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spacer image Early Years Essential - Edition 14 January 2021 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,

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 and you need guidance, 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 Early Years

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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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Reporting confirmed cases of covid-19

The local process that must be followed for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 is outlined on the flowchart for schools and settings.

During this national lockdown, you should continue to use the online form to report confirmed cases in staff who are attending setting or school.  You should also use the online form to report confirmed cases in any children who are attending setting or school.

You do not need to report confirmed cases in staff or children who are not accessing setting or school.  Instead, you should ensure that parents/carers of these children engage with NHS Track and Trace.

Providers must notify Ofsted using the online form.


Critical worker places at setting or school

Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker are eligible for a place at setting or school during the national lockdown.  It’s not necessary for both parents to be critical workers.

The government has said that this includes parents/carers who may be at home.

This is because being within the home isn’t always the same as being available to safely provide childcare and/or to appropriately support remote learning. 

However, the guidance also makes it clear that critical workers should keep their children at home where they can.

We know that many settings and schools in MK are offering places in line with governmental guidance and are managing this safely for staff, children and families.  However, we also know that some settings and schools have significantly more critical worker parents/carers (or vulnerable children) than others.

We encourage all settings and schools to work within the governmental guidance, where possible, and to not limit the attendance of eligible groups.  However, we do recognise that a few settings and schools may need to take a slightly different approach.  If you’re struggling to offer places to all the families who need them, please talk to your Key Education Contact as soon as possible.


The current national lockdown

The DfE have now published their updated guidance for schools as a result of the new national lockdown.

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak now contains information about restricting attendance from the start of this term. It also outlines the actions that need to be undertaken during this lockdown.

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak offers additional guidance for early years and childcare settings.

Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated to reflect the current national position, as has Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Finally, the contingency framework for education and childcare settings has been updated. None of the restrictions described in this document apply during the national lockdown. But it’s still important to know that the guidance has been changed and that the ‘implementation guidance’ has been removed seeing as it no longer applies.


EY Attendance Update

We have now received updated guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), informing us that given the current Covid-19 position across the country requirements for early years data collections will be returning to weekly returns and not fortnightly, with immediate effect.

Therefore, you will receive your normal weekly reminder each Wednesday, starting from 13th January 2021.

To reassure you, weekly submissions are a critical resource to the DfE to help give an understand of the sectors capacity and demand. We thank you for your hard work your co-operation.


MKC services

MKC covid19forschools webpages (and settings)

Thank you for your patience whilst we read, consider and summarise information in the newly published national guidance.

All of these pages will be updated by the end of the week, to ensure that they remain useful and relevant for you.

Past editions of the EYE are published for your ease of reference.

Please remember that the webpages contain more information than we can provide here.


Risk assessments

Some of you have asked whether you need to use new templates when updating risk assessments.  This is not required.  You can continue to use existing templates if you follow the guidance listed in last week’s EYE and remember that risk assessments are working documents – they need to be regularly reviewed and updated.

We recommend that you publish your risk assessment on your setting or school website. Parents and unions have a right to see risk assessments and this seems like the quickest and simplest way of managing this.


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.

By working together and keeping each other well informed, we can reduce anxiety and workload across the MK education system.

Note: Please do not respond directly to this email.

Thank you

Belinda Woodcock

Improvement Partner – Early Years


MKC contacts

Please contact EY Enquiries 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


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.

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