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spacer image Early Years Essential - Edition 25 February 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,

Welcome back to the second half of the spring term. We are pleased to be offering a selection of early years meetings to support providers and schools in preparation for changes to the EYFS, assessment and Ofsted inspections. Please see below for more details.


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 children who are attending setting/school. You don’t need to report confirmed cases in staff or children who aren’t accessing setting/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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Full re-opening of schools from 8 March

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson announced that all pupils will return to schools and colleges from the 8 March, as part of the government’s roadmap for leaving lockdown.  If you missed it, you can read a transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech online.

Since then Gavin Williamson has issued a message to education leaders.

We know that you and your colleagues will face the next few weeks with your usual resilience, flexibility and courage.  Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication.

Please remember that you can contact your Key Educational Contact (KEC) for support and advice, especially if you have any concerns, problems or anxieties.  KECs can offer bespoke support that’s tailored to the needs of individual schools and providers.


DfE guidance

Updated DfE guidance - ahead of 8 March

The DfE has published guidance to reflect the changes announced by the Prime Minister on Monday.

Each of the following has been reviewed ahead of the wider opening of schools and colleges from 8 March:

Like you, we’re working our way through the updated guidance and will update the covid19forschools (and settings) webpages as soon as possible.

Our MKC public health colleagues are also updating the MK flowcharts and testing FAQs – to make sure that you have the support and guidance you need from 8 March.


Home testing kits for settings

Private, voluntary and independent nurseries (PVIs) will be included in the home testing programme from mid March.

Childminders will still need to access the Lateral Flow Device testing at the LFD testing centre at Central Library, Milton Keynes.

Monday:          9.30-4.30pm

Tuesday:         9.30-7pm

Wednesday:    9.30-4.30pm

Thursday:        9.30-7pm

Friday:             9.30-4.30pm

More information about home testing kits for settings is available.


New education recovery package

The government has announced a new £700 million education plan which lays out further aspects of the education recovery package to help young people in England catch up on lost learning due to the pandemic.

The new package will provide support language development in early years.

Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, will work on longer-term engagement (with stakeholders) to review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the pandemic has had on learning.


Evidence summary: COVID-19 – children, young people and education settings

The DfE has published an evidence summary which sets out the evidence relevant to, and in support of, the government’s decision to lift restrictions on education from Monday 8 March.

This links to the government’s wider decision-making as laid out in COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 and supporting scientific evidence.


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 settings and schools.  We’re using this to ensure that there are always places for the children and families who need them.


Update - Wellbeing for Education Return Project

Following the national training webinars, MK settings and schools requested further support in the areas of Anxiety and Staff Wellbeing.

Information sheets have now been developed for MK education staff, drawing together useful local resources, sources of support, interventions and training in one place.

•          Staff Wellbeing webinar - 3 March & 11 March – 3.45pm (60-75 minutes duration). Places can be booked via the MKPDC website using the keyword search ‘wellbeing.’

•          Professional supervision sessions for setting and school staff with an Educational Psychologist. This can be booked by emailing:

More detailed information and further resources linked to the project can be found on the MKC covid19forschools (and settings) wellbeing and mental health webpages and on the MKC Educational Psychology Service webpages.


Network meeting for schools with refugee and newly arrived overseas pupils

The EMA Network is offering an opportunity for colleagues with refugee and newly arrived overseas children to meet and share ideas, resources and experiences.  The online meeting is on Wednesday 3 March from 3.45 to 5.15pm.

Members of the British Red Cross team (co-ordinating the Syrian refugee programme in MK) will be present along with representatives from support agencies, supplementary schools and MKC staff.  The meeting is open to any school or setting that’s interested in learning more about MK provision to support refugee and newly arrived overseas children, young people and families.

Attendance is fully funded.  Please visit the MKPDC website to book your place.

For further information contact or phone 01908 254 976.


EYFS sessions - general (childminders, settings and schools)

We will be holding informal, short early years sessions which will build on the updates in the EYE newsletter. The purpose is to share what we know and what’s changed (local and national) and give you the opportunity to ask questions. It will be a good way of preparing for the changes that are coming in September 2021 and sharing practice.

There will be a focus on the reformed EYFS, the revised Development Matters and Ofsted expectations.

Sessions will be held remotely through Teams.

Please contact Jennifer Bargrove if you would like an invite to these sessions.

Dates and times:

5 March (4:00 – 5:00)

22 April (6:30 – 7:30)


Reformed EYFS briefings - specific (childminders, settings and schools)

We are holding briefings which will focus on preparing for September 2021.

Agenda items will include the reformed EYFS, the revised Development Matters and Ofsted inspections update.

They will be held remotely through Teams. Please contact Jennifer Bargrove if you would like an invite to these briefings.

Dates and times:

25 March (6:30 – 7:30)

13 April (4:00 – 5:00)


Domestic Abuse - Awareness in the Workplace

Acknowledge it's happening. Call it by its name. Tell Someone

As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, the population have been asked to spend more time working from home.  Evidence shows that domestic abuse is soaring as victims are trapped at home with abusive partners.

Join one of our FREE virtual training sessions delivered by MK-Act, a specialist Domestic Violence Support Service for Milton Keynes:

•          Wednesday 3 March 2021 (13:00 - 16.30)

•          Tuesday 16 March 2021 (13:00 - 16.30)

You can use Eventbrite booking to book a place.  Please note that spaces are limited so must be pre-booked.

If you have any queries please email


Educating children and young people on healthy relationships

Womens Aid have created an “expect respect” tool kit to support teachers in meeting the requirements of the RSHE curriculum and preventing domestic abuse through raising awareness of healthy relationships.  The toolkit contains active, fun and engaging sessions for pupils aged 4 – 18 that help teachers hold conversations about the root causes of gender-biased violence.

As a reminder, schools can make referrals to the Young Victims Service for 5-17 year olds.  The service works with young people who are dealing with the effects of crime. They have extensive experience in supporting young people who’ve witnessed, or been a victim of, domestic abuse and sexual violence.


BBC Asian network: vaccine scams

The BBC Asian Network has created some information on coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine scams and made it available on social media.

The information includes videos in Urdu, Sylheti, Punjabi, Tamil and Gujarati for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can also find these on the BBC news website.


MKC covid19forschools (and settings) webpages

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February, we’re updating the webpages to ensure that they’re all aligned to the most up to date national guidance. As previously, we’ll also provide information s about local initiatives and ways of working.

As you know, we don’t receive information from government any sooner than you do. We do therefore need a bit of time, when new guidance is issued, to understand and summarise it accurately on your behalf.

Thank you for your patience whilst we do 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:   

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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