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spacer image Early Years Essential - Edition 5 February 2021 spacer image
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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.


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.

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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Block 3 (Spring Term) Early Years Funding Support (providers)

It is expected that for block 3 2021 the attendance of children at early years settings will be lower than usual due to the impact of the pandemic. This has been the case for some providers since March when the pandemic began.

We have been looking at ways we can further support providers that are experiencing a significant loss of funding.  Therefore, following a Delegated Decision it has been agreed by Milton Keynes Council that providers will be funded for block 3 2021 as follows:

•          Continue to fund children registered at settings including where they are not attending for reasons relating to Covid-19, this will be done through the headcount process and in line with DfE guidance.

•          Continue to fund children where it has not been possible for parents/carers to revalidate eligibility codes for reasons relating to Covid-19 this will be done through the headcount.

•          Provide a top-up payment for providers who have had a significant reduction in funding compared to Block 3 2020, up to 90% of the previous year’s funding level. Top up payments will be made at the end of March 2021.

The intention is that this will provide a level of protection to providers that are experiencing a significant loss of funding.

Providers will only be eligible for additional top-up funding if they have not claimed other available government protection/support.  If you have claimed other support such as furlough, you must contact  to discuss your individual circumstances, failure to notify us that you have received other funding streams would be a failure to adhere to our funding regulations.


Lateral Flow Device testing at MK Central Library

In order to more effectively meet demand (especially for colleagues in non-maintained early years settings who don’t have access to home testing kits), the opening hours of the LFD testing centre in Central Library have been extended.

On Tuesday and Thursday the testing centre will now be open until 7:00pm.


DfE guidance

Updated guidance during the national lockdown

On 27 January, the Prime Minister announced that most pupils (schools) will carry on learning remotely after half term and until at least 8 March 2021.

The guidance for parents and carers whose children attend out of school settings has been updated.  The update makes it clearer that, as far as possible, parents should try to limit the number of settings their children attend.


MKC services

MK weekly COVID-19 summary

Please view our weekly snapshot of provision that we’re using to monitor demand and capacity in MK schools.  We’re using this to ensure that there are always places for the pupils and families who need them.

For the very latest on COVID-19 in Milton Keynes, you can also watch this week’s video update with Council Leader Pete Marland.


MK foster carers needed!

We would really appreciate if you could share the following message with your parent and carer community.  Thank you.

Milton Keynes Council is looking for MK based foster carers.

Children come into foster care because they are unable to remain with their parents.  Wherever we can, we try to keep families together.  Where this is not possible, we rely on Foster Carers to provide children with a safe, happy and supportive home.

Milton Keynes Council offers Foster Carers the following:

Competitive rates of pay  |  Regular Supervision and support  |  Ongoing training  |  24/7 duty number  |  a specialist independent consultant on trauma and attachment  |  Support groups  |  Membership of the Fostering Network  |  Foster Carer mentors

To find out more about fostering in MK and what it takes to foster, please visit our Fostering page.  You can also call us on: 08000 356 671


Preventing youth homelessness

Family conflicts and crises can often result in young people spending nights on the street without a safe place to stay.  We’ve launched a new homelessness prevention programme called Reconnect, in partnership with youth homelessness charity Depaul UK and the Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership.

Reconnect will provide specialist support and mediation for young people and their families to help them overcome conflict, and ultimately prevent anybody having to spend a night outside.  More information is available.


EMA Spring Training Information

EMA have produced their latest training guide (PDF, 166KB). Booking is now open for these courses.


Useful info

Children’s Mental Health Week

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week. This is an annual week-long campaign, run by children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

This year’s theme is “Express Yourself” with the focus on children finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas through creativity. Mentally Healthy Schools have created a toolkit of resources for children, staff and parents to use.

Throughout the week, the DfE we use their social media platforms to share mental health resources including ‘wellbeing for education return’ and the children and young people’s psychological first aid training which is run by Public Health England.


 ‘Coronavirus and my life: What children say’

The Open University’s Children’s Research Centre (OUCRC) and psychologist-led, Children Heard project have collaborated to analyse survey responses from 240 children aged between 3-12 on their thoughts, feelings and experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

To make the findings accessible to children and young people, the two publications, a summary report and a children’s poster (illustrated by Onyinye Iwu), should be read in parallel and viewed as complementary.

The OU suggests the report and child-focused poster will be a fantastic resource to use with children to help them express their own views and feelings about Covid-19 and its impact. Using the poster, children can respond to its illustrated themes and quotes from other children as a starting point for open discussion.

To read the full report and view the poster, please visit:  Children’s Research Centre or Childrenheard


MKC covid19forschools (and providers) webpages

We’re glad that the webpages continue to be helpful.  Please remember that the webpages contain more information than we can provide 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.

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:   

EMA (Ethnic Minority Achievement) Network:

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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