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.

Following the confirmation by Welsh Government that settings in Wales should be restricting access to childcare to families who are critical workers or have vulnerable children 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 contact the legal helpline for advice.

We've collated the most frequently asked questions and grouped them by theme. These FAQ relate to settings in Wales only.

Position in Wales

What is the position in Wales?

Welsh Government has confirmed that settings in Wales should be restricting access to childcare to families who are critical workers or have vulnerable children.  Read the full statement here.

What should providers do?

As a country we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can safely stay safely at home, they should.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and childcare establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to these settings, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Childcare providers, therefore, are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Not all providers will know which of the families they currently care for are included in these priority groups, but you should use the published guidance to determine whether or not the parents you work with fall into this group. 

It may take a few days for providers to talk to current parents to identify eligible children. This is an evolving situation, and you should use your judgement to do the right thing at this time, based on the latest advice from Government. We expect there to be more, local authority support in the coming days to help providers make sure that they are only opening to support these children and families.

This is recommended by Welsh Government. Do I have to limit my service to the children of critical workers or vulnerable children?

PACEY Cymru supports the recommendation by Welsh Government, in light of the changing advice in relation to social distancing, that all childcare and play settings in Wales should limit their service to the children of critical workers or vulnerable children.  A Bill that will give Welsh Government further powers around enforcing closures should be in place by the end of the month.  We highly recommend that you act in accordance with the recommendations made to date and look to limit the services you offer.

As a country we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can safely stay safely at home, they should.

People on social media are already offering unregistered childcare. What protection is in place to prevent this happening?

The government is clear that people should be staying at home and ensuring social distancing to help defeat this virus. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. Parents should do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. Children should observe the same social distancing principles as adults. Where a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a key worker, then appropriate educational or childcare provision will be available for them.

The Welsh Government and CIW are aware that these are extremely worrying times for both providers and parents. However, the health, safety and well-being of children is their first consideration and the Welsh Government continues to expect childcare to take place only within existing registered settings.

CIW will consider legal enforcement action against those who set up unregistered childcare, in line with their duties as a regulator. This is in order to keep children as safe as possible in these difficult times. 

How will the emergency legislation (Coronavirus Bill) affect the childcare sector?

The legislation being introduced covers a wide range of areas, including education. When passed, it will give the Welsh Assembly three powers that are relevant to the childcare sector:

  1. The power to instruct schools and registered childcare providers (including nurseries, childminders and providers of childcare for school-age children) to close for a period. This is the “temporary closure” power and could be used in a number of ways. For example, the instruction might be nation-wide, or focused on one area; or it might focus on one kind of childcare provider.
  2. The power to temporarily require schools and registered childcare providers (including nurseries and providers of childcare for school-age children – but NOT childminders) to change the delivery of provision. For example, they might be required to: stay open; re-open; open for different hours; or take on additional functions – such as a school making space for nursery provision. It can also be used to enable staff and children to go from one venue to another. The reason childminders are not included in this power is that as self-employed individuals, it would not be reasonable to require them to open for longer or take on additional functions.
  3. The power to temporarily disapply certain requirements in education and childcare legislation. For early years and childcare, this only applies to the duties placed on local authorities, such as the duty to ensure sufficient childcare for parents who need it. That is because other changes that may be required, such as temporary changes to the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare, can be done through secondary legislation.

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 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

 

Families and children eligible for ongoing care

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 will providers be expected to prove that a parent/carer is a critical worker?

If workers think they fall within the critical categories listed in the statement, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. Childcare providers are being asked to use their best judgement in this challenging time but you can seek advice from your local authority if you have concerns.

You can also make the decision not to provide a place where you are confident that a parent does not meet the government definition of a critical worker. If problems occur that cannot be resolved between the provider and parents, settings should speak to their local authority.

Will my PACEY PLI insurance cover me if I remain open for vulnerable children and those of critical workers?

If you have a setting which remains open because you are caring for vulnerable children or those of critical workers (as defined in the Welsh Government statement) then your insurance remains valid as you are providing childcare within the recommendations set by the government. 

If you have vacancies generated by children who have had to leave, then your insurance will cover you to fill those spaces with vulnerable children or those of key workers (as defined in the Welsh Government statement)  so long as you stay within your ratios. You must also have the necessary health information on those children and have completed child record forms and contracts as you would normally do. It would also be important to inform your local authority of the children you are caring for to support with establishing the need for childcare locally.

