Since the beginning of June, the government has encouraged early years childcare providers in England to welcome back all children. This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has provided all local authorities in England with a number of updates in regards to financial support and ongoing funding. Please be aware that LAs can continue to implement local area variation.
Early education entitlements funding
The Department for Education expects local authorities in England to continue paying providers for their early years entitlements places. It remains the case that local authorities are able to redistribute their early education entitlement funding in exceptional cases and as a last resort, in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children.
30 hours code validity dates
Now that early years settings in England are open to all children, DfE is asking local authorities to exercise their discretion in accepting the codes of all children who missed the 31 March deadline, provided they meet the eligibility criteria and where there is capacity for providers to take them on.
Providers and local authorities will need to confirm that the child taking up the place did in fact attend before 1st April 2020 to ensure they are eligible for a 30 hours place in the summer term. DfE is continuing to encourage parents to apply for, and reconfirm, their 30 hours entitlements, even if they choose to keep their child away from their childcare setting, to help them prepare for their transition back into childcare attendance in September.
DfE want to make sure that disadvantaged children continue to benefit from early education. They have issued lists directly to each local authority of households that are potentially eligible for the 2 year old entitlement.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
Since the Chancellors announcements at the end of May, upcoming changes and updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) that have been shared with LA's which include:
- new flexibility for employers to agree any working arrangements with previously furloughed employees from 1 July and HMRC will publish further detailed guidance on this soon.
- providers should now only access the CJRS if necessary, and only if the conditions set out in DfE’s guidance continue to be met, where there is a lack of demand for places that requires a continued full or partial closure.
- The latest date that providers can furlough staff that have not been furloughed before is 10 June. All staff that have been furloughed at least once by this date – whether or not they are on furlough as of 10 June – will continue to be eligible for the scheme after 1 July.
- The Department for Education would expect providers to bring staff off furlough and back to work as demand increases.