FAQs related to COVID-19 (Wales)

Given the quickly changing and evolving nature of this page Welsh translation is not currently available and will follow, apologies for any issues caused.

Unsurprisingly there have been many questions asked in the last few weeks about the impact COVID-19 will have on your childcare business. Remember the Welsh Government Frequently Asked Questions and the CIW Frequently Asked Questions are of use to the sector and are regularly updated.  These should be used in conjunction with the information below. PACEY members can also contact the legal helpline for advice.

We've collated the most frequently asked questions and grouped them by theme. These FAQ's relate to settings in Wales only. The recording from the Reopening in Wales webinar held on the 16th June also contains useful information. The information in this webinar was accurate on the date of delivery (16th June)  but some points may have been superseded by further updates that have followed.  Up to date information is in the FAQ's below.

Position in Wales

What is the position in Wales?

The position in Wales is different from England.  The Welsh Government have announced that  childcare and play settings are able to increase their operations from the 22th June, this is earlier than expected and previously shared.  This will mean that providers can move forward more quickly in their planning and preparations around reopening more widely taking into account the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings and other information. Providers do have a choice on when they open so can take time to plan and prepare if not ready to open on Monday however allowing re-opening from the 22 June enables those settings who are prepared to re-open more widely from this date.

Why is the position different in Wales to England?

Education and childcare are legislative powers that have been devolved in Wales. This means Wales make their own decisions on childcare including how they are responding to the Covid 19 pandemic. This may be because the communities here need different responses or because the pandemic has progressed differently. 

Who do I need to notify of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in my setting?

CIW have stated that you should notify CIW of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and family members. By suspected, they mean people showing symptoms of the virus (new continuous cough and high temperature). 

Please use CIW Online to notify them and report as you would any infectious disease. If your childminding service is now temporarily closed, please inform CIW by emailing CIW@gov.wales

If you are closing due to the outbreak you should notify PACEY, if you hold insurance and/or membership with us, by emailing support@pacey.org.uk

The Welsh Government's Test, Trace, Protect strategy will also look to contain the spread of the virus and contacts for those who have tested positive will be contacted under the strategy and advised on what steps to take.

What is the position in relation to CIW inspections?

CIW routine inspections are currently suspended in line with the position on their websiteHowever CIW will continue to inspect any service where they have significant concerns about the safety and well-being of people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

What is the position in relation to Estyn inspections?

Routine Estyn inspections are currently suspended.  Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector for Estyn, outlined the latest position on 3 June.  This will include working with stakeholders from the non-maintained sector, which includes PACEY Cymru, to look at how arrangements will be apadted for providers for the coming year. Estyn have published Frequently Asked Questions in relation to COVID-19 and inspection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

Who do I need to notify if I close?

CIW have stated that you should notify CIW of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and family members. By suspected, they mean people showing symptoms of the virus (new continuous cough and high temperature). 

Please use CIW Online to notify them and report as you would any infectious disease. If your childminding service is now closed, please inform CIW by emailing CIW@gov.wales

If you are closing due to the outbreak you should notify PACEY, if you hold insurance and/or membership with us, by emailing support@pacey.org.uk

Cwlwm have also published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

 

What has the Welsh Government announced in relation to the relaxation of some of the National Minimum Standards?

On 24 June, the Welsh Government extended the temporary relaxation of some of the requirements in its National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare until 30 September 2020. The arrangements and guidelines for this are set out in an updated Circular Letter which supersedes the letter dated 8 April 2020. The Welsh Government has also published Frequently Asked Questions in relation to this including the process to follow.

Cwlwm have also published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

 

Reopening

Does a childcare provider have to reopen?

It is up to you as an individual to decide what’s best for your business in line with their own position and approach taking into account the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings and other information. Carry out risk assessments, talk to parents/carers, your family members and any staff you may have to discuss reopening and the measures that you will have to put in place in order to do so safely and within government guidance. It’s a decision only you can take depending on your circumstances.

There is no legal requirement to re-open and, while for group settings, there is the potential for local authorities to demand that you re-open if they do not have sufficient supply of childcare places in the local area, this is highly unlikely to be a power that they need to use. This power does not apply to registered childminders because they work in private homes.

PACEY members have access to the legal advice line around any legal or contractual issues.

If  a childminder or family member needs to self-isolate then they must close. The government is clear that people should be staying at home and ensuring social distancing and, where appropriate, self- and household isolation to help defeat this virus.

Who do I need to notify if I re-open?

If you had notified CIW that you were closing temporarily and are now looking to re-open you should notify CIW through the CIW Online system.  It would also be good practice to notify your local Family Information Service or childcare team in your Local Authority to ensure your service is promoted to parents or carers looking for childcare.  

If you had notified PACEY you were temporarily closing and are now re-opening you should notify PACEY, if you hold insurance and/or membership with us, by emailing support@pacey.org.uk.

Cwlwm have also published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

 

I’ve been open to children of critical workers/vulnerable children throughout the COVID outbreak, can I take on other children?

Yes, in childcare settings, providers can welcome back all children in line with the dates confirmed in the recent announcement. This includes childminders who can also look after children of all ages, in line with usual limits on the number of children they can care for.  In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.  

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

 

Should a provider prioritise childcare for specific ages or families?

Welsh Government have stated that there are no requirements for specific ages or families to be prioritised.  In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.                                                     

Will children of all ages be able to be cared for by childcare providers?