If only one parent or carer is a critical worker, can their child(ren) attend a setting?

In line with the Welsh Government's publication '5 things you need to know before sending your child to school or childcare' if one parent is a critical worker but the other parent is not then the other parent should provide safe alternative arrangements at home when possible.

Critical workers are having leave cancelled and expected to work 12 hour shifts – how can childcare providers cover these shift patterns?

While there are no new rules about opening hours, providers should try to be as flexible as possible for critical workers who work shifts or atypical hours.  

New legislation will give the Welsh Government and CIW to temporarily require schools and registered childcare providers (including nurseries and providers of childcare for school-age children – but not childminders) to change the delivery of provision.

For example, they might be required to: stay open; re-open; open for different hours; or take on additional functions – such as a school making space for nursery provision. It can also be used to enable staff and children to go from one venue to another. The reason childminders are not included in this power is that as self-employed individuals, it would not be reasonable to require them to open for longer or take on additional functions.

How do parents/carers who are critical workers but who do not currently use childcare, find local settings with available space?

Local Authorities are responsible for coordinating a response to the new arrangements. Working with education and childcare settings, they should use the critical worker list and the definition of vulnerable children to support childcare settings to ensure that there is sufficiency of places for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

This system will time for Local Authorities to establish so, in the meantime, providers are asked to use their judgement and local connections with other providers to support these children.

What will happen through the school holidays?

Where possible, Welsh Government encourages childcare providers and schools to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays if their parents/carers cannot safely support them to stay at home.

Choosing not to offer or use a service

Do I have to stay open for vulnerable children or those of critical workers?

No however carefully consider how you could be supporting the local need for childcare for the familes of critical workers or vulnerable children at this challenging time.

However if you are currently caring for an eligible child, but you think it is not viable to operate with just one child, you can refuse. Good practice would be to support the child’s transition to a new setting by contacting your local authority and continuing to provide care if you can for the next week at least. Local Authorities are working hard to organise provision for these children but it will take time.

If you have a need to self-isolate then you 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.

If the child of a critical worker has underlying health concerns should they come to my setting?

The government guidance states that those with underlying health conditions should follow Shielding measures. Those that need to follow shielding guidance will receive a letter, or be contacted by their GP/hospital clinician. PACEY would recommend, if in any doubt, that the child’s parent calls their GP/hospital clinician to confirm whether or not their child should stay at home.

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus. Those with an underlying health condition, including children, are at very high risk of severe illness as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) requiring admission to hospital. These individuals are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks. Find out more on the guidance for shielding.

 

If a critical worker doesn’t need childcare, do they still need to give their provider notice (as per contract), if the setting is still open?

It would depend on the terms of their contract. However the Welsh Government ask that providers are reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents. Many parents/carers working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home.  Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. The Welsh Government will not be clawing back Childcare Offer, Flying Start or Foundation Phase funding from Local Authorities during closures, or where children are withdrawn because of COVID-19.

The government has already introduced a range of measures to support businesses and workers during this period and a package of support for the self-employed. 

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

Taking on new children

If a childcare provider doesn’t have children of critical workers, can they advertise to support the children of critical workers?

Wherever possible, it is best to ensure consistency of care for vulnerable children and those of critical workers. That said this may not always be possible and new children of critical workers can be taken on. Local Authorities are responsible for coordinating a response to the new arrangements. Working with childcare settings, they should use the critical worker list and the definition of vulnerable children to support childcare settings to ensure that there is sufficiency of places for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

Local Authorities are also responsible for monitoring demand and capacity. This may involve working with childcare providers to provide places in alternative settings if necessary. If you have vacancies and would like to offer support to these children, contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

 

Financial queries and support

What about being paid and financial support? 

The Welsh Government has been clear that they are looking at financial support for registered childcare providers who have to close.  The Welsh Government understands the need to ensure- once the virus has been beaten – that families can still access the registered childcare that they need and this means doing all that they can do to support registered providers who have to close or work under restrictions to survive this challenging time. PACEY Cymru is closely working with Cwlwm partners and Welsh Government to ensure the impact on the sector is clear and will be a key partner in supporting the development of support going forward.  Cwlwm partners have also written to the First Minister for Wales outlining the concerns for the sector and the response can be read here.

PACEY has written to the Chancellor this week to voice the concerns of self-employed childminders.  Following this the Chancellor has announced support for self-employed individuals, including childminders.  Read the full detail on this here.

Aside from this a range of other sources of support have already been announced by Government and you should take time to understand what help you can already access. The Welsh Government also link to the business support available to the sector on their website.

There is huge concern that some childminders will have no income. What is being done about this?

The Government has announced a package of support for workers and businesses:

  • Childcare providers 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.
  • For employees (including Childminding Assistants) who are not working but kept on payroll, the Government will contribute 80% of a worker’s wages of up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020, as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • VAT payments for next quarter will be deferred, therefore they will not need to be paid until March 2021.
  • 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).
  • 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 push Government to support 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 Welsh Government to share the views and concerns from the sector.

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.

Are childminders expected to pay assistants when the setting is closed?

Where it is possible to furlough rather than make an employee redundant, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 20/03/2020 that Government is to pay 80% of wages for employees unable to work due the coronavirus pandemic, up to £2,500 a month.

The new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be 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. Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme.

Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are “not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll”, rather than being laid off.

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.

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

What if I decide to close my setting, even for key workers, because I am concerned about my health or my family's health?

In normal circumstances, contractually, you would be obliged to provide the childcare service for at least the agreed notice period. But these are not normal circumstances and in Wales you are being asked by Welsh Government to restirct your service to the children of critical workers or vulnerable children. 

If you have to stop providing a service you are not breaching your contract with current parents as you are following government guidance.

If you choose to close your setting to current parents who are eligible for continued childcare as they have a vulnerable child or are key workers, then technically, there is a risk of a breach of contract if you don’t provide the service. But that risk is low. Before making any claim, these parents would be under a duty to mitigate their losses i.e. they would need to find other childcare provision and that would mean that the only claim would be for a difference in fees. So for example, if a one childminder charges £100 per week and another childminder charges £110 for a week the claim would be for the difference (£10).

Given the current situation eligible parents are likely to be able to find other childcare provision for their child.

In addition, these are unprecedented circumstances. A court is likely to be understanding, especially if a childminder has been advised by the government to have very little social contact if, for example, if they have underlying health conditions and/or are in the higher risk categories advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. 

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.

My childminding business is a limited company, does this make me an employee of my business, and applicable for the Job Retention scheme?

If you are a childminder who is registered with Companies House as a limited company, then depending on your circumstances, you may be able to class yourself as an employee. A limited company is seen in law as a separate legal person, but you would need to look at all the circumstances.                                 

Three important questions would be:

• Does the childminder have a contract of employment with the limited company?

• Does that contract of employment create mutual obligations for the childminder and the limited company? I.e. is there guaranteed work and an obligation to attend work?

• Does the limited company pay the childminder through PAYE and make deductions for tax and national insurance?

If your answer is yes to all three, then it is highly likely that you would be considered an employee of the limited company.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. For more information, visit gov.uk.

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.

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

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

Self-employed people

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

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

How will I survive until June?

PACEY has been clear to Government that registered childcare providers’ sustainability depends on the support they receive over the coming weeks and months.

In addition to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:

If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

PACEY understand how much more damage to your sustainability the necessary decision to close settings to all but vulnerable children and those of key workers will have. We will continue to work with the DfE to rapidly find the best ways to reduce the negative impact of these closures.

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 need to pay staff – how can I now?

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 at https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/for-businesses-and-advisors/

If you have staff with no work to do because of COVID-19, consider furloughing them to claim 80% of their salary without making them redundant. There’s more information about this here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Is it the 18/19 tax return or the 19/20 tax return?

The 18/19 tax return that was submitted at the end of January 2020 is required. If you missed the deadline you have a further four weeks to submit it.

I have been registered for less than a year, can I qualify?

I started in January 2020 how am I impacted? // I have been open for six months, do I qualify? // I only submitted six months’ worth of tax return – is that what it would be based off?
In all of the above situations you’re unlikely to quality for the grant. 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 be able to benefit from:

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

You may also want to contact your local authority to see if there are children of critical workers or vulnerable children in need of childcare that you might be able to help.

Are childminders entitled to apply for the new Business Interruption Loan?

Any business that meets the loan criteria is entitled to apply for a Business Interruption Loan. Eligibility criteria include businesses which are UK-based in business activity; have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million; and have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic and believes will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty. Businesses from any sector