In line with Step 3 of the Government roadmap out of lockdown in England, the latest guidance for early years and childcare settings has been updated. We have outlined some of the main changes below and will update our PACEY coronavirus FAQs to reflect this.
Childminders meeting together: Childminders are permitted to meet with other childminders, with no limits on gatherings as long as the gathering is for the purpose of education or childcare and the system of controls and guidance on trips taken outside the setting is followed. The guidance states that childminders should ideally stay two metres apart.
Music, dance and drama: From 17 May, settings are permitted to plan an indoor or outdoor face-to-face performance in front of a live audience, provided that they follow the latest advice in the DCMS performing arts guidance.
Visitors to settings: The guidance states that settings should avoid visitors to the settings where possible. However external specialists, therapists, clinicians and other staff can visit settings, as well as coaches, clubs and organisations for curricular and extracurricular activities. Parents and carers are also permitted to visit, for example to help their children settle in their new environment or for prospective admissions to view the setting (although remote and virtual visits should be considered as an alternative). Settings should consider how to manage visitors, keeping a record to support NHS Test and Trace and ensure that all visitors follow the system of controls outlined in the guidance.
Trips to indoor and outdoor places: Providers can take children to indoor spaces where these are permitted to be open. Group sizes are currently limited to 15 attendees indoors. From 17 May, in line with the commencement of Step 3 of the roadmap group size will not be limited, however it is advised to take into account the individual setting to consider an appropriate group size. Trips to outdoor public places have no limit on group size as long as it is for the purpose of education or childcare and the criteria set out in the guidance is met.
Parent and child groups: Currently parent and child groups are permitted to go ahead provided that they have no more than 15 attendees. From 17 May, under Step 3 of the roadmap, the limit on group size will be increased to 30 attendees. This does not include children under 5 years old and those working as part of the group. There is separate guidance on singing in parent and child groups.
Attending more than one setting: The guidance states that that whilst the number of settings a child attends should be minimised, a child is permitted to attend more than one setting where this is necessary.
More information on operating during the coronavirus pandemic can be found in our PACEY coronavirus FAQs (England only).
The Government guidance for settings in England can be found here: Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.