Yes, in childcare settings, providers can welcome back all children in line with the dates confirmed in the announcements. This includes childminders who can also look after children of all ages, in line with usual limits on the number of children they can care for.  In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.  The guidance states that 'children should be cared for in consistent groups of no more than 8, while adhering to NMS ratios'.

Limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus.  It is important that we continue to reduce mixing between people and groups of people.  Keeping people in small, consistent groups of adults and children which remain the same throughout the week, and separate from other groups, helps to do this and avoids creating chains of transmission. 

In returning to childcare, children should attend just one setting wherever possible, and should remain in the same small, consistent group within that setting, as far as possible.  This will help reduce the likelihood of the virus moving between groups within that one setting, or moving between groups in different settings.  

If a child attends more than one setting, for example school and wrap-around or out of school childcare, the child should remain in the same, small group across both settings wherever possible.  Mixing children from different groups, or different schools, is not consistent with the need to minimise overall levels of contact.  Parents and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus.  This will mean parents, schools and settings working together and in line with the guidance provided.

Settings are also asked to consider how they can minimise the risks of wider contacts, restricting chains of transmission.  For example childminding settings should consider how they can work with parents to agree ways to manage any necessary journeys, including pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Will there be limits to the number of children or families a provider can work with?

Providers must ensure they comply with the usual limits on the number of children they can care for in line with their CIW registration.  

In addition to this in line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.

It is unlikely any setting will be able to operate at full capacity if they are adhering to the rules around social distancing and the wider protective measures guidance.  The guidance states that 'children should be cared for in consistent groups of no more than 8, while adhering to NMS ratios'.

Limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus.  It is important that we continue to reduce mixing between people and groups of people.  Keeping people in small, consistent groups of adults and children which remain the same throughout the week, and separate from other groups, helps to do this and avoids creating chains of transmission. 

In returning to childcare, children should attend just one setting wherever possible, and should remain in the same small, consistent group within that setting, as far as possible.  This will help reduce the likelihood of the virus moving between groups within that one setting, or moving between groups in different settings.  

If a child attends more than one setting, for example school and wrap-around or out of school childcare, the child should remain in the same, small group across both settings wherever possible.  Mixing children from different groups, or different schools, is not consistent with the need to minimise overall levels of contact.  Parents and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus.  This will mean parents, schools and settings working together and in line with the guidance provided.

Settings are also asked to consider how they can minimise the risks of wider contacts, restricting chains of transmission.  For example childminding settings should consider how they can work with parents to agree ways to manage any necessary journeys, including pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Are staff in childcare settings obliged to return to work unless shielding?

If a member of staff has any concerns about returning to work they should discuss this with their manager. 

Talk to staff about your plans (for example, safety measures, timetable changes and staggered arrival and departure times), including discussing whether extra training would be helpful. Ensure they are aware of what to do if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (following the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection)

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings also has guidance around measures to consider for those employing staff.

I employ an assistant, how do I go about ensuring they are ready to return to work?

Talk to staff about your plans (for example, safety measures, timetable changes and staggered arrival and departure times), including discussing whether extra training would be helpful. Ensure they are aware of what to do if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (following the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection)

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings also has guidance around measures to consider for those employing staff.

I am a childminder and pregnant. Should I re-open?

Pregnant women are classed as being in the clinically vulnerable group who are at higher risk of severe illness as set out in the Stay at home guidance and have been advised to take extra care in observing social distancing.  

As all childminding settings are unique you will have to do the appropriate risk assessments at your setting and make decisions that are best for your family and business.

Are providers expected to deliver Foundation Phase curriculum in the same way as prior to lockdown?

The Welsh Government understand they are asking schools and settings to work in ways which are very different to their normal practice, and to engage with different groups of learners in different ways. The Welsh Government is clear this provision will not mirror what schools and settings would offer during normal times therefore, the basic curriculum and assessment requirements for funded Foundation Phase provision in Wales has been temporarily suspended from 22 June.

Wrap around care and travel

Will wrap around childcare be able to be provided for children who are attending school or another setting?

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends children should be cared for in consistent groups of no more than 8, while adhering to NMS ratios, these are being referred to as ‘bubbles’ by some and you may hear this phrase.  

Limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus.  It is important that we continue to reduce mixing between people and groups of people.  Keeping people in small, consistent groups of adults and children which remain the same throughout the week, and separate from other groups, helps to do this and avoids creating chains of transmission. 

In returning to childcare, children should attend just one setting wherever possible, and should remain in the same small, consistent group within that setting, as far as possible.  This will help reduce the likelihood of the virus moving between groups within that one setting, or moving between groups in different settings.  

If a child attends more than one setting, for example school and wrap-around or out of school childcare, the child should remain in the same, small group across both settings wherever possible.  Mixing children from different groups, or different schools, is not consistent with the need to minimise overall levels of contact.  Parents and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus.  This will mean parents, schools and settings working together and in line with the guidance provided.

Settings are also asked to consider how they can minimise the risks of wider contacts, restricting chains of transmission.  For example childminding settings should consider how they can work with parents to agree ways to manage any necessary journeys, including pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children.

In line with the guidance you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for and on pick up and drop off from other schools and settings.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.                                                                         

Is a provider able to travel by car to drop off or pick up children from school or other settings?

The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings recommends children should be cared for in consistent groups of no more than 8, while adhering to NMS ratios, these are being referred to as ‘bubbles’ by some and you may hear this phrase.  

