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NEWS: Updates to early years guidance in England from 20 July announced

Today, the government has published detailed guidance to support early years settings and childcare providers to fully reopen from 20 July and for schools and colleges to fully reopen in September in England. Key updates include:

  • For nurseries, childminders, and other early years providers, restrictions on group sizes will be lifted from 20 July, increasing capacity from the start of the summer holiday.
  • Limits on attendance will be lifted to allow schools to open at full capacity in September.
  • New content on risk assessment, supporting staff with increased risk factors and system of controls.
  • Updated content on attendance at settings for those shielding, with changes to the advice effective from 1 August, and removal of content on vulnerable children since settings are open for all children.
  • Updated content on wraparound care.
  • An update on EYFS reforms and Reception Baseline Assessment.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) comments:

“It is good news that settings in England from July 20 will no longer need to maintain small bubbles as part of their control measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. This is a step in the right direction and will make providing families with support easier. The need to continue to avoid mixing of children where possible will still present challenges but this guidance should give settings more flexibility in how they do this. That said, the main challenge remains.”

“Most childminders, nurseries and pre-schools are still operating at significantly reduced capacity with almost 70% in areas of deprivation stating in the Sutton Trust’s report that they are operating at a loss. This cannot continue and, with families unlikely to return to settings at the levels they did before the pandemic, Government has to act now to save these services. Continuing to underfund early education entitlements and now reducing support from the furlough scheme is creating a perfect storm alongside reduced demand.”

We will be updating our FAQs and guidance on the Coronavirus spotlight as soon as possible.