Re-opening toolkit for early years settings

Since the government announced the planned re-opening of childcare and early years settings in England and Wales from June we have pulled together a range of support, advice and blogs to tackle key topics you will need to consider and think about before re-opening. Click the relevant topic below to find more support:

Working with Coronavirus

Hear from those who have remained open since March to key workers and vulnerable children about their experience and what they have changed in order to keep their family and the children in their settings safe.

Dealing with local re-opening decisions

Some childcare providers in England are facing ongoing confusion about whether their settings should open or stay closed from Monday 1 June. Some councils are issuing guidance to remain closed, whilst Government guidance is to begin the phased opening of schools and early years settings from 1 June in England. Read more about how to manage this situation.

Sample policies and procedures

You will need to review your existing policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately cover the changes in circumstances and to ensure you can operate safely. We've updated the PACEY sample policies for England for you to adapt to the specific needs of your setting. You can access all sample policies completely free if you're a PACEY member.

Policy guidance for Wales is also available free if you're a PACEY member. PACEY Cymru have produced COVID-19 additional policies and procedures guidance for Wales to support childminders in developing or renewing policies and procedures with special consideration to COVID-19. This guidance is also available in Welsh.

COVID-19 risk assessments

You should do a thorough risk assessment before you reopen your setting, and regularly review it once you're welcoming children again. Our sample risk assessment will help you consider the specific risks of the coronavirus pandemic and how you can assess and mitigate them in your setting. Risk assessments are "living documents" and need regular review. You can use this special COVID-19 version alongside your existing risk assessment. 

The risk assessments are suitable for childminders and group settings in England and Wales.

We've also created a "community agreement" template, which you can adapt to your childminding setting and use with parents to establish a mutual understanding about how you - and they - will behave to help limit the spread of the virus. A group-setting version of this will follow.

Contract with parents

With the ongoing pandemic and the reopening of settings, now is a good time to review or create new contracts with your parents. PACEY’s contracts are tailor-made to meet your needs and include useful guidance notes to help you negotiate and agree terms with parents or guardians. 

Symptoms and illness

It is important to minimise the risk of infection as you start to open and take steps to help keep your setting as safe as possible. Members can download the full advice poster here. Not a member? Join now.

  • Make sure you know the coronavirus symptoms.
  • Consider what to do if a child or member of staff develops symptoms on arrival at the setting.
  • Consider what to do if a child or member of staff develops symptoms while at the setting.
  • Consider what to do if you or a member of your household develop suspected symptoms.
  • Take steps to manage anxiety surrounding symptoms and illnesses.

Useful links and support:

We also now have a free downloadable flow chart addressing the process that would happen if a child or staff member at your setting developed COVID-19 symptoms. 


Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, hygiene has been at the top of the list of measures to prevent the spread of infection. Members can download the full advice poster here. Not a member? Join now.

  • Ensure thorough and regular handwashing
  • Support children to develop and maintain good hygiene habits
  • Implement a detailed new cleaning routine at your setting
  • Consider how you will limit the use of resources
  • Make a detailed list of equipment to purchase before you re-open

Useful links and support:

Drop offs and pick ups

Children arriving and leaving presents an increased for the virus to potentially come into your setting. Take a look at our top tips below. Members can download the full poster here. Not a member? Join now.

  • Remind families that only symptom-free parents/carers can drop off or pick up
  • Practice social distancing with parents
  • Consider staggered drop offs
  • Consider how families arrive at your setting 
  • Key an eye out for symptoms in children and staff
  • Make sure hygiene starts at the doorstep

The information and supporting transition form developed for use in Wales by PACEY Cymru is helpful to support settling children in who are new to the setting or returning after a long period of time. This can be found in the Spotlight on Transitions.

Useful links and support:

Social distancing

This is probably one of the more difficult measures to implement, but practitioners need to think about simple and practical measures they can implement into their setting to support social distancing. Members can download the full poster here. Not a member? Join now.

  • Judge when social distancing is appropriate
  • Keep small groups separate
  • Explain social distancing through games and activities
  • Temper social distancing with a responsive approach
  • Maintain social distancing for staff, too

Useful links and support:

EYFS adjustments - England only

Several temporary adjustments have been made to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework in England, to support childcare providers to reopen their settings, when it is safe to do so. Read the full guidance on the changes from the government but do make sure you are aware of the following. Detailed checklist for members coming soon. Not a member? Join now.

  • The number of fully qualified staff required to meet your ratios
  • The number of staff who hold a full Paediatric First Aid certificate (doesn't include childminders)
  • There is no requirement for the progress check at age 2 or the EYFS Profile this year.

Useful links and support:

National Minimum Standards relaxations (Wales only)

The Welsh Government is allowing for the temporary relaxation of  some of the requirements in the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare.  This will support settings to re-open. You will need to read the detailed information to support you with making decisions and what you need to do but the key points include:

  • The ratios within childminding settings
  • The ratios within full day care settings
  • Supernumerary staffing in day care settings
  • Staff qualifications and DBS checks

Not a member? Join now. ​ 


Have you any feedback, ideas or other suggestions to share? Please let us know.

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We've created these resources to help you decide what is best for you and your setting when it comes to considering when to reopen your setting. We'll be adding to this bank of resources over coming days and weeks, and revising information in line with government advice and guidance as it changes. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up to date, PACEY will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any inaccuracy, error or omission. These are designed to promote best practice but are not a substitute for professional advice. Materials should not be reproduced or distributed for use outside your own setting or by others without the prior written consent of PACEY.