In returning to childcare, children should attend just one setting wherever possible, and should remain in the same small, consistent group within that setting, as far as possible.  This will help reduce the likelihood of the virus moving between groups within that one setting, or moving between groups in different settings.  

If a child attends more than one setting, for example school and wrap-around or out of school childcare, the child should remain in the same, small group across both settings wherever possible.  Mixing children from different groups, or different schools, is not consistent with the need to minimise overall levels of contact.  Parents and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus.  This will mean parents, schools and settings working together and in line with the guidance provided.

Settings are also asked to consider how they can minimise the risks of wider contacts, restricting chains of transmission.  For example childminding settings should consider how they can work with parents to agree ways to manage any necessary journeys, including pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children.

In line with the guidance  you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for and on pick up and drop off from other schools and settings.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.

You should consider:

  • Is the journey by car essential? Is walking possible?
  • How can I limit contact between children on journeys and support social distancing as far as possible?
  • Can I limit journeys to children within the same group or ‘bubble’?
  • How can I manage hygiene – for example cleaning/handwashing/sanitising before and after journeys and children using the same seat on each trip as far as possible.
  • How will I discuss and share this information with parents on my approach?
  • How will I discuss my approach with the school or setting I am dropping off or collecting from?

Welsh Government have stated 'we would recommend that any travel be kept to a minimum and only when necessary.  Travel it should be kept to within five miles where possible in line with the requirement to stay local.' 

                                                                                          

Is a provider able to take children outside of the setting (for example on walks)?

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends that children should spend as much time outdoors as possible as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between groups of children. 

Outdoor space outside a setting could be used by providers as long as the national guidance around staying local and social distancing is being followed. In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on decisions you make.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach and should be reflected in policies and procedures and shared with parents for agreement.

In relation to travelling by car Welsh Government have stated 'we would recommend that any travel be kept to a minimum and only when necessary.  Travel it should be kept to within five miles where possible in line with the requirement to stay local.'     

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.                                                                               

Social Distancing in childcare and early years settings

How can I implement social distancing in a childcare setting?

The Protective measures for childcare settings published by the Welsh Government includes information relating to social distancing in childcare settings.  This states that social distancing within childcare settings with young children will be harder to maintain than in other settings. Settings should therefore implement measures to minimise the number of contacts that children and adults have, whilst ensuring children are kept safe and well cared for. You will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach, this will be an individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position. 

Limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus.  It is important that we continue to reduce mixing between people and groups of people.  Keeping people in small, consistent groups of adults and children which remain the same throughout the week, and separate from other groups, helps to do this and avoids creating chains of transmission. 

In returning to childcare, children should attend just one setting wherever possible, and should remain in the same small, consistent group within that setting, as far as possible.  This will help reduce the likelihood of the virus moving between groups within that one setting, or moving between groups in different settings.  

Childcare staff are required to provide close contact care for small children, including toileting, nappy changing and feeding. In these situations, the Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance should be followed using aprons and gloves as necessary.  

The Welsh Government have published information relating to taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace which should be complied with for any settings that have staff members.  This includes a reference to childcare where it states 'where a service or business is responsible for looking after or working with children or vulnerable adults, it would not be reasonable to institute rigid physical distancing.  In addition, safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults must not be compromised.'   Consider carefully your approach as part of your risk assessment, policies and procedures.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

 

As a childminder, can my own family go in the areas where I am caring for children?

Members of a childminder’s immediate household are able to share the same household space, but non-household family members and friends are not able to visit the home thereby following current Government guidance.

In operating your childminding service you should aim to keep the overall levels of contact to a minimum.  If it can be avoided your family members should not be coming into contact with the children you are caring for.  Where spaces are used by other family members when the children are not present you will need to be vigilant in regard to cleaning and infection control measures and follow the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings.  This is to help protect childminders, family members and children in their care as far as possible in relation to infection prevention and control.

 

How do I manage drop offs and pick-ups at my own setting?

Welsh Government guidance is encouraging there to be reduced contact between parents and carers when dropping off and picking up their children, for example by limiting drop off and pick up to one parent or carer per family and staggering timings. Do not allow parents or carers into the setting unless this is essential, and arrange for children to be collected at the door if this is possible.

As some young children will not have been attending a setting for a number of weeks and may be feeling anxious, work with parents and carers to consider how best to manage dropping off their children while maintaining physical distancing.

Avoid the need for parents and carers to wait, but where they have to, consider whether physical distancing markings could be used.

Consider how you can use technology to communicate with parents and carers digitally, for example when providing handover information at the end of the day.

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends measures that could be taken in line with drop off and pick up.  You will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach, this will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

 

Should outdoor space in a setting be used?

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends that children should spend as much time outdoors as possible as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between groups of children. Outdoor equipment should not be used unless the setting is able to ensure it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children using it, and that multiple groups don't use it simultaneously.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

 

Should outdoor space outside a setting be used?

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends that children should spend as much time outdoors as possible as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between groups of children. 

Outdoor space outside a setting could be used by providers as long as the national guidance around staying local and social distancing is being followed. In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on decisions you make.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach and should be reflected in policies and procedures and shared with parents for agreement.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

                                                                           

 

 

Health and Hygiene

What is legionnaires' disease and what do I need to do?

