FAQs - Coronavirus

Unsurprisingly there have been thousands of questions asked in recent weeks and months about the impact COVID-19 will have on your childcare business. Remember that the Department for Education, Ofsted, and other government departments are producing guidance and FAQs about COVID-19 which may help. 

The Department for Education in England helpline can help to answer questions related to education about COVID-19. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday by calling 0800 046 8687 or emailing DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk. PACEY members can contact the legal helpline for advice.

We've collated the most frequently asked questions and grouped them by theme. 

UPDATE: On 19 July England moves to Step 4 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown. The latest guidance for early years and childcare can be found here.  All the FAQs reflect changes from 19 July.

Roadmap out of lockdown

What is the roadmap out of lockdown?

From 8 March, people in England have seen restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap offer a route back to a more normal life.

From 19 July, the final ‘Step 4’ of the roadmap will begin in England. From this date social distancing will end, facemasks will no longer be mandatory, and there will be no limits on gatherings.

What are the key changes for early years and childcare settings?

From 19 July the guidance for education settings changes in line with Step 4 of the roadmap. 

  • Children will no longer be kept in small groups or ‘bubbles’
  • Early years and childcare settings are no longer responsible for contact tracing – instead this is passed on to NHS Test and Trace.
  • Recommendations around the use of face coverings for staff and visitors of the setting will be removed
  • The guidance references to the System of Controls are removed and instead settings are advised do the following:

1. Ensure good hygiene for everyone 
2. Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, using standard products such as detergents 
3. Keep occupied spaces well ventilated 
4. Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In the event of an outbreak, settings may be advised to reintroduce some measures. Your local health protection team will be able to advise you on measures to take.

Further changes from 16 August

From 16 August the legal requirements for self-isolation and testing are eased further:

  • Anyone under 18 years and those adults who are fully vaccinated will not be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a contact of a positive case
  • Early years children who are identified as a close contact of a positive case will only need to take a PCR test if a member of their household tests positive
Additional DfE guidance on the rules around isolation and testing can be found on this document sharing platform.

Who can attend my setting, and can children attend more than one setting?

Yes, from Step 4 (19 July) the number of settings a child attends does not need to be minimised anymore.

Vaccinations and accessing tests 

As an early years or childcare practitioner, am I eligible to receive the vaccine?

The coronavirus vaccination programme is moving quickly and anyone over the age of 18, as well as those with health conditions that put them at higher risk from Covid-19 are now eligible to receive their vaccination. For more information on vaccinations visit the NHS website.

Getting the vaccine is encouraged, but is not mandatory and some members of staff may choose not to. In this case, you may choose to use other tools to enhance safety through regular asymptomatic testing of staff, maintaining hygiene and cleaning standards, and good ventilation in the setting.

What are the different types of coronavirus tests?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material of the virus. These tests are sent off for processing at a lab

Lateral flow device (LFD) tests detect antigens produced by the virus and give a result within 30 minutes. The government encourages all settings to use LFD tests to identify asymptomatic cases that would otherwise go undetected.

How do I get a test for Coronavirus if I am isolating or have symptoms?

Testing is available for people of all ages in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This includes:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have symptoms
  • if you live in England and have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery
  • if you live in in an area where there are coronavirus outbreaks

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you should order a free NHS PCR test either to be used at home or at a dedicated testing site. This test is different to the LFD tests which are used to detect asymptomatic cases.

Where can I access asymptomatic (LFD) home tests?

The Government’s rapid asymptomatic testing programme in education has been expanded to include staff in early years and childcare settings, as well as their household, childcare and support bubbles.

From 19 July, as we enter Step 4 of the Roadmap, the DfE strongly encourages staff to continue taking twice weekly home tests whenever they are on site. This requirement will be reviewed at the end of September.

PVI nurseries and pre-schools have been receiving LFD testing kits directly since March 2021. All childminders and nannies will now be able to access asymptomatic twice-weekly testing by either:

• Attending a test site to get tested where they will be able to see how to take the test or pick up tests to do at home. Find your nearest test site here or check your local council website.

• Attending a collection site to collect tests to do at home (you can obtain two boxes of seven tests). Find your nearest collection site here:

Ordering tests online (you can order one box of seven tests for home delivery).

Department for Education guidance on the use of LFD home tests can be found here. Note that LFD tests are not recommended for those under 11 years old.

What do I do if myself or a staff member tests positive using a LFD rapid test?

The LFD test will give a result in around 30 minutes. Staff must report their result (whether positive, negative or void) to Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the home test kit. If your rapid test result is positive, you should self-isolate immediately (failure to do so could result in a fine). You should then request a PCR test to confirm the result as soon as possible, and continue to follow the ‘stay at home’ guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection. The PCR test must be taken within two days of the positive LFD test result (those working in childcare and early years are eligible for priority access to PCR testing). If the PCR result is negative this ‘overrides’ the rapid test result and the staff member can return to the early years setting. 

PACEY worked with DfE to allow childminders to state their profession (as well as other early years and childcare practitioners) when reporting their result. Full instructions on how to do this can be found here.  

Some people may be eligible to receive a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment from their Local Authority if told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

What happens if the LFD test result is negative?

A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus and you can continue attending the early years setting. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should continue to follow your protective measures: good hygiene for everyone, appropriate cleaning regimes, ventilation and following public health advice on testing, isolation and managing confirmed cases of coronavirus. 

What happens if a school-aged child tests positive from their LFD rapid test taken at school or in the home?

If a pupil or student received a supervised school-based or at-home LFD test, as part of the rapid asymptomatic testing programme, and it was positive then they and other members of their household must self-isolate and a follow-up PCR test should be requested to confirm this result. A confirmatory PCR test should be booked online or by calling 119. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the pupil or student and their close contacts should self-isolate. If the PCR test is negative and taken within 2 days, it overrides the LFD test and a child can return to the setting.

