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spacer image Early Years Essential - Extra Edition 25 September 2020 spacer image
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spacer image spacer image spacer image IN THIS ISSUE spacer image logo sidebar image spacer image spacer image
left menu image spacer image spacer imageImportant information and updates during the Coronavirus pandemic
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Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased that you are finding this EYE useful. As always, you are welcome to contact me or early years enquiries with any questions you may have. The contact details are at the end of this newsletter.


Best wishes


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In This Issue
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tag spacer image spacer imageImportant information and updates during the Coronavirus pandemic spacer image spacer image
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COVID-19 – school staffing (EY leaders will find this guidance useful too)

In Milton Keynes, over half of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in school settings are amongst members of staff.  These can have a significant impact on the ability of the school to be run safely, particularly if affected staff have had close contact with colleagues who then need to isolate.

This is not unique to Milton Keynes. However, it does highlight the importance of staff socially distancing and carefully following other infection control measures not only in the classroom, but also in staff areas and away from school.

Please make sure that your ALL your staff understand the need to:

•          maintain social distancing (i.e. at least 2m) between themselves and other adults/ colleagues - not only in pupil settings but also in staff settings (e.g. staff rooms)

•          maintain good handwashing – also make alcohol gel available in staff areas (where possible)

•          encourage good respiratory hygiene practices (blowing into tissues and disposing of the tissue after use)

•          minimise, rotate or stagger the use of shared areas such as staffrooms to enable social distancing

•          discourage the use of car sharing - where staff need to travel to school in one car, ensure that they use face masks

•          ensure that regular touch points are cleaned thoroughly and frequently (e.g. door handles, photocopiers, kettles) - staff should be encouraged to wash hands before and/or after touching these (where possible)

•          stay at home and arrange to be tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19

Elsewhere it has been reported that staff sometimes let their guard down when they’re out of work.  Please remind your team to be cautious about their behaviours and actions outside of school.  School staff should always comply with national coronavirus restrictions and guidelines.  This could be considered important in relation to Part 2 of the Teachers Standards (where applicable) as well as your school’s expectations of staff conduct .


COVID-19 – letter for parents and carers

Public Health England (PHE) has produced a letter for schools and settings to distribute to parents/carers.  This explains when a person requires a coronavirus test and what the symptoms of COVID-19 are.  The purpose of the letter is to help prevent children being taken out of school unnecessarily and to answer some of the questions that parents might have about testing.

We suggest that you share and circulate this letter amongst parents and carers at your school.


COVID-19: Managing confirmed and suspected cases

Last week, Public Health England (PHE) introduced a new, national advice service for nurseries schools and colleges.  The service was created because some regional health protection teams were working beyond their capacity in supporting and advising educational settings.  You’re likely to have heard about the service from the DfE, NAHT or ASCL.

Both the DfE and PHE recognise that: “some local authorities have put more detailed local arrangements in place for education settings with their local authority health protection team. Where those local arrangements are available and working, you can continue to receive support through that route to take action in response to a positive case.”

For the avoidance of doubt, within MKC we have such arrangements in place that:

•          provide MK schools and settings with the local advice and support they need

•          fulfil the duty to notify the LA of confirmed cases of COVID-19

As a reminder, to report confirmed cases you should use the MKC online form.  This simultaneously notifies Public Health and Education colleagues at Milton Keynes Council.  The online form is embedded within the flowchart for schools and settings.

The EMA Network team can support you if you’ve been unable to find a way to help parents/ carers who speak English as an additional language understand the MK Flowchart for parents and carers.


NHS COVID-19 app in schools and colleges

Today, NHS Test and Trace launched the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of COVID-19.  It does this by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection - so that they can take action.

The app is available for download by anyone over the age of 16.  This means that some students in Years 11 - 13 and in further education colleges will be eligible to use it and benefit from its features.

The DfE has published guidance for school and college leaders and staff on the use of the NHS COVID-19 app in schools and further education colleges.  This explains how the app works and sets out the actions required to use it.  We recommend familiarising yourself with the app and sharing information about it with parents, carers and relevant students.