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia which occurs when tiny droplets of water containing the legionella bacteria are inhaled into the lungs. This bacteria can be found in any purpose built water systems and builds up where a water supply has been shut down or had less use than normal. This will be particularly relevant to settings where no one has been on the premises or used the water system during the COVID-19 situaiton and associated lockdown.  Cwlwm have produced a factsheet on Legionnaires' Disease for childcare providers in Wales with supporting information and what needs ot be considered as part of any risk assessment.

What should happen if a child develops symptoms of Coronavirus while in a childcare setting?

Settings will need to have a clear, written procedure in place for the protection of staff and children if a child develops symptoms while at the setting. PACEY Cymru have published COVID-19 additional policy guidance for members that is helpful when writing or reviewing policies and procedures. 

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings states:

'Settings will need to have a clear, written procedure in place for the protection of staff and children if a child develops symptoms while at the setting. Their parent/carer should be called immediately and the child collected and taken home. Young sick children will need to be cared for until they are collected.

The child should be moved away from other children and cared for separately with appropriate adult supervision. If it is not possible to isolate the child, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other children. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. Disposable gloves, apron and a fluid-resistant surgical mask should be worn if the child requires personal care or close contact. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn. 

If a child needs to go to the toilet while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate toilet if possible. The areas where a person suspected of having COVID-19 has been, including toilets, must be cleaned and disinfected. Gloves and aprons should be used when cleaning the areas where a person suspected of having COVID-19 has been. See section on Decontamination and Cleaning below.

In an emergency, call 999 if the child is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Settings should follow their emergency procedures policies, but should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital where a child is displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste) themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell and where possible should change into clean clothing.

Should there be a delay in a parent collecting a symptomatic child, please contact the local environmental health officer via your local council’s website.'

Do I need to review the activities I offer in my setting to prevent children sharing resources?

The Welsh Government Protective measures for childcare settings guidance states that every setting must carry out a risk assessment to ensure children and staff are kept safe prior to reopening or expanding their provision and on a weekly basis thereafter. The assessment should directly address risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19), so that sensible measures can be put in place to control those risks for children and staff. 

Play with sand, water, plasticine/play dough and cookery and other messy play activities should be restricted and only participated in if the relevant guidance around hygiene and cleaning in the Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance can be adhered to. If this cannot be adhered to, these activities should not be undertaken. Activities should not involve contact between children. Equipment, toys and surfaces, including those across all areas of the setting such as toilets, sinks, taps and changing areas, tables and handles should be cleaned and disinfected frequently in line with Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance. Providers should consider removing soft toys and toys that are hard to clean (such as those with intricate parts). Outdoor equipment and entrance gates should also be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Where should a childcare setting obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) from and how should this be used?

The Protective measures for childcare settings guidance recommends measures in relation to the use of PPE.  This includes the following times when PPE should be used:

  • Gloves and aprons should be used when providing intimate care to a child, including hands-on care such as washing, toileting, or first aid and certain clinical procedures such as assisted feeding.
  • Fluid-resistant surgical mask and eye protection should also be worn if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes such as from coughing, spitting, or vomiting.
  • Gloves and aprons should be used when cleaning equipment or surfaces that might be contaminated with body fluids such as saliva or respiratory secretions.
  • Handwashing should always be practised before putting on and after removing PPE.

PPE should be sourced through a settings usual channels and supliers. If there are difficulties in accessing supplies we would suggest providers speak to their Local Authority childcare team in the first instance to see if there is support available.

All staff should understand how to put on/remove PPE in order to reduce the risk of onward transmission of infection. Further guidance is available in appendix 6 of the Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance.

 

 

Should face coverings be used in a childcare setting?

The Protective measures for childcare settings guidance states that:

'The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has been clear that there is no evidence to support the widespread wearing of non-medical face coverings in the community. Non-medical face coverings are only recommended where social distancing cannot be maintained. They are not a replacement for far more effective measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene.

Social distancing is not always possible in child care settings, especially with the youngest children and that is why infection prevention and control measures must be increased. No-one who may not be able to handle face coverings as directed (e.g. young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) should wear them as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.'

Settings will need to carefully risk assess and consider their approach, this will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position. Gathering the views of staff members and families may support settings in making decisions alongside published guidance.

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support around health and hygiene including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

 

How should food and drink be provided?

Childcare settings in Wales must comply with the relevant regulations and National Minimum Standards which include the provision of food and drink.

In light of the current situation you will also need to make decisions on the provision of meals and snacks taking into account the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings and other guidance including the Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Childcare Settings .

Depending on your individual position providers can provide meals and snacks in childcare settings or allow for parents/carers to provide meals or snacks for children.  This may however differ from your usual position on this following risk assessments being undertaken. 

Carry out risk assessments, talk to parents/carers and any staff you may have to discuss this and the measures that you will have to put in place in order to do so safely and within Welsh Government guidance. The Safer Food Better Business for childminders pack should be used and regularly reviewed by those providing food and drink in childminding settings.

PACEY Cymru has produced additional COVID-19 Policy Guidance to support you in the review of your policies and procedures.  You can also access further support on the PACEY re-opening toolkit page.

 

If you, or a member of your family (if you are childminding) have underlying health conditions should you be working?

Welsh Government guidance states that if you or a member of your family are vulnerable then they should be observing social distancing guidance as set out by Welsh Government guidance (see below). If you are extremely vulnerable, you should not work. Equally, if you live with someone who has a serious underlying health condition, you need to think carefully about whether opening is right for you. 