What financial support is available if I have to self-isolate?

If you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, you may be eligible to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500.

You may be eligible if you are on a low income and:

  • you’re employed or self-employed
  • you, or a child you’re the parent or guardian of, have been told to self-isolate due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income by self-isolating or staying at home to care for the child

You need to claim the payment within 42 days of you (or your child’s) first day of self-isolation.

Find out more here.

Discretionary payments of £500 are also available for people on low incomes who are not on means-tested benefits but who may still face hardship as a result of the requirement to self-isolate. Your local authority may have additional eligibility criteria in place for these discretionary payments so contact your LA to ask about this.

Dealing with symptoms and isolation

What are the new rules on contact tracing in settings? (From 19 July)

From 19 July, settings will not be required to routinely carry out contact tracing. Instead, NHS Test and Trace will take over this responsibility. Until this date (or 6 days after the end of term, whichever is earlier) settings are expected to continue to carry out contact tracing as they have been.

Contact tracing

From 19 July NHS Test and Trace will contact anyone who is a positive case (or their parent/guardian, depending on age) and advise them to follow public health advice and provide details of their close contacts to assist NHS Test and Trace to carry out contact tracing. Usually, a child who has been in a setting with another positive case wouldnt be identified as a close contact unless they have had prolonged and close contact (such as a sleepover). 

In exceptional circumstances such as a local outbreak, settings may be asked to work with local health protection teams to carry out contact tracing and temporarily reintroduce some control measures. 

Practitioners are reminded that if they have a positive coronavirus case in their setting, they can call the DfE helpline on 0800 046 8687 and select option 1 for advice on the action to take in response to a positive case.

What are the new rules on self-isolation?

From 16 August 2021, children under 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, children (or their parents/carers) will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. Those people are strongly encouraged to take their PCR test.

From 16 August, the same isolation exemption will apply to all adults who are fully vaccinated (i.e. have received the full dose of their coronavirus vaccines). For example, if a member of staff has only had one of their two vaccinations, they will still be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case by NHS Test and Trace. If they are fully vaccinated, they will be advised to take a PCR test and not required to self-isolate.

In the event of an outbreak in the setting (please refer to the next question for further detail) the setting may be advised to reintroduce some further control measures. 

What counts as an outbreak at a setting? What will providers be advised to do in instances of an outbreak?

As stated within the Department for Education’s early years FAQs “You should have outbreak management plans outlining how you would operate if there were an outbreak in your setting or local area. Given the detrimental impact that restrictions on education can have on children, any measures in settings should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of settings or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible.

 

Central government may offer local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission.

 

If you have several confirmed cases within 14 days, you may have an outbreak.

You should call the dedicated advice service who will escalate the issue to your local health protection team where necessary and advise if any additional action is required, such as implementing elements of your outbreak management plan. You can reach them by calling the DfE helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting option 1 for advice on the action to take in response to a positive case.

The contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare settings. Local authorities, directors of public health (DsPH) and PHE health protection teams (HPTs) can recommend measures described in the contingency framework in individual education and childcare settings – or a small cluster of settings – as part of their outbreak management responsibilities."

If a child or member of staff develops Coronavirus symptoms at my setting, what do I do?

If anyone in the setting becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and advised to follow COVID-19 guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’, which sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a PCR test to see if they have coronavirus. Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 10 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following PHE stay at home guidance.

If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door with appropriate adult supervision. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should be taken to a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).

As is usual practice, in an emergency, call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Anyone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any children who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate. However, they must self-isolate and arrange for a test if they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test), if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and running water or use hand sanitiser after any contact with someone who is unwell. The area around the person with symptoms must be cleaned with normal household disinfectant after they have left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings outside the home guidance.

Check out of hygiene and prevention area of the Covid spotlight for further support, including our course on CEY smart.

What happens if there is a confirmed case of Coronavirus at my setting?

If a child or member of staff tests positive, you must notify Ofsted (or the childminder agency you are registered with). You should also tell Ofsted if you have to close your setting as a result of this. Reports should be made as soon as possible, ideally within 14 days as a maximum. Guidance on reporting confirmed cases can be found here.

You can call the DfE advice helpline on 0800 046 8687 and select option 1 for advice on actions to take in response to a positive case. They will escalate your issue to a local health protection team who will let you know if any of the measures in your outbreak management plan should be taken.

According to DfE, several confirmed cases in your setting in a 14 day period would class as an ‘outbreak’. Due to the detrimental impact that restrictions on education can have on children, the measures in this plan should only be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of settings or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible.

In the vast majority of cases, settings and parents and carers will be in agreement that a child with symptoms should not attend the setting, given the potential risk to others. In the event that a parent or carer insists on a child attending the setting, the setting can take the decision to refuse the child if in their reasonable judgement it is necessary to protect their children and staff from possible infection with coronavirus (COVID-19). Any such decision would need to be carefully considered in light of all the circumstances and the current public health advice. Further guidance is available on testing and tracing for coronavirus.

Am I covered by my PACEY PLI insurance if a child in my setting contracts Coronavirus?

PACEY’s insurers are clear that your insurance provides liability, so long as you implement the appropriate steps and actions that are set out in government guidance and Public Health England guidance. This guidance is evolving all the time so you should regularly review this and ensure your systems and procedures are up to date.

As always, we would advise you to keep written records of the steps you have taken in your setting to ensure so far as is practicable, that children and any staff you have remain safe in your care. This would include adequate risk assessments and other appropriate measures put in place to avoid the spread of any infections, including COVID-19.  

PACEY is currently developing advice and support for members on how to undertake risk assessment in light of COVID-19 as well as information on other controls you will need to have in place, including reasonable hygiene procedures. We are also regularly monitoring the guidance and advice being issues in England and Wales to ensure members are up to date with any changes.

