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Information for early years and childcare service providers

Last Updated 5:23pm, 20 January 2022


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National guidelines

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

The latest information and announcements will be available through the daily Department for Education sector bulletin.

Update to self-isolation advice and the NHS COVID-19 app

From Monday 16 August, people who have been fully vaccinated (defined as two weeks after their final dose) within the UK, or aged under 18 years and 6 months will no longer be asked to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Individuals will instead be advised to take daily LFD tests for 7 days and given advice on how to prevent the spread of COVID.

All early years and wraparound childcare staff should also continue to test twice weekly. This will be reviewed nationally later this year.

Please note: Children aged 4 and under will not be required to take part in daily contact testing based on close contacts outside of the home. If children aged 4 and under have cases in their households, they are not required to isolate but should limit contact with anyone who is higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19 and arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible.

The NHS COVID-19 app will be updated to reflect this change:

  • The app will now ask you to confirm your age and vaccination status in order to update the advice provided by the app.
  • The majority of people will not be advised to self-isolate.

If you are advised to self-isolate, the self-isolation countdown timer can help you keep track of your isolation days.

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

Here’s a quick guide to reporting the outcomes of COVID-19 tests. This information is for all Early Years and childcare providers.

  • You need to report all positive confirmed cases of any child or member of staff by completing this online form.
  • Any confirmed cases in the setting (either child or staff member), or if the setting has been advised to close as a result, should also be reported to Ofsted as soon as reasonably practical, and in any case within 14 days.
  • If you need any advice contact the DfE Helpline on 0800 046 8687.

The  UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) South West Health Protection Team  and Devon County Council Public Health team have provided the following guidance about the management of COVID-19 for childcare and educational settings.

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

You should only contact UKHSA SW Health Protection Team (0300 303 8162) if advised to do so by the DFE advice line.

From Tuesday 14th December, Omicron variant Covid cases and close contacts will be treated the same as all Covid cases and contacts. Omicron will soon be the dominant variant and so guidance is changing to reflect this.

Please use the Schools, Colleges and Early Years settings guidance toolkit to support your setting’s contingency outbreak management plans

UKHSA have also produced the following templates, a warn and inform letter for when cases are first seen in the setting and an outbreak warning letter:

Cleaning and waste

Please refer to the cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home guidance available on the government website.

Asymptomatic testing

Settings started receiving deliveries of lateral flow device (LFD) in March. Staff are asked to take their test kits home and carry out the test twice a week, preferably in the morning. Please note that you should not offer testing to children in early years settings.

Further guidance on asymptomatic home testing is available here.

Settings will have receive an email containing a Unique Organisation Number (UON). You can also find your UON using the unique organisation number lookup form. Your UON will enable you to place orders for test kits using the new online ordering system.

Please consider your current stock level and your testing demands before placing any order to ensure that the order you place meets your testing needs. You can order your testing kit supplies using the order coronavirus (COVID-19) tests for your organisation online form on the government website.

You are no longer required to take a follow up PCR test following an LFD positive test. Staff and pupils with a positive LFD test result should self-isolate in line with government guidance.

If any staff or pupils develop COVID19 symptoms, you should always seek a PCR test. LFD tests should not be used on people with symptoms or on children under the age of 11 years old.

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

UKHSA have produced helpful posters about hand hygiene and “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” approach to stop the spread of germs.

Please also refer to government guidance on appropriate use of PPE and information from the Health and Safety Executive about how to keep occupied spaces well ventilated and use CO2 monitors as they become available.

Making every contact count

Children’s social care are still 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

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.


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

An emergency stock of PPE is currently being held centrally by Devon County Council. Schools and registered childcare settings are able to request PPE, free of charge, if they are unable to obtain it 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 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