As all childminding settings are unique you will have to do the appropriate risk assessments at your setting and make decisions that are best for your family and business.

Please see the appropriate guidance below.

Vulnerable individuals are those who are at higher risk of severe illness and may have some pre-existing conditions as set out in the Stay at home guidance

An extremely vulnerable individual, as set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable guidance may include those who have had solid organ transplant, specific cancers, severe respiratory conditions, rare diseases including SCID or homozygous sickle cell, are on immunosuppression therapies or those pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

If a childminder or family member has been told, on medical advice to shield, then they should follow those guidelines.  This is advice however and in line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach. This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position.

PACEY’s insurers would expect you to follow all medical advice and if this requires shielding then not continue to work.    

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

If a child has underlying health conditions and are classed as shielding should they be using childcare?

Welsh Government Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings states that children who have been classed as shielding due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to undertake specific ‘shielding’ measures. These children have serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and are advised to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. The gudiance states that children who are shielding should not attend childcare settings at this time.

 

Critical workers and vulnerable children

What is the definition of a “vulnerable child”?

Vulnerable children include those with safeguarding needs and supported by social care, which include children with care and support or support plans, children on the child protection register and looked after children, young carers, disabled children and those with Statements of special educational needs. The most vulnerable of these should be prioritised. 

What is the definition of a ‘critical worker’ in this context?

Please see the written statement issued by the Minister for Education and the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services on 20 March.

How can families who are critical workers find childcare?

Cwlwm have produced a document to support signposting eligible families to Local Authorities.  This can be found on the Cwlwm website.

Is there funding available to support childcare for children of critical workers?

Welsh Government have announced that they will fund childcare costs for pre-school children (children aged from 0 to 5 years) of critical workers, excluding childcare provider retention fees. They will also continue to fund childcare provision for vulnerable children. The Coronavirus childcare assistance scheme (C-CAS) for under five year olds is now confirmed to run until the end of August but will close to new entrants from mid to late July (date to be confirmed).

 

How can childcare providers deliver funded childcare for children of critical workers?

Local authorities have established a process for delivery of the Coronavirus: childcare for under five year olds. Please contact your local authority or local Family Information Service to discuss further and find out more about how this is being delivered in your area.

Cwlwm have also published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

How can families check if they are eligible and access funded childcare for children of critical workers?

Welsh Government have published Coronavirus: childcare for under five year olds parents guidance .

Households where a parent is a key worker are eligible for the scheme, please refer to the Welsh Government published list of key workers. This includes workers in refuges and other supported accommodation for victims of domestic abuse. Vulnerable children are also eligible.

Local authorities have established a process for delivery of the Coronavirus: childcare for under five year olds. Parents should contact their local authority or local Family Information Service for further information. Cwlwm have produced a document to support signposting eligible families to Local Authorities.  This can be found on the Cwlwm website.

Testing

What is the testing position in Wales?

The Test Trace Protect strategy has been published by Welsh Government.  More detailed guidance has been provided on the types of critical workers who are able to request a Covid 19 test (if they have symptoms). 

Although the original critical worker list included the category – ‘Education and Childcare workers’, the childcare element of this has been expanded to:  'All workers in childcare settings (to include day nurseries, creches, childminders, play groups, Cylch Meithrin, after school clubs and holidays clubs)'.  The current policy also states that 'one symptomatic household member of a critical worker can also be tested.'

All age groups are eligible for a test under the strategy including children.

The process for accessing tests in Wales can be found here.

Welsh Government have also stated that policy outlining how antibody testing will be used in Wales will be published shortly.

What should a childminder do if they, or a household members, show symptoms or test positive for Coronavirus?

The Test Trace Protect strategy has been published by Welsh Government, this includes information on testing and what individuals need to do.  The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings has further information.

In the case of a childminder who shows symptoms of COVID-19 or whose household member(s) show symptoms of COVID-19, the childminder and their household members would need to follow self-isolation and testing guidance. This would mean the setting would need to close until the childminder and their household members are able to end their isolation in accordance with the self-isolation and testing guidance.  CIW should be notified of any temporary closures through CIW online

What should a setting do if a child in their care tests positive for Coronavirus?

The Test Trace Protect strategy has been published by Welsh Government, this includes information on testing and what individuals need to do. The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings also includes information relevant to testing and tracing.

If a child receives a test and that test is positive, they should self-isolate and parents/carers should report their symptoms. Any school or setting they attend will then be contacted by the Contact Tracing Team and advice will be given on isolation measures to be taken by individuals in line with the strategy.

What should a setting do if a staff member tests positive for Coronavirus?

The Test Trace Protect strategy has been published by Welsh Government, this includes information on testing and what individuals need to do. The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings also includes information relevant to testing and tracing.

If a staff member receives a test and that test is positive, they should self-isolate and report their symptoms. The setting they work in will then be contacted by the Contact Tracing Team and advice will be given on isolation measures to be taken by individuals in line with the strategy.

Contracts, policies and PACEY membership 

Will my insurance 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 Welsh Government guidance and Public Health Wales guidance. This guidance is evolving all the time so you should regularly review this and ensure your systems and procedures are up to date.

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

Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

What about the contracts I already have with parents/carers?

There is a range of financial support available to childcare providers to help them cope with the financial impact of Coronavirus. Given this the Welsh Government have asked that providers are reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents.