In the event that a child or member of staff contract COVID-19 whilst at your setting, it will be important to have this documentation to evidence the steps you have taken to ensure safety and compliance with guidelines. This would be key to successfully defending any possible claim.

Read further guidance from the government here.

If you are not insured with PACEY, you need to check any requirements with your chosen insurance provider.

As a childminder, a member of my household has to self-isolate due to being a contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus, do I need to close?

(Note that from 16 August, these rules will change for under 18s, as well as fully vaccinated adults who will no longer need to self-isolate as a contact of a positive case. Further DfE guidance will be issued on this.)

This advice applies where a childminder usually looks after children in their own home, and where a childminder’s household member is self-isolating. For example, this may be when a childminder child has been sent home from school, or partner from work.

The childminder does NOT have to close their setting if:

  • Self-isolation is only as a result of coming into contact with a positive case
  • the household member is not showing symptoms of coronavirus
  • the household member does not require a test

However the childminder should:

  • ensure they keep open communication with parents and carers of children attending the setting about the self-isolation.
  • Ensure that the household member isolating does not have any contact with the children being cared for in the setting.
  • Comply with health and safety law and risk assess the situation to demonstrate that the provision of childcare in their setting is safe and aligns with the systems of control. Further guidance on cleaning can be found in COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home
  • put in place proportionate control measures. For more information on what is required of employers in relation to health and safety risk assessments, please see annex A of the guidance for full opening: schools
  • have active arrangements in place to monitor that the controls are effective, working as planned, and updated appropriately. For example when any issues are identified, or when there are changes in public health advice.

If there are challenges in ensuring the affected family member stay separated from the children being cared for, mitigations must be put in place and evidenced. For example, if possible the isolating family member should use a separate bathroom. If the isolating family member has to use a shared bathroom or other communal areas, these must be thoroughly cleaned after every use, remembering that the child isolating must not have any contact with the children being cared for in the setting.

At the time of the incident within the school, Test and Trace should activate and it is most likely that you would be contacted by the local health protection team if they felt you needed to close depending on the situation. Don’t forget to keep doing your risk assessments and communicating with parents about what is happening and precautions you are taking. Each situation would be unique and the risk would have to be assessed on a case by case basis by the local health protection teams. For example, if a school had a large outbreak, then it may be necessary for you to close.

Further guidance on risk assessments and keeping children and staff safe can be found in the Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance.

Remember, if the child isolating or any other member of the household displays symptoms of Covid-19 during the period of isolation or otherwise, then the setting would need to close at this point for isolation and testing.

A parent of a child in my setting is isolating due to being a close contact, but has no symptoms of Covid-19. Can their child continue to attend?

Generally, if a parent (of a child in your setting) is isolating due to being a close contact to a person testing positive for Covid-19 but is not showing symptoms of Covid-19, the child would still be able to attend the setting because as stated in guidance, the household would not have to isolate at this point. However, if the parent isolating or anyone else in the household presented symptoms of Covid-19, the whole of that household would then need to self-isolate for 10 days.

It’s important to recognise that this is general advice based on the guidance from NHS test and trace here. All childcare businesses and situations are unique and therefore if you still aren’t sure whether that child can come to your setting or whether you’re comfortable with that child continuing to come to your setting, we’d advise that you risk assess the situation and call Public Health England or your local health protection team for additional advice.  

If a child in my setting has a temperature potentially due to getting a vaccination or teething – do they have to isolate and get tested for Covid-19?

As stated in government guidance, “Vaccines may cause a mild fever in children. This is a common and expected reaction, and isolation is not required unless coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected.

Whilst teething can cause some known side effects such as flushed cheeks and sore gums, NHS guidelines state that fever is not a symptom of teething.

Parents and carers should monitor side effects from a vaccination or teething, and if they are concerned about their child’s health, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.

If coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, settings should follow the advice outlined above.

However, please note that every situation is different and as a childcare provider and business owner, it’s important that you risk assess the situation.

What is the NHS Test and Trace app?

NHS Test and Trace has launched the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Signing up to app is voluntary and can be used if someone over the age of 16 wants to keep an e-diary of the locations they have visited. Then, if there is a COVID-19 outbreak at a venue they have visited, app users get an early warning alert from the NHS. Furthermore, if a user has a positive test for COVID-19, they can register this on the app and it will support contact tracing teams to locate other people who may have been exposed to the virus

Childminders
You should decide how whether you want to use the app yourself and to encourage any staff you may have or parents using your setting to do the same. However, as it is voluntary, you should continue to maintain your usual system of recording visitors to your setting (including any information that will help you contact them if you need to e.g. if there is a potential Covid-19 outbreak at your setting.

Nurseries and pre-schools
As a larger setting, you will have a higher number of staff members and visitors so you should consider how the app can be included in your current policies and procedures and encouraging your staff to use the app in their personal lives. You will need to support your staff to understand how they “check in” visitors who are using the app as well as using your usual process for managing attendance and recording visitors to the setting. This is because the app is voluntary so not everyone may be using it. You will also need to consider how the use of mobile phones for this task are managed alongside your current policy on use of mobile phones in your setting.

Nannies
If you are a nanny, you should consider using the app and let your parents know you are doing so.

How to generate a QR code
If you decide to use the app to record visitors to your setting, you will need to create a QR code to display. You then get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive. You can create your unique QR code here and will need your email address as well as the address of your business to get started. Once you have created the code, you’ll receive your QR code poster by email which can be printed off and displayed somewhere in your setting where visitors can see it and scan when they arrive.

Being open, staff and parents

Will my PLI insurance continue to cover me?

PACEY’s insurers are clear that your insurance provides liability, so long as you implement the appropriate steps and actions that are set out in government guidance and Public Health England guidance. This guidance is evolving all the time so you should regularly review this and ensure your systems and procedures are up.​

Can Nannies work? Will PACEY’s PLI continue to cover Nannies to work?

