Government updates

COVID-19 testing for early years providers

Staff in schools-based nurseries, maintained nursery schools and Private, Voluntary or Independent (PVI) childcare providers are now eligible for regular asymptomatic testing as part of the education testing programme and are receiving lateral flow device (LFD) kits for twice weekly testing at home. PVI providers will not need to place an order to receive this initial delivery of testing supplies. No further workforce, equipment or funding is required for the administration of these tests; as a result, providers will not receive additional funding to carry out testing.

The process for how PVI providers order test kits has changed from Thursday 29th April. The DFE have introduced a new online system for ordering test kits for testing at home. This means that providers will be able to re-order test kits and better manage stock levels and deliveries. PVI providers will automatically receive a delivery of testing kits on Thursday 6th May, Friday 7th May or Monday 10th May. This delivery will be the final automatic delivery, after which providers will need to use the new ordering system to order further test kits.

Providers can order additional testing kit supplies using the online form. They should consider their current stock level and testing demands before placing any order to ensure the order meets their testing needs. For further information on how to place an order, providers can be referred to the ordering guidance available on the primary schools and nurseries document sharing platform.

We have also expanded the ways in which childminders and staff in wraparound childcare providers can access asymptomatic twice-weekly testing. As well as accessing testing through community testing sites, they can now do this by:

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March 2020 to 29 April 2021

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March 2020 to 29 April 2021

Change made: first published.

Support for workers who are required to self-isolate

The Government has made available, through the Department for Health and Social Care, a £500 test and trace support payment scheme, to support workers who are required to self-isolate or care for a child who is required to self-isolate, and are unable to work from home.

As you may be aware:

  • There are two schemes to which early years staff who test positive, or who have to care for a child who is required to self-isolate may be eligible to claim from, both of which are administered through Local Authorities (LAs)
  • The main scheme is intended for those who are working and in receipt of one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit
  • There is also a discretionary scheme for those on low incomes who have lost income by being unable to work from home while self-isolating
  • Thus far (as at 26/3) Government has issued £176m to LAs, including £75m for the discretionary scheme
  • The ongoing uplift to LAs is over £30m per month to cover both schemes.

We would like to encourage more staff to participate in the testing programme. To support this we need to ensure that providers have accurate information about the test and trace support payments, so that they are able to provide assurances and accurate information to their staff about the support that may be on offer in the event of a positive test.

NCFE CACHE Early Years Educator (EYE) and Early Years Practitioner (EYP) qualifications ‘knowledge only’ pathway

To enable progression for learners who are unable to access a work placement due to the current coronavirus restrictions, the awarding body NCFE CACHE has worked together with Ofqual, Department for Education, Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and UCAS to agree a ‘knowledge only’ version of EYE or EYP qualifications, for those learners who wish to choose this option.

The NCFE CACHE have issued a statement with further information about this and DfE have updated the early years qualification list and spreadsheets showing the impacted qualifications. With the introduction of this new route, it is most important to check qualification certificates carefully, as the ‘knowledge only’ pathway does not allow the holder to practise as an early years educator or early years practitioner.

Domestic Abuse Act

The Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021.

The Domestic Abuse Act explicitly recognises children as victims if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse and includes a legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.