Generally, if you are unable to provide a service, you will be unable to charge normal fees.  You should check the specific terms of your contract with parents/carers to see if there is any provision that allows you to charge in these circumstances. Our view is that it is very unlikely for contracts to be specific enough for you to continue to charge for a long period of closure.

It is always possible to vary a contract with agreement. As such you could attempt to negotiate a retainer fee with parents/carers and this would allow them to retain their space in the setting once the current crisis comes to an end. Do bear in mind though that we do not know when it will end, so parents/carers may not want to agree to such an open ended commitment.

Please see question below on 'Have PACEY made any amendments to current contracts?' for further information.

PACEY members can contact the legal team for advice on individual contracts.

Why do PACEY contracts not contain a force majeure clause?

Unfortunately, these are unprecedented circumstances.  The view of our legal team is that even with a force majeure clause, it would be extremely unlikely any business could continue to charge customers for a significant period of time without providing their services. In writing our PACEY contracts, we also have to be mindful of the unfair contract terms provisions contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

There is a range of financial support available to childcare providers to help them cope with the financial impact of Coronavirus. Given this the Welsh Government have asked that providers are reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents.

You will know your business and your parents best you could follow the example of some childcare settings who are not charging but are asking parents who can afford to pay, to pay a voluntary monthly retainer fee to help you stay viable and able to open your childcare business after the pandemic. Whilst not all parents will be able to do so, some may be happy to support you in this way as they will need your childcare service in the future.

Will PACEY refund membership and public liability premiums paid whilst members cannot work as a result of being closed?

With some providers chossing or having to close in Wales, some of you have been in touch asking to freeze or cancel your PACEY insurance and/or membership. We know you will be facing financial struggles over the coming weeks and fully understand why you may want to do this. We will of course do what you request but we must ask that, if you:

  • value the support and advice we are providing you now;
  • want us to continue to push Government to provide support for self-employed childminders and for all the other settings that have had to close,
  • want us to provide the advice and guidance you will need to re-establish your childcare business after the pandemic,

then we need your continued support as a member. Without your membership subscription and insurance fee, PACEY will not have the funds it needs to continue to support you. As a charity, we receive very little grant funding from government or other funders. The majority of our income comes from the membership subscriptions; sales of insurance, training and other products and services that you and other members buy.

Later this week we will set up a new system to help us process your requests to freeze or cancel membership and/or insurance as soon as we can. But we ask you - wherever possible - to consider freezing your membership rather than cancelling it all together, especially if you plan to reopen your setting after the pandemic. If you do freeze rather than cancel, PACEY has decided to continue to provide you with access to all its digital advice and support, including our much valued legal advice service, so that you can stay connected with your sector colleagues and get all the support you need from us to manage your setting through this pandemic and reopen when we have all defeated the Coronavirus.

Cwlwm has also produced some points to consider in relation to insurance.  Please note these are for guidance only and you should contact your insurance provider for any advice on any decisions you are looking to make.

What if I am unable to provide my service because I have been advised to self-isolate?

This situation would be treated as sickness and should be dealt with in the same way as sickness is dealt with your contract with the parent/carer. Typically, this means that you won’t charge fees for the period of your sickness/self-isolation. Always check the terms of your own contract with any particular parent.

Please see question below on 'Have PACEY made any amendments to current contracts?' for further information.

PACEY members can contact the legal team for advice on individual contracts.

Have 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.

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

Digital contracts are in development in Wales and will be available soon. These single-use contracts will be for childminders in Wales and will be available to 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.  

If you have already purchased a paper version of a PACEY registered childminding contract (Wales), we now have an addendum available, free of charge, to cover enforced closures. You will need to ensure that both parties sign and date it. This addendum should be stored securely with your existing contract.

Do I need to develop new policies and procedures for COVID-19?

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. PACEY Cymru has produced additional COVID-19 Policy Guidance to support you in the review of your policies and procedures.  You can also access further support on the PACEY re-opening toolkit page.

 

What options are there in regards to paying for PACEY membership?

We have a number of ways in which you can spread the cost of paying for your membership. You can find out about the different options here - www.pacey.org.uk/COVID-payment-plan

 

If a setting is open but a child does not attend does that mean full fees apply?

This will depend on what you have agreed in your contract with parents. Remember that PACEY members have access to legal help and support for contract queries.

For Welsh Government or Local Authority funded childcare please see the section on funding below.

Financial queries and support

What financial support is available to childcare providers?

The UK Government and Welsh Government have announced a package of support for workers and businesses:

You can use this short questionnaire to help identify what your business would be eligible for from the government www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder/y

There is a range of financial support available from Government:

  • Childcare providers in Wales will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare (registered with CIW) will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April. This will happen automatically and more information can be found here.
  • Self-employed childminders can claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. More information can be found here. This grant has been extended for an additional three months. Claims for the first grant close on the 13th July.
  • For employees (including Childminding Assistants) who are not working but kept on payroll, the Government will contribute up to 80% of a worker’s wages of up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020, as part of the Coronavirus job retention scheme – as long as it fits in with government criteria. This scheme has been extended until the end of October. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. If you claim furlough for staff and your setting also receives funding to deliver entitlements, you may not be able to claim the full amount of staff salaries if that staff member is responsible for delivering entitlements. You can find out more advice on how to make this calculation here.
  • If your small to medium sized business (SME) is affected by coronavirus, you may be able to borrow between £2000 and £50,000 through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. This is also available to some self-employed people. You can check eligibility criteria here. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and for the first 12 months you will not have to pay any fees or interest, or make repayments.
  • For VAT registered businesses VAT payments for next quarter will be deferred, therefore they will not need to be paid until March 2021.
  • For those eligible working tax credit has been increased by £1,000 a year.
  • For the self-employed (including childminders) the minimum income floor will be suspended meaning Universal Credit can be accessed at a rate to match statutory sick pay (SSP).
  • Further details on support for UK businesses is available here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
  • All childcare providers in Wales with a rateable value of less than £100,000 who also receive 100% Small Business Rates Relief will receive a grant of £10,000.  See here for further information
  • The Welsh Government have published a summary of support for the childcare sector that is regularly updated.
  • Business Wales are offering business support to support providers in working out what they are eligible for.