Yes, the government has been clear that paid childcare can be provided, so long as risk assessments are done, mitigations are put in place to reduce the risk of transmission.

If you are a nanny, you should not mix with other nannies and you should maintain social distance where possible from the other household members of the family you are working for. If you are a live-in nanny then you will be classed as a member of that household and not required to socially distance from them. Our information on how to run a childcare setting and reduce the risk of infection includes many relevant points for nannies. You should consider this and access our CPD support as you adapt your practice to support the children in your care.

Your insurance provides liability as long as you are meeting the usual criteria (that is that you only work from the parents’ home and not your own, and that you care for no more than two families’ children) and are providing childcare within the latest guidelines set by the government, which include keeping children within their family home except for very limited purposes.

Nannies who are PACEY members can access our legal advice service for free.

How do I know if I, a member of staff, or child in my setting is clinically extremely vulnerable?

Those who are identified clinically extremely vulnerable should have been contacted by their GP or the NHS towards the start of the pandemic.

There are 3 ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable

  1. You have one or more of the conditions listed in the guidance here.
  2. Your clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded Patient List because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.
  3. You have been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else, however as they are at higher risk of becoming ill from coronavirus, there are additional precautions in place in the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable. Whilst shielding was paused from 1 April 2021, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to take extra precautions.

You will know the children you care for well. You should work in partnership with their parents to identify if their child is classified as clinically extremely vulnerable. All clinically extremely vulnerable children should attend early years provision, school, college, wraparound childcare and out-of-school settings, unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend. If you or any parents have any concerns about welcoming back a child who is clinically extremely vulnerable, you will find some information here.

Can childminders work with other childminders to look after more children together?

Yes – up to 3 childminders (or a mix of up to 3 childminders and assistants) can work together in the same domestic premises. However, if more than 3 childminders work together they will need to apply to Ofsted to register childcare on domestic premises.

If registered to deliver childcare on domestic premises, 4 or more childminders (or a mix of 4 or more childminders and assistants) can work together in the same domestic premises, which would enable them to care for larger groups of children and still meet ratio requirements.

Further details of requirements for childminders and childcare on domestic premises is available.

How do I support my staff if they are from a BAME community?

Research by Public Health England has identified that Covid-19 presents “a disproportionate risk for people from BAME groups, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions.” Employers should discuss this issue with any staff they have from a BAME community, to understand what, if any concerns, they may have. Take time to talk through what support they may need and to reassure them you have taken the steps advised by Government to reduce the risk of infection. Every circumstance will be different and, if necessary, you can contact PACEY legal advisors free if you are a member.

How do I manage visits to the setting from from parents/carers, external professionals and non-staff members? What about face coverings?

From 19 July, there are no restrictions on visitors to the settings. This means that parents can attend settling in visits and prospective tours of the settings can also be done in person. You may choose to keep certain measures in place relating to parent and external visitors – this will be up to each individual setting. This includes thinking about whether or not you will want to maintain processes such as door step drop offs, or masks in communal areas.

Many childcare providers will already have a visitor’s book to keep track of visitors to the setting. Contact tracing moves over to NHS Test and Trace from 19 July, although settings may in ‘exceptional cases’ be asked to help identify close contacts.

From Step 4, the government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded. Again, we would recommend that settings do a full risk assessment to determine whether or you face coverings may be suitable in your setting depending on the circumstances.

Settings should make sure their outbreak management plans cover the possibility that it is advised that face coverings should temporarily be worn more widely in settings in their area.

How is 30 hours funding currently being managed with parents?

Guidance states “Temporary changes have been made to the 30 hours free entitlement and tax-free childcare offers so that all eligible parents and carers, including critical workers, are not disadvantaged during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From 1 November, parents who are temporarily not meeting the minimum income requirement for 30 hours free childcare and / or Tax-Free Childcare as a direct consequence of the coronavirus outbreak will be treated as eligible if they would normally meet the threshold and are in receipt of government coronavirus support schemes, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

In your setting

Can I stop minimising contact between groups? Can I retain small groups if I want to?

As confirmed by DfE, yes. From 19 July 2021 it will no longer be necessary to keep groups of children apart as much as possible.

If you want to continue to retain small, consistent groups then this is up to each individual setting however it is important to take into account the impact this may have on the delivery of education and childcare.

Please refer to the control measures as set out in government guidance.

 

When should PPE/face coverings be used? Where can I get PPE?

From 19 July, the Government is removing the requirement to wear face coverings in law in early years and childcare settings, as well as in public. However Government still expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet (this may apply when taking children out of the setting). This includes public transport.

In instances where your setting experiences an outbreak, Government guidance states that your public health team may advice you to temporarily reintroduce face coverings in your settings for staff and visitors, unless they are exempt.

Staff are not required to wear PPE beyond what they would normally need for work. However the use of PPE is advised if a child in your setting displays symptoms of coronavirus and close contact is required (i.e. you cannot maintain 2m distance).  Full guidance on PPE in education settings can be found here.

How should I manage equipment such as toys and messy play?

From Step 4 of the roadmap (19 July), much of the guidance on equipment, resources and messy play has been removed. Practitioners are asked to follow the systems of control and maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, using standard products such as detergents. This includes regular cleaning of areas and equipment (for example, twice per day) with a particular focus on frequently touched surfaces.

Settings should risk assess to decide how to best maintain appropriate cleaning regimes. This could include thinking about how often surfaces are cleaning, which are the most frequently touched, whether you still want to consider rotating toys between use.

PHE has published guidance on the cleaning of non-healthcare settings.

How do I manage malleable materials (messy play)?

Government guidance states that all planned activities should be risk assessed in light of coronavirus, in conjunction with relevant staff where applicable, and due consideration given to how usual practice may need to be adapted.

Childcare settings should have developed their own hygiene policies to try and reduce the spread of infection. This includes keeping separate towels and flannels for each child as well as regular cleaning of toys and resources. Government guidance includes advice on how to do so.

