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spacer image Early Years Essential - Edition 18 January 2021 spacer image
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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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Funding update

Spring term 2021 funding

Due to the impact of Covid-19 there is expected to be a reduction in attendance at early years provisions. Given that funding is based on the number of children attending the provision this could mean a significant loss of funding to providers. For the Spring Term 2021 (block 3) officers at MK Council provisionally recommended the following approach to give providers a level of protection:

  1. Continue to fund children registered at settings including where they are not attending for reasons relating to Covid-19.
  2. Continue to fund children where it has not been possible for parents/carers to revalidate eligibility codes for reasons relating to Covid-19.
  3. Provide a top up payment for providers who have had a significant reduction in funding compared to Spring Term 2020 (block 3), up to 90% of previous years funding levels.

As this approach is a variation to our standard formula and the estimated costs are over £500k, it is subject to a formal delegated decision. This will be taken on Tuesday 19 January, and is subject to a usual ‘call in’ period where councillors can lodge a request for more information.  We hope to be in a position to confirm the funding for Spring Term 2021 w/c Monday 1 February. All delegated decision reports can be found on CMIS

Census January 2021

As announced on 4 January 2021 by the Prime Minister, early years provision should remain open to all children to attend their expected hours, as agreed with parents/guardians. However due to the impact of Covid-19 the DfE anticipates that attendance will be lower than previous years. The Early Years Census 2021 is intended to reflect the provision made available to parents/guardians, and a provider’s usual expected attendance for w/c 18 January 2021.  Where a provider is counting a child on the census, the place must be genuinely ‘available’ (you must not count a child where you’ve furloughed staff who would be required to deliver the child’s place).

Where a child is reasonably expected to attend Early Years provision, and that provision is made available to them by the provider, their expected hours should be recorded in the Early Years block 3 actuals. This means children who, were it not for the impact of coronavirus on either their own personal circumstances or on the operation of their Early Years setting, would be attending Early Years provision. This includes children who have previously attended the provision and children who were expected to start attending the provision in January.

The full DfE Early Years Census 2021 guidance for Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) can be found here.

The DfE School census guidance can be found here.


Updated flowchart - managing confirmed cases of COVID-19 – please use from 15.1.21

We’ve updated the flowchart for schools and settings that outlines the local process that must be followed for confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Please save the latest version now, for future reference, and share it with staff.

Remember, you only need to use the online form to report confirmed cases in staff or pupils who are attending school. You don’t need to report confirmed cases in staff or pupils who aren’t accessing school - because they will engage with NHS Track and Trace.


UPDATE: COVID-19 staff testing in primary schools

From Monday 18 January, primary schools (including infant and junior schools) and maintained nursery schools will start to receive deliveries of home testing kits.  Test kits are only for staff use, they’re not for pupils.

•          Primary schools, including school-based nurseries, will receive enough test kits to test their primary and early years staff

•          Maintained nursery schools will receive testing kits to offer to their staff

Private early years providers won’t receive home test kits because they’re already eligible for regular asymptomatic testing through local community testing programmes. Within MK, we’re working towards helping staff from these settings access tests as soon as we can.

Next week, the DfE and NHS Test and Trace are jointly hosting webinars to provide you with extra information about testing. Each webinar will last an hour and you only need to attend one on each topic.

Webinar 1: Introduction to testing in primary schools (and nursery schools)

•          Monday, 18 January, 10am to 11am

•          Monday, 18 January, 2pm to 3pm

Webinar 2: Reporting and recording of results

•          Tuesday, 19 January, 10am to 11am

•          Tuesday, 19 January, 2pm to 3pm

We, like the DfE, strongly recommend that one member of your team attend the webinars.

If you have difficulties logging in, it’s likely that the DfE have reached their maximum capacity of 10,000 attendees.  If you can’t access the live webinar, the recordings will be uploaded to the DfE YouTube page.  The DfE will provide links to these when they’re available. This will e helpful for other members of your staff who want or need access to the information.

In addition, we understand that the DfE is going to publish further guidance to support you in the near future.

Finally, if you haven’t received your tests by the end of Monday 25 January, or have missing or damaged items, you’ll need to complete this contact form.  Make sure that you have your school/college URN to hand.

You don’t need to start any testing before the week commencing 25 January.


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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