PACEY will continue to work with Welsh Government and lobby for support for you to stay in business and be able to deliver the childcare families will need after the pandemic. We are continuing to meet regularly with the UK and Welsh Government , and we recently submitted evidence to the Treasury Committee.

I am not sure if I am eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), how can I find out?

*This grant has been extended for an additional three months. Claims for the first grant close on the 13th July.*

The Government have introduced an online tool to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim. Your tax agent or adviser can also use the online tool to check your eligibility on your behalf.

You’ll need your:

  • Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number
  • National Insurance number

If you’re eligible
HMRC will tell you the date you’ll be able to make your claim from, and ask you to add your contact details.

If you can claim straightaway you’ll also need your:

  • Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility or make your claim
  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
    • bank account number
    • sort code
    • name on the account
    • your address linked to your bank account

You’ll have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

If you’re not eligible
HMRC will use the information you or your tax agent or adviser sent us on your Self Assessment tax returns to work out your eligibility. If you submitted your returns between 26 March 2020 and 23 April 2020 check your eligibility again as the online service has been updated.

If you think you are eligible, you should first check who can claim or contact your tax agent or adviser for help.

If you still think you should be able to claim you can ask HMRC to review your eligibility.

Do I have to stop working if I am claiming the SEISS?

No, unlike furlough, claiming under the SEISS doesn’t stop you working and earning in line with government guidance but it is all taxable income.

Are employers expected to pay assistants/staff when the setting is closed?

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. You should consider taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme which will pay up to 80% of wages for employees unable to work due the coronavirus pandemic, up to £2,500 a month. An extension of the job furlough scheme was announced on 12 May until the end of October. This means it is possible to furlough rather than make an employee redundant for the next few months.  This Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is relevant to any childcare provider employing staff who has had to close their setting or is at risk of making their staff redundant due to the Coronavirus. Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing e.g. funded entitlement fees, the government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.

Once the scheme ends, you hopefully will have built your childcare business back up. If not, you may have to consider staff redundancy as one way to reduce business overheads.

If you are still delivering a service and have staff working for you, you may be able to apply for the new Business Interruption Loan to help you meet immediate expenses, for example wages bills. Read more.

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

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

For further information regarding Universal Credit please follow these links:

If I am asked to undertake a deep clean by Welsh Government or other official body due to coronavirus, will the Welsh Government pay for this?

No.  Welsh Government have confirmed in their guidance that childcare settings will be required to fund any deep cleans required

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

I employ staff, how can I use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

For employees (including Childminding Assistants) who are not working but kept on payroll, the Government will contribute up to 80% of a worker’s wages of up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020, as part of the Coronavirus job retention scheme – as long as it fits in with government criteria. This scheme has been extended until the end of October. 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. From 1 July, there is new flexibility for employers to agree any working arrangements with previously furloughed employees. There is further guidance available here. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. Further information on these changes will be published by the end of May. If you claim furlough for staff and your setting also receives funding to deliver entitlements, you may not be able to claim the full amount of staff salaries if that staff member is responsible for delivering entitlements. Find out more.

Funding

Will Childcare Offer for Wales funding be available for eligible families?

The Welsh Government has announced they will be maintaining the suspension of new applications for the Childcare Offer for Wales for a further two months, until at least the end of August.  During this period local authority delivery partners will not accept or process new applications, and no children will start their entitlement under the Offer.

A further review of the position will be carried out in August, with a view to reintroducing the Offer in September if it is viable to do so.

While the Offer remains suspended to new entrants, those children who were eligible for and accessing childcare under the Offer prior to 31 March can still do so if they remain eligible.  Where those children are in regular attendance at childcare, costs for the hours provided under the Offer will be paid.  However, where a setting is closed, or a child is no longer in regular attendance, costs will not be met.

Local Authorities will be contacting funded providers to advise them of the next steps and what they need to do in relation to C-CAS and the Childcare Offer for Wales. 

Will Flying Start funding be available for eligible families?

Welsh Government have stated 'The Children and Communities Grant (CCG) is funding Flying start planned hours for childcare up to 30 June 2020. This applies whether the setting is open or not. Further advice is to follow once Ministers have made a decision for funding beyond that date.'

Further updates will be shared once announced.                                                                                 

Will Foundation Phase funding be available for settings who deliver funded early years education?

Welsh Government have stated 'The Welsh Government Foundation Phase Nursery funding is distributed via the Revenue Support Grant (RSG).  All decisions relating to how RSG is administered are for individual local authorities.  We understand local authorities have taken different approaches with some supporting settings whether they are open or closed.'

If a setting receives Foundation Phase Nursery funding we would advise them to contact their Local Authority to seek clarification on the continuation of funding.

                                                                                            

Will the C-CAS (Childcare Assistance Scheme) be continuing for children of critical workers and vulnerable children?

The Welsh Government has confirmed that funded childcare will continue for the pre-school age children of critical workers and vulnerable children under the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme until the end of August. A further review of the position will be carried out in August. The scheme will close to new entrants on 12 July.  The Welsh Government have published information related to C-CAS and eligibility for parents/carers.

Local Authorities will be contacting funded providers to advise them of the next steps and what they need to do in relation to C-CAS and the Childcare Offer for Wales. 

 

 

Nannies

What guidance should nannies in Wales be following?

The Welsh Government have produced guidance to support nannies and their employers in relation to a number of key areas.  This can be found here

Employers of nannies may be eligible for support from the Job Retention Scheme if they meet the criteria that  is set out in the guidance.

 

 

Qualifications, training and support

My first aid certificate is due to expire what should I do?

CIW has recognised in its frequently asked questions that following the cancellation of first aid courses, first aid certificates cannot currently be renewed.  Given the circumstances, CIW expects providers to undertake the necessary first aid training when courses resume.   

Do I need to keep my child protection/Safeguarding training up-to-date?

The NMS says 'a designated member of staff has attended a child protection training course and is responsible for liaison with child protection agencies in any child protection situation (20.4)'

Whilst there is no time limit on when you need to review this, good practice is that this should be updated every three years. Whilst we rightly have focus on Covid-19 at the moment, it is important to remember that safeguarding is still a real and relevant part the job.

Our members can take the CACHE endorsed, PACEY Safeguarding course free as part of their member benefits, log in to MyPACEY to access now. Non-members can buy the same online training course for just £19.99.

Do you have training available that covers food safety and hygiene?

Yes. Our Level 2 food safety and hygiene for early years settings course is accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and will give you the guidance you need.

If you provide food in your childcare setting it's important that you have a relevant qualification. Our online course could be done now, or when you are fully operational again. It is available to buy online for £32.99, and PACEY members can access the same course for just £20.00.

Will any CPD that I do during enforced closure be valid?

Yes. In fact, this could be the ideal time for you to take undertake some form of CPD or online training. 

Our members can access a host of additional CPD resources, including our magazine, factsheets, practice guides, and online courses, in MyPACEY

Other

My car is due an MOT, what do I do about that?

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There’s separate guidance about what to do if your MOT due date is up to and including 29 March 2020.

You do not need to do anything to extend your vehicle’s MOT expiry date if it’s on or after 30 March 2020. However, you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.

Your vehicle will be automatically given a 6-month MOT exemption. This will extend your current MOT expiry date by 6 months.

My gas safety certificate is due for renewal what should I do?

Where settings are required by CIW to have a gas safety certificate (or other relevant certiciates for appliances and fitttings) these are still required to be kept up to date.   

Welsh Government state that work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople, can continue.  Both the tradesperson and household members should be well and have no symptoms of coronavirus. Please see the self-isolation guidance for more information.  Like other businesses, tradespeople must take all reasonable measures to ensure that social distancing and other appropriate safety measures are maintained at all times when working in other people’s households. Please see the guidance on reasonable measures for more information.

As a childcare setting risk assess the visit and document as necessary.  Please see the Re-opening Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Welsh Government recommend no work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where a person who is classed as extremely vulnerable is undertaking ‘shielding’ measures, unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety – for example, emergency plumbing. If a childminder or household member is shielding and needs to have a gas safety check completed we would advise them to contact CIW to discuss.

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.

The tips and advice on the NHS Every Mind Matters page are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it.

 

How can I support children's well-being at this challenging time?

The Children's Commissioner has launched a bilingual  Coronavirus information hub with information, advice, blogs and videos for children, young people and those that care for them.  It includes a resource for discussing the virus with very young children, play ideas and resources for discussing rights with young children.

 

What is the social care worker card and how do I get one?

This is a card available from Social Care Wales that identifies social care workers and confirms they are key workers in fighting the current pandemic. Early years and childcare workers who work in registered childcare or play settings are eligible for the card if they are still working.

Most of the major supermarket chains have already formally agreed to provide cardholders with priroity access at their stores in Wales and they can also be used if travelling to work to confirm key worker status.

Social Care Wales have published Frequently Asked Questions on the card.

E-mails have been sent by Social Care Wales to the responsible individuals for childcare settings that they know are still open from information sent to us by local authorities and CIW with instructions on what to do.If your setting is open and you have not received an email and wish to access a card please contact Social Care Wales.

 

I am looking for play and activity ideas during the current COVID-19 crisis can you help?

PACEY Cymru's Regional Coordinator, Holly Love, has written a blog on Adapting play in a home-based setting that has some useful ideas to consider including links to digital books.

Cwlwm has shared activities in their latest Summer enewsletter that can be used to support 'kepping in touch' with families and also used in settings where childcare is being provided.

On of our Cwlwm partners Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs has also shared with us their latest resource Playworking after COVID-19 which has great suggestions for activities.

 

At which point toddler groups, Ti a Fi and other ‘stay and play’ groups be likely to be able to reopen?

Welsh Government have stated that discussions around this are underway, particularly in relation to activities run through programmes like Families First.  However, there are a number of challenges linked to the need to maintain low levels of contact between individuals.  Further information will be shared as it is confirmed.