Settings should risk assess activities that involve malleable materials for messy play such as sand, mud and water, as part of their regular curriculum planning.

A risk assessment should consider whether:

  • materials can be handled by a small, consistent group of children of no more than 15 at a time, and that no one else outside this group can come into contact with it
  • the malleable material for messy play (for example sand/water/mud) can be used and cleaned - including being replaced - in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, where applicable. For example, see managing risk in play provision: implementation guide

Settings should follow the ‘system of controls’ and ensure that:

  • children wash their hands thoroughly before and after messy play
  • frequently touched surfaces, equipment, tools and resources for messy play are thoroughly cleaned and dried before they are used by a different group

Further general cleaning advice can be found in the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.

Consider and communicate a policy on bringing items and toys from home. This should only be done if absolutely essential and, where this is the case, items should be appropriately cleaned on arrival.

Find more support from PACEY here.

I have a supervised toothbrushing programme in my setting, how do I manage this now?

PHE have confirmed that supervised toothbrushing programmes may be re-established within settings using the dry brushing method.

The wet brushing model is not recommended because it is considered more likely to risk droplet and contact transmission and offers no additional benefit to oral health over dry toothbrushing.

For information on the cleaning and storage of toothbrushes and storage systems, see the COVID-19: guidance for supervised toothbrushing programmes in early years and school settings.

Going outside, care and school runs

Can settings take children outside or on trips? What about insurance? What about meeting up with others?

Yes, according to Government guidance educational trips indoors and outdoors may resume and meeting with others is allowed with no limit on numbers. Baby and toddler groups are also allowed to operate with no restriction on numbers. From 19 July, social distancing requirements will be lifted – you can find the general government guidance which should be followed here.

Settings must continue as is routine to complete a full and thorough risk assessment for educational visits and other trips taken outside of the setting. As part of this risk assessment, settings should take note of the latest guidance, including what restrictions are in force on the day of the visit and COVID-19 control measures on transport and at the destination.

Some activities, such as singing during parent and child groups, dancing and exercising in enclosed spaces carry a higher risk of covid-19 transmission as they generate more droplets due to heavy breathing. In these situations you should be particularly careful to follow the guidance on keeping yourself and others safe.   

The early years guidance states “Given the likely gap in COVID-19 related cancellation insurance, if you are considering booking a new visit, you are advised to ensure that any new bookings have adequate financial protection in place.”

PACEY’s insurers are clear that your insurance provides liability, long as you implement the appropriate steps and actions that are set out in national industry guidance from Department for Education and Public Health England. 

If you are a PACEY member and have any questions you can contact the free legal helpline. If you are not insured with PACEY, you need to check any requirements with your chosen insurance provider.

Can I provide overnight care as a registered childminder?

Childminders can provide overnight care as long as they are registered and have the appropriate registration requirements in place to deliver this. They must also be able to adhere to current government guidance as much as possible.

Can families use grandparents to care for their children?

Yes, and in line with lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in May families no longer need a childcare ‘bubble’ to meet up. PACEY will continue to highlight the importance of early education, as well as where it is illegal to pay to use unregistered childcare.

Can community activities such as parent/toddler groups or soft play reopen? Can providers attend?

As stated in national lockdown guidance “Support groups, such as for breastfeeding, postnatal, and baby and toddler groups, for the provision of support for parents and their children, that are necessary to deliver in person, can continue with up to 15 participants (children under five are not counted in the number) where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes where parents and carers meet other par­­­ents and carers with or without their young children.

From 29 March, parent and child groups can operate outdoors. Groups must have no more than 15 attendees (not including children under five years old and those working/leading the group).

In line with Step Two of easing Covid-19 restrictions, which takes place from Monday 12 April all parent and child groups can go ahead indoors for children under five years old.

Settings, parents and carers should work through the ‘system of controls’ collaboratively, to identify and address any risks and allow them to jointly agree appropriate care for the children. Settings must ensure they have read the current guidance, fully assessed the risks and have completed a risk assessment prior to a trip. You know your setting and if you don't feel safe then don't go.

Ofsted, first aid and the EYFS

What do I need to tell Ofsted?

Any confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the setting (either child or staff member), and/or if the setting is advised to close as a result, should be swiftly reported to Ofsted through the usual notification channels.

If you decide to re-open, or close, your setting, please let Ofsted know by emailing enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk with ‘Change in operating hours’ in the subject field and including your EY number. Please contact them using an email or phone number that is already known to them, and associated with your registration.

From 28 January 2021, all registered childcare providers in England must use Ofsted’s online notification form to notify Ofsted of significant events, including reporting confirmed cases of Covid-19. Providers should no longer notify Ofsted via phone or email.

To use the online notification form you will need:

  • Your unique reference number (URN)
  • The childcare address
  • Details of the incident and details of those involved

Providers should share the information with Ofsted as soon as practical, and within 14 days of the incident.

Click here for more information

They are also providing rolling updates here - www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update

How is Ofsted managing inspections?

Ofsted has resumed its graded inspections of registered early years providers since 4 May 2021. All inspections will be carried out on site. However, it may be pragmatic to do some elements of the inspection through video calls. This will be agreed with the provider at the start of the inspection. It will usually only be used to involve parents/carers and those with leadership responsibility who are unable to attend the setting. 

When will I have my EIF inspection?

Last autumn Ofsted confirmed that it will move to a six year inspection window. This means each provider has their own inspection window, which is determined by their last inspection judgement. As Ofsted prepares for a return to full EIF inspection, it will take a proportionate and risk-based approach to who is inspected first. It will prioritise providers who: were judged less than good at their last inspection (including those who received an interim visit in the autumn term); providers recently registered that have not been inspected and whose first inspection is overdue, and those that have not been inspected in the last inspection cycle due to the pause in routine inspection. Ofsted is unable to answer specific questions about the timing of an inspection for individual providers. 