Latest DfE guidance – early years

Updated guidance is available for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


New! Early Years update meetings – autumn 2020

We are pleased to be able to offer new, Early Years updates meetings this term to support the return to settings and schools.

Audience: Childminders, settings and schools (this may change for future meetings)

Dates and times: Please see below

Cost: Free to MKC schools (nursery and reception) and providers (settings and childminders)

To request an invite to the meeting, please email your name, name of setting/school and which meeting you would like to attend to:

Please book at least two days before the meeting. Invites and a link will be sent at least 24 hours prior to the meetings.

Early Years update meeting

Dates and Times

All meetings have the same content

12 October 16:00 – 18:00

14 October 18:30 – 20:30

15 October 18:30 – 20:30

The focus of the meeting will be to share local and national updates and news for both settings and schools. As this is a new way of sharing information, we are initially keeping the attendance number to 20 so that each person feels involved. This means that places can be booked on a first come, first served basis for these sessions, with a limit of one person per setting.  We can amend this for future sessions if needed. Sarah Austin from the Intervention and Inclusion team will be joining us on the 12 October meeting.

All meetings will be held through Microsoft Teams and you need to have downloaded it, to be able to join.

We look forward to working with you in this new and exciting way!

Best wishes

Belinda Woodcock – Improvement Partner for Early Years

Telephone: 01908 254929


Wellbeing for Education Return

Wellbeing for Education Return is a new £8m package of training and resources from the DfE.  Considering the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown, it’s intended to support education staff to aid mental health recovery and promote mental wellbeing and resilience in:

•          children and young people

•          teachers and staff

•          parents and carers

The national package has been developed by a range of mental health and education professionals.  We’re pleased to say that it’s designed to be amended within LAs to ensure alignment with local services and referral routes.  Most significantly, to draw on the expertise of local education and health colleagues who know MK well.

The training package will be offered to school representatives in two parts across two webinars in October and November.  More information can be found Wellbeing for Education Return info sheet and please note the request to ‘save the dates’.

Further information about booking arrangements, including webinar joining instructions, will be made available shortly.


Useful info

Mental Health awareness

Milton Keynes Talking Therapies service provides a range of different therapies for people who feel anxious, worried, down or depressed.  If you’re feeling down and depressed or anxious and worried, they’re here to help.

This is a difficult time for many of us and it’s important that you get the support that you need.  Self-refer at or call on 01908 725099.

Milton Keynes Talking Therapies is part of the national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.  This is a free, confidential NHS service providing psychological treatment for depression and anxiety disorders.

More information can be found in the MK Talking Therapies info flyer.


MKC covid19forschools webpages (useful for EY settings too)

We’re glad that the webpages continue to be helpful.  Please remember that they contain more information than we can include in our newsletters.


Ethnic Minority Achievement (EMA) workshops

EMA are providing online training Early Years workshops (DOCX, 3.7MB) from September to December 2020.


MKC contacts

Please contact us if you would like any additional colleagues to receive copies of this regular update.

For general schools queries: Sufficiency and Access Team 01908 253338 or email:

EY Enquiries:  01908 254071 or 01908 254509 or email:

Safeguarding: 01908 253169 or 01908 253170

SEND Team enquires, support, advice and information 01908 657 825 or email:

Early Education Funding: 01908 254522


Please continue to forward this newsletter to relevant early years colleagues, teams, committees and governors.  By working together and keeping each other well informed, we can reduce anxiety and workload across the MK education system.


Thank you

Belinda Woodcock

Improvement Partner – Early Years


We want to ensure that this newsletter reaches the correct individuals.  Please email   if you would to subscribe or unsubscribe.

EYE is a quick way of accessing both local and national news. It is published regularly as early years updates become available and is part of the core offer to schools and providers.

Disclaimer: Milton Keynes council accepts no responsibility for the actual content of any materials suggested as information sources in this publication, whether these are in the form of printed publications or on a website. Their use should not be interpreted as an endorsement of particular companies or their products.

The websites referred to in these materials existed at the time of going to print. Please check all website references carefully to see if they have changed and substitute other references where appropriate. Also, check all signposted training (whether MKC or independent) meets the needs of your setting.

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