offering onsite wraparound provision need to provide information on the number of pupils including vulnerable children in wraparound provision, pupils with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or social worker and the number of those who could not be offered a place.

Please provide your data by 2pm each working day.

Guidance on how to complete the educational settings status form is available on the government website.

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.


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.

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

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is providing some additional PPE (masks, aprons, gloves and eye protection) to Local Authorities to help education and registered childcare settings manage with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The emergency PPE will be held centrally by Devon County Council, where schools and registered childcare settings will 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.

The Department of Health and Social Care can provide a one-off delivery of approximately 450 Type IIR masks to early years providers and primary schools where there are multiple members of adult staff and visitors on the premises. Childminders will not receive a direct delivery of contingency face covering stock.

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.


All face-to-face training has been cancelled until further notice. However, we have a range of eLearning modules available to access via the DEL training website.

Government guidance for early years and childcare providers

Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers and COVID-19

The Department for Education commissioned an online survey with childcare providers to help understand how childcare providers have responded to the pandemic, the status of childcare provision and any potential longer-term consequences for the childcare market. This research with childcare providers is available on the government website.

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