Government updates

Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings

List of critical workers (key workers) and vulnerable children and young people who can access full-time education provision in the case of future restrictions on education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Updated with information about the return to school and college in January, and added those whose work is critical to EU Transition to the list of critical workers.

New and updated guidance for early years and childcare providers

Contains details of the national lockdown guidance, which was published on 7th January, for early years and for schools.

Childcare providers: telling Ofsted about significant events

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.


During the previous lockdown disapplications were applied.

Section 4 of the document discusses the period 26th September 2020 and 31st August 2021. If during this period the government confirms an area subject to coronavirus (COVID-19) related requirements or restrictions (referred to in here as the period of intervention related to coronavirus), and those restrictions prevent an early years provider from meeting the requirements of the EYFS, the disapplications can be used. These will begin immediately and will last throughout the period of the restrictions (as governed by the regulations or direction).

Having liaised with Ofsted, if as providers you are finding that the national lockdown is preventing you from meeting requirements then the disapplications will apply. However, Ofsted have stated that you do need to continue to use reasonable/your best endeavours (as applicable) to meet the requirements.

Guidance around going into work:

You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.

Where people cannot work from home they should continue to travel to their workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:

  • critical national infrastructure
  • construction
  • manufacturing
  • childcare or education
  • essential public services

This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.