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spacer image Early Years Essential - Edition 16 April 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 SYMPTOMATIC AND CONFIRMED CASES flowchart for MK schools and settings (PDF) 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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The importance of continued testing

As we enter the next phase of the government's roadmap out of lockdown and begin a new term, it’s a good time to remind everyone about the importance of testing.

If you haven’t already done so, we recommend that you remind staff, parents and students that a negative PCR or LFD result is not a reason to relax or ignore social distancing or any other measures intended to reduce transmission. 

Rapid testing is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.  Home test kits can be accessed online and at test centres. Our testing centre at MK Library remains available for anyone who can’t access tests at home.

Rapid lateral flow testing for households and bubbles of setting/school pupils/children and staff provides further information.


Flow charts

MKC Public Health colleagues have updated the following flow chart to help you stay abreast of the DfE guidance about asymptomatic testing:

ASYMPTOMATIC LFD at home testing - educational staff - This is guidance about carrying out twice weekly LFD tests at home. It’s for all staff who work in nursery, primary, secondary or college settings.

ASYMPTOMATIC LFD at home testing - educational staff (PDF)

Public health colleagues have also created a set of self-isolation FAQs for parents and carers (PDF).


Process for managing confirmed cases of COVID-19

The local process that must be followed for symptomatic and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains unchanged.  This is outlined on the SYMPTOMATIC AND CONFIRMED CASES flowchart for MK schools and settings.

You should still report confirmed cases of COVID-19 using the online form, as embedded within the flowchart.

You may also find the following helpful, the latter has been updated recently.

SYMPTOMATIC AND CONFIRMED CASES flowchart for parents/carers

FAQs for MKC education settings (PDF)

Further info and support

For queries regarding any of the flow charts provided in this newsletter, please email Debra Richardson  or Liz Wilson.

For urgent out of hours support you should contact


DfE guidance

Clinically extremely vulnerable people

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people in England are no longer advised to shield.

People on the shielded patient list will receive letters containing guidance about how to reduce their risk.  All clinically extremely vulnerable pupils should now attend school or college - unless they’re one of the very small number under paediatric or other specialist care who’ve been advised not to attend by their GP or clinician.  Pupils who live with someone who is CEV should continue to attend school or college as normal.

CEV staff are advised to continue working from home where this is possible.  If they can’t work from home, they should attend their workplace.  Those living with someone who is CEV should still attend work (where home-working is not possible) ensuring that they maintain good prevention practice in the workplace and home settings.


DfE Coronavirus Guidance

Please make sure that you and your teams are aware of the latest versions of the DfE’s COVID-19 operational guidance.  These have all been updated recently.

If you haven’t already done so, please also sign up to receive emails directly from the DfE. By doing this you won’t miss any important updates to key guidance.


MKC services

EYFS reforms – meeting dates

Thank you to all those who attended our briefings on the EYFS reforms. We were pleased so many of you are beginning to think about the changes that are coming in September 2021. If you missed the briefings you are welcome to attend the following meetings:

22 April – 6:30 to 7:00

20 May – 4:00 – 4:30

The focus of the meetings will be a run through of what providers and schools need to prepare and a chance for you to ask questions.

EYFS reforms – bitesize training dates:

4 May – 6:30 to 7:30

6 May – 4:00 to 5:00

The focus will be on how child development sits within the revised Development Matters guidance and reformed EYFS.

All meetings and training will be remote and held through Teams.

Please contact Jennifer Bargrove on to book your free place.

Jennifer will then send you joining instructions.


Useful info

Ramadan and COVID-19

The British Islamic Medical Association website contains useful information in various languages such as frequently asked questions around COVID-19 and downloadable webinars.

Their COVID-19 Vaccine Hub provides Ramadan safety guidance covering Taraweeh, Iftaar, Itikaaf and Eid.  It also includes sections on vaccination and the use of testing during Ramadan.


Gardening and young children

The Royal Horticultural Society have produced an interesting podcast which you may find useful to listen to; it is called The positive power of plants: gardening for wellbeing by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)


Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Gardening Award

There is a great gardening scheme which is free to join from RHS to promote children to become keen gardeners.

The award has five levels with each award level having criteria to work towards and evidence.  After submitting evidence and photographs for each level, prizes and certificates are sent out. 

Awards consist of a starter kit, RHS book, mountains of seeds, vouchers, vegetable and fruit plants received spring, summer and autumn for one year, amongst other goodies.

The levels include:-

  • developing a small project for future gardening plans
  • evidencing what the children have learnt about gardening
  • mini project e.g. healthy eating
  • a gardening project to raise money
  • local community project

Each level is easily achievable and it is a great opportunity to enable children to observe the growth cycle from start to finish.

Visit RHS for further information.


MKC covid19forschools (and settings) webpages

We’re glad that the webpages continue to be helpful. Please remember that they contain more information than we can include in this newsletter.


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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