spacer image
spacer image
spacer image Early Years Essential - Edition 30 November 2020 spacer image
spacer image
spacer image
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
spacer image
spacer image
spacer image spacer image

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you find the information in this edition of EYE useful. I hope you find the information in this edition of EYE useful. As always, please contact me if you need advice or guidance regarding EYFS.


If you have a confirmed case of Covid - 19, please contact me as the Key Education Contact for settings on 01908 254929 or 075 865 542 79.

If you are unable to contact me, please ring Jenny Bargrove on 01908 254071/254509 or 075 573 135 37.


Best wishes


Belinda Woodcock

Improvement Partner for Early Years

spacer image spacer image
spacer image
spacer image spacer image
spacer image
In This Issue
spacer image
spacer image spacer image
tag spacer image spacer imageImportant information and updates during the Coronavirus pandemic spacer image spacer image
spacer image spacer image


Using the NHS COVID - 19 app

The DfE and DHSC have issued joint guidance on the use of the NHS app in education settings.

The app is a very useful and important tool, but we are aware of cases when the phone hasn’t been ‘on the person’ meaning that the app can’t work properly.  To prevent false notifications, and minimise unnecessary operational impact on schools and settings, we advise that phones are turned off in the following circumstances:

•          Where mobile phones are left in lockers or in bags within cupboards or communal areas

•          Where staff members are wearing clinical-grade PPE

•          Where staff are separated from others by a full height Perspex screen

It’s better to fully turn off the phone rather than to just turn off the tracing functionality of the app.  This is because staff will remember to turn their phone back on but may forget to adjust the settings in the app.


•          Adopt a clear policy about when the app should and should not be turned on during the academic day. Share this with staff and parents/carers.

•          Plan for managing app notifications that occur.

•          If you believe a false notification has occurred please document the circumstances and contact your local public health team for advice.

Please note: Any decision to disregard an app notification must be made in consultation with school/setting leaders and the local public health team.


DfE guidance

Guidance on how schools and settings should operate under the Local Restriction Tiers

The DfE have updated guidance for schools, further education, children’s social care services and apprenticeships to reflect the end of National Restrictions. These now outline how education and childcare settings should operate under the local restriction tiers. There are no substantive changes to act on.

For schools, the updates clarify the position under the local restriction tiers for:

•          face coverings

•          transport

•          educational visits

•          music, dance, drama – performances

•          physical activity in schools


Early Years settings

The government has published the full list of local restriction tiers.

Early years providers, wraparound care and baby and toddler groups can operate across all tiers.

For baby and toddler groups, please note that new government guidance clarifies that groups should still be limited to 15 (including staff and volunteers) but this limit still does not include any children aged under-five.

General information about what restrictions apply in each tier is available.

We understand that the DfE will also be publishing a contingency framework which applies in the exceptional circumstances in which further restrictions on education are required in any area. The government have said that they will do everything possible to avoid enacting those contingency measures at any stage. For further education, they clarify the position under the local restriction tiers for:

Milton Keynes is in Tier 2.


Guidance for special schools and other specialist settings (updated)

The DfE has updated their guidance for special schools and other specialist settings during the coronavirus (COVID - 19) outbreak.

This now includes the latest advice for clinically extremely vulnerable pupils, advice on the use of face coverings in schools and further information on the NHS test and trace process.

It also provides information about keeping occupied spaces ventilated, the use of heating in special schools and specialist settings plus the provision of wraparound care and extra-curricular activities.


Brexit: Changes for Safer Recruitment (more info)

Two weeks ago we told you that, from 1 January 2021, the TRA will no longer maintain a list of EEA teachers with sanctions. Please see guidance on the changes to checks for EU sanctions on EEA teachers for more information.

We hope you find these links useful in supporting you to recruit safely in the future:


MKC services

SEND Tribunals

Since January, we've seen a marked increase in families appealing SEND decisions on EHC assessments, provision in EHC plans or the placement names.

While we work collaboratively to resolve tribunals, we're determined to invest this time and energy earlier to reduce the administrative pressure of tribunals.  The vast majority of cases are resolved without ever needing to go to a hearing.

Working with families

We're aware there is a lot of misinformation around tribunals and families feeling that this is the only way to resolve SEND decisions they disagree with.

We are looking for your support in getting the message out that this is not the case.  We will always meet with families to try and find solutions.  We will also accept re-requests for EHC needs assessments at any time with additional information.

We want families to know there is nothing to lose by meeting and where we can reach an agreement this is much faster than the tribunal process.


First language resources

Translated materials related to Covid -19 are available from the DfE.

Guidance for parents and carers with children in nursery, school, or college in the autumn term is available in:

Chinese (traditional)
Chinese (simplified)

To access interpreter and translation services, you can contact the MK Language Service.

In additional, several of MKs supplementary schools have been supporting families throughout the COVID-19 crisis.  They have strong links with communities, and most are happy to collaborate with mainstream schools.  Contact Irem Syed for more information.


Prevent - Act Early

Act Early is a new Prevent campaign launched by Counter Terrorism Policing.  The campaign includes the launch of a dedicated police website –

The campaign recognises the additional risks related to COVID-19 and the increased time that children and young people are spending online.

There are a wide range of resources, posters and videos which can be used by staff and adapted for use with pupils.


Christmas - an online performance guide

As you know, Christmas celebrations will be looking a little different this year.  SWGfl has released a Christmas Performance Guide to help you plan your school's Christmas festivities.

This helpful resource highlights everything schools need to be aware of when putting on a live or pre-recorded online performance including information about policy, event options, technology, expectations and parental notification as well as other helpful resources.


MKC covid19forschools webpages (and settings)

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

Please continue to forward this newsletter to relevant colleagues.  You can also contact EY Enquiries if you wish to add any colleagues.

For weekly video updates from Council Leader Pete Marland, plus weekly data slides, please visit our Covid Outbreak Control page.


DfE COVID - 19 guidance

The DfE has grouped their Covid - 19 guidance into ‘collection pages’ to make information easier for different users to access. 

These can be accessed using the links below:


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 colleagues.  You can also contact the Early Years Enquiries if you wish to add any colleagues.

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.

Your email contact details will only be used to send you copies of EYE. If you no longer want to receive EYE, please contact to remove your contact details from out mailing list.

spacer image spacer image
spacer image  
social media   social media   social media   social media
spacer image
spacer image spacer image
spacer image Contact

01908 254509

Email newsletters by weblabs
spacer image Any comments? Please let us know.

To unsubscribe from future newsletters, click here
spacer image