How will Ofsted ensure everyone remains safe on inspection?

Ofsted will prioritise the safety and welfare of everyone involved in inspections, including children, carers, staff and inspectors - following the most up-to-date guidance from Public Health England. In the notification call before an inspection, providers and inspectors will agree safety measures to ensure the inspection is COVID-19 secure and how inspectors can work effectively within the protective measures in place. Inspectors will also take a lateral flow test before arriving at the setting and PVIs and Childminders now have access to these tests too. Where possible, any interactions with practitioners, leaders and parents will be in a socially distanced manner. This could include, but is not limited to, standing 2 metres apart in a large room and conversations/meetings taking place outside or by telephone. What precautions are needed will vary from provider to provider and activity to activity, but inspectors will always ensure that they are acting safely and within the clear guidance given.

What if a provider has active cases of COVID-19 or staff / children self isolating?

Where a provider has active cases of COVID-19 in their setting, they can request a deferral of their inspection at the point of notification. Ofsted will consider all requests in line with our published deferral policy. 

What if I am a childminder and have family members shielding in another part of my home?

On 18 March the government announced that shielding advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable will cease from 1 April 2021 and those on the shielded patient list can begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population. Ofsted understands that people on the shielded patients list are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe and will prioritise the safety and welfare of everyone involved in inspections. In the notification call before an inspection, providers and inspectors will agree safety measures to ensure the inspection is COVID-19 secure and how inspectors can work effectively within the protective measures in place. 

What happens after an inspection?

After the inspection visit, the inspector should submit their evidence through the agreed channels. The inspector arranges for a draft version of the inspection outcome letter to be sent to the provider. The provider will be able to highlight any issues that it wants us to consider when finalising the letter, including any comments they may have about the findings and process. We will consider all comments submitted. If comments are submitted, the inspector will respond to them and this will be shared with the provider with the final version of the inspection outcome letter.

If the provider is not complying with all the requirements, the inspection outcome letter will include details of the action the provider must take and a date by when they must complete the actions. The provider must respond to us by the stated date setting out the action they have taken to comply and to confirm that they have taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance with all the requirements.

Ofsted will follow up any outstanding actions and send a reminder letter to the provider if they do not respond within the timescale. Any outstanding actions will be risk assessed by the regulatory team and action taken accordingly, such as referral to the region on cancellation. A senior manager in Ofsted will decide whether to carry out a further inspection within 12 months if any non-compliance was serious and/or we have reason to believe it may persist.

Ofsted will aim to send a final version of the inspection outcome letter to the provider within 30 working days of the end of the inspection. The provider may submit a complaint when we share the final version of the inspection outcome letter. If they do, the publication of the outcome letter will be delayed until the complaint has been investigated. Ofsted will publish this inspection outcome letter on the Ofsted reports website 8 days after this – 38 working days after the on-site inspection work has finished. The inspection outcome letter will remain on the reports website for a period of 12 months after the date of the inspection.

Does the Early Years Foundation Stage still apply? What about paediatric first aid?

During the national lockdown in January 2021, we had a number of concerns raised by members facing issues accessing PFA training and also transmission risks.

Validity of current certificates was extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest and this date has now passed.. This applied to certificates expiring on or after 1 October 2020 and included paediatric first aiders in provision registered on the General Childcare Register as well as Ofsted registered early years provision. Childminders could also apply this extension.

If asked to do so, providers using this exemption should be able to explain why the first aider has not been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps have taken to access the training. Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity. Anyone who is currently undertaking Ofsted registration will however still need to complete their PFA qualification as it is a requirement of registration.

You may wish to read our blog from first aid training provider Tigerlily or access the government guidance.

Is there any flexibility in ratios?

The flexibility in ratios remains the same as it has always been. In the EYFS, paragraph 3.30 it states that ‘Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made.’ Ofsted consider the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak to be an exceptional temporary circumstance in which the staff to child ratios set out in the EYFS can be changed if necessary. However, childcare providers remain responsible for ensuring the safety and security of children in their care.

Amendments made to regulations from 24 April allow further exceptions to be made to the qualification level that staff hold in order to be counted in the ratio requirements. Settings should use reasonable endeavours to ensure that at least half of staff (excluding the manager) hold at least a full and relevant level 2 qualification to meet staff to child ratio requirements, but this is not a legal requirement.

You can find further information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2

Policies and contracts

How do I manage paperwork and policies with Covid-19?

You will need to continue to review your existing policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately cover the changes in circumstances and to ensure you can operate safely.

PACEY has regularly updated key sample policies (including health and safety, risk assessment, illness and infection control and food and drink) for you to adapt to the specific needs of your setting. These policies are updated regularly as guidance changes.

You can also access a variety of paperwork in our Covid-19 early years toolkit spotlight here - www.pacey.org.uk/working-in-childcare/spotlight-on/coronavirus/reopening-settings-coronavirus/covid-19-paperwork/

How should I manage contracts with parents?

All childcare businesses are individual, and you will know your business and your parents best.

If you have continued to remain closed (whilst other settings reopen) it is likely to be challenging to continue to expect your current parents to wait until you are ready to re-open. You should talk to them about why you are remaining closed and try to come to a mutually agreeable future plan. However these parents may wish to give you notice if they are unable to wait until you are ready to reopen.

Some childcare settings who are not charging their monthly fees have asked parents who can afford to, to pay a voluntary monthly retainer fee to help them stay viable and be able to open after the pandemic. If you do decide to propose a retainer to the families using your service, it will help to explain how this retainer will help you to cover the business costs that you will continue to incur even if you are closed e.g. insurance. Whilst not all parents will be able to do so – especially if they are also self-employed, for example - some may be happy to continue to support in this way but it is likely this will not be a realistic way forward if other childcare services start to reopen

Ultimately, you will need to decide if proposing a retainer fee is something your parents will be willing to pay, potentially for a number of months. You will have to balance your immediate financial concerns with your longer term plans to reopen.

Whatever you decide, be reasonable and balanced in your dealings with parents as you may want them to return to your service in the future or recommend you to others.

When you decide to reopen, you may want to review your current contracts with your parents before they return. In particular if you have agreed any special arrangements with them during the pandemic that may need to be reflected in your contract. PACEY has already updated its contracts for childminding (see the question below).

PACEY members can also contact the legal team for advice on individual contracts and you can also access information from the Competitions Market’s Authority on consumer law.

Has PACEY made any amendments to current contracts?

PACEY’s Childminding Contracts are tailor-made to meet your needs and include useful guidance notes to help you negotiate and agree terms with parents or guardians. The completion of a written childminding contract is a regulation requirement in Wales and part of the EYFS in England.

We have already updated these to ensure they reflect some of the issues that have emerged as a result of the pandemic. This includes the addition of an agreed retainer fee if enforced closure was to occur.

Now available to buy in digital form, the single-use contracts for childminders in England can be purchased individually. These contracts have been updated to cover enforced closures and pandemics. For help in completing digital contracts please see our provider FAQs.  

While new paper contracts have been updated to reflect issues such as enforced closures. If you have already purchased a paper version of a PACEY registered childminding contract (England) pre-14 September 2020, we have an addendum available, free of charge, to cover enforced closures. Please download and update the PDF and ensure that both parties sign and date it. This addendum should be stored securely with your existing contract.

If you purchase a paper version of the Wales PACEY registered childminding contract, you will also receive a bi-lingual downloadable addendum free of charge, which covers enforced closures. This will automatically be added to your basket and you will receive a link to the documents after purchase. 

What was the information shared by CMA regarding COVID-19 and retainer fees?

At the end of April 2020, The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation regarding the early years sector and charging retainer fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. After this was announced, PACEY worked closely with CMA alongside sector colleagues the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) to provide evidence and information about the complex financial issues in the early years sector.

The CMA then issued an open letter to the sector as well as guidance specifically on Covid-19 restrictions and consumer law advice for nurseries and early years settings. 

Please make sure you read the full guidance as it contains clear and important guidance.

How has PACEY, NDNA and SCMA worked with the CMA?

The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) have worked together with the CMA since the beginning of May to provide evidence and information regarding the complex financial issues in the early years sector. We also advised on the current guidance to make sure that providers have the correct information and knowledge going forward in regards to COVID-19 retainers fees and consumer law.

Are PACEY contracts and the addendum still fine to use?

Yes. Our PACEY contracts are regularly reviewed by our legal team. In light of this new advice and guidance from The CMA regarding voluntary ‘retainer’ fees, we have re-checked our contracts and have needed no change at this point.

Can I still charge for my holidays/bank holidays?

Yes. You can add charges into your contract such as holidays/bank holidays however, these must be clearly communicated with parents, approached in a fair way and with the clear agreement with parents. We have further advice regarding contracts and agreements here - www.pacey.org.uk/parents/working-with-your-childcarer/contracts-and-agreements/ 

Are parents going to be demanding refunds for retainer fees? Can they?

The CMA is asking providers to consider their contracts and arrangements with parents and take any necessary steps to ensure they comply with the law. If, after reading the CMA advice, you are unsure as to whether or not your charges were fair and reasonable, PACEY members can call the free Legal Advice line. If you feel you may have incorrectly charged your customers, you should proactively contact parents to discuss this and agree the best method of refund.

Equally, if a parent has asked for a refund for their retainer fee during a forced closure but you feel the charges were fair and reasonable then you should contact the parent in writing to explain why you believe your charges were fair and reasonable, stating how you have adhered to CMA’s guidance. If the parent continues to disagree, as a PACEY member, you can call our free Legal Advice line for support and advice on your specific circumstances.

I am still feeling worried about my contract after the release of the CMA guidance, where can I find further support?

In regards to the latest CMA guidance and advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and charging voluntary/retainer fees, we have some FAQs available to members here.

As every situation is unique, we would encourage all PACEY members to ring the free legal helpline if they wish to discuss their situation in more detail. The number can be found here.

How could I manage first aid reports and getting a signature from a parent when trying to social distance?

Given the current situation and if you are not able to obtain a signature in the normal way, we would suggest that you send the report to the parent via email or phone message. Where the parent normally signs, please write in the time/date and method the parent was informed as well as the time/date and method the parent acknowledged the report.

If you need further support, PACEY members can call the legal helpline.

The family of a child I look after are not adhering to government guidance while not at my setting – what can I do?

Both the setting and the families who attend that setting must adhere to government guidance at all times. This is to keep both them and the setting safe and prevent further outbreaks as we move through government reopening plans.

Before you re-open please make sure that you have all the correct policies and procedures in place and that parents are fully aware of these requirements, why they are in place and what is expected of them.

If you are aware of a family who are not adhering to government guidelines we would suggest that the setting contacts the family with a clear letter explaining and reminding them of the requirements previously set out and that they need to adhere to them. We would also recommend that you seek specific advice from the PACEY legal help line. This is a free service for members.

One of my employees who works at my setting is not adhering to government guidance when not working – what can I do?

It is important that employees understand and adhere to guidance when working and not working. We would suggest adding some information to your staff handbook to remind staff of your expectations. Below is some suggested wording.

“As an organisation we take the health and wellbeing of staff and children seriously. As such, we would expect all members of staff working within the setting to abide by any government recommendations, laws and guidelines on social distancing whether at work or in their private lives.  Any breaches of government guidelines on social distancing will be dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary procedures and may be treated as gross misconduct.

If you need any further information in relation to social distancing, please speak to [INSERT HR/MANAGER NAME HERE]”

Financial support

Is early years entitlement funding continuing for registered providers?

Early Years entitlement funding for Summer and Autumn term 2021: local authorities will be asked to provide DfE with attendance data (which they already collect for local funding purposes). Each council will then be funded based on this attendance data for each respective term. This will ensure that funding to councils aligns with attendance as children return to their settings or take up their free entitlements for the first time, as lockdown restrictions are eased. 

Guidance on funding can be found here.

New funding rates for 2021-22

The DfE also announced new funding rates for 2021-22 which takes into account the 1.2% percent increase promised in the 2020 Spending Review. This equates to a rise of just 6p per hour for three- and four-year-olds and 8p per hour for two year old funding.

Can I claim the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

Self-employed childminders can claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) scheme which has been extended until the end of September 2021.

  • The fifth and final SEISS grant covers May to September. If you are eligible to receive this, you will get a call from HMRC in mid-July to tell you which date you can make your claim. The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.
    • 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more
    • 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%
    • More information on eligibility and guidance on working out your turnover can be found here

If you’re not eligible
You may still be eligible for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.
 

What financial support is available to childcare providers?

You can use this short questionnaire to help identify what your business would be eligible for from the government.

There is a range of financial support available from Government:

  • Business rate relief has been extended, so nurseries in England will qualify for 100 per cent business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.
    • This will be followed by 66 per cent business rates relief from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties. 
    • Note that local authority-run nurseries are not eligible.
       
  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) - Self-employed childminders can claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) scheme. Find more information here.

 

  • Coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) / furlough scheme – This scheme was due to close in March 2021, but has now been extended until 30 September 2021. Find out more
    • ​​Employers will need to pay for employer National Insurance contributions and pensions costs.
    • From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced each month and the employer will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees wages.
    • For periods ended on or before 30 June 2021 you can claim 80% of an employees usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
    • For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.

 

  • Recovery loan scheme – available from 6 April 2021 will make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1000 and £10 million. Find out more.
  • If you’re a UK VAT registered business and had a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you could have deferred payment until 31 March 2021. If you still have payments to make you can now pay that deferred VAT in full or join the VAT deferral new payment scheme which is open from 23 February 2021 up to and including 21 June 2021. Check if you are eligible here.
  • Working tax credit has been increased by £1,000 a year.
  • Mortgage holidays will continue to be on offer to those customers struggling to make their mortgage payments through the COVID-19 outbreak. Some banks are also offering further support to those struggling to repay personal loans. Contact your bank or building society to see what they can offer you. 

Further details on support for businesses is available here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

What support can employers access to help pay assistants/staff?

If you have a contract of employment with your assistant or staff member, as the employer you will be contracted to pay them a salary for a set period of time including any notice period. It will be up to you to decide if you can afford to pay them whilst closed or to consult them on a proposal to be made redundant.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the ‘furlough’ scheme, has been extended until September 2021.

If you are still delivering a service and have staff working for you, you may be able to apply for the Business Interruption Loan to help you meet immediate expenses, for example wages bills. Read more at www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/for-businesses-and-advisors/

 

What do I do if I don’t qualify for the self-employed help scheme?

We are aware that some childminders, especially newly registered, will not qualify for help and continue to push Government for support of those childminders who receive no help. You should also consider applying for the other available options. A self-employed person could be entitled to a combination of Universal Credit + new style Employment and Support Allowance + Local Housing Allowance + Child Benefits to see them through the next few months depending on their circumstances.

Removing the minimum income floor means benefits will no longer assume that you earn a minimum amount and will take into account your actual earnings – meaning it will properly catch those who have seen their income fall to nothing.

In addition to these measures the government has worked to reduce the fixed outgoings of self-employed people. So you may also benefit from:

  • Rent deferral
  • Mortgage deferral
  • Tax Bill deferral
  • Business VAT deferral
  • IR35 deferral

If you apply for the self-employed scheme, can you apply for Universal Credit, or other sources of government support as well?

Yes. A self-employed person could be entitled to a combination of Universal Credit + new style Employment and Support Allowance + Local Housing Allowance + Child Benefits to see them through the next few months depending on their circumstances.

Removing the minimum income floor means benefits will no longer assume that you earn a minimum amount and will take into account your actual earnings – meaning it will properly catch those who have seen their income fall to nothing.

In addition to these measures the government has worked to reduce the fixed outgoings of self-employed people. So you may also benefit from:

  • Rent deferral
  • Mortgage deferral
  • Tax Bill deferral
  • Business VAT deferral
  • IR35 deferral

For further information regarding Universal Credit please follow these links:

Emotional health and wellbeing

I'm feeling very worried and concerned about the whole situation and having to stay at home is making me feel worse. What can I do?

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.

It's important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. Staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it. So we have listed some useful resources and help if you need it.

  1. NHS Every Mind Matters
    Having good mental health helps us to make sense of difficult times and enjoy our lives more. Take a look at expert advice, tips and more from the NHS support.
  2. Mind 
    It is absolutely normal to be feeling anxious and worried about Coronavirus. Resources from Mind recognises this and give you tips and practical support to help.
  3. Public Health England
    Access some easy to read advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
  4. Samaritans
    The coronavirus outbreak is affecting the way many of us live our lives, and it's normal that this will affect people's mental health. The Samaritans have gathered some resources together to help. If you need someone to talk to, please don't forget you can call the Samaritans at any time, for free, by calling 116 123.

What training support is PACEY offering?

PACEY has short courses as part of CEY smart. You can access relevant courses tackling topics including trauma and bereavement, all of which will support your business and the children in your setting as you prepare to reopen in June or whenever you decide to.

You can log in here to access the courses.

The early years and childcare sector is playing a key part in the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Liz Bayram, PACEY Chief Executive, adds; 
"I just wanted you to know that every single member of staff and every volunteer at PACEY is standing firmly behind you; working tirelessly to ensure you have the support you need to get through this difficult time. We are a small charity but we make up for it with our determination and dedication to support all of our members as well as the wider sector.”