Coronavirus: Ratios can be relaxed as latest Government guidelines urge as many settings as possible to stay open


Extensive new guidance has been issued by the Government which highlights ways settings can continue to support key children, including pooling resources with other settings and relaxing ratios.

New guidance seeks to answer all providers' questions
New guidance seeks to answer all providers' questions

As the extent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is defined as ‘an exceptional temporary circumstance’, staff-to-child ratios set out in the EYFS can now be changed if necessary. However, childcare providers or schools remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care.

In line with the earlier announcement that that there will be no exams or assessments in schools this summer, there will be no assessment of children in Reception year against the early learning goals which form the EYFS profile.

Meanwhile the Government says is keeping the regulatory position of the EYFS under review and will provide further information if there are any changes. Providers are required to continue to deliver the framework for learning and development.

Staying open
The Government is asking all childcare providers to remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers where possible.

The Government’s latest guidance it states: ‘We understand that some settings may be unable to stay open, especially if they are experiencing severe staff shortages due to self-isolation and sickness. Local authorities will work with local providers to determine the best way to support vulnerable children and the children of critical workers’.

Where settings have only one vulnerable or critical worker child, a setting is not expected to stay open and ideally the child should be accommodated by other merged provision in consultation with the local authority.

Where settings have a large number of key worker children providers may wish to make arrangements with other settings to reduce the number of children in their care.

Providers should try to be as flexible as possible for critical workers who work shifts or atypical hours.

Where possible, childcare providers and schools to continue are being encouraged to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

Childcare providers who are experiencing staff shortages should work with their local authority to identify how appropriate provision can be put in place. They can pool staff with another setting, or take on qualified and DBS-checked staff from other educational settings (including local registered childminders) which have been closed, or invite local registered childminders to work with them at the setting. Registered childminders can already do this under the 50/50 registration flexibility they have.

Childcare providers who are experiencing staff shortages should work with their local authority to identify how appropriate provision can be put in place. They can pool staff with another setting, or take on qualified and DBS-checked staff from other educational settings (including local registered childminders) which have been closed, or invite local registered childminders to work with them at the setting. Registered childminders can already do this under the 50/50 registration flexibility they have.

Read the full guidance here

 

 

 

 

 

Keep up to date with Early Years!

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date with Early Years education, process and events! We promise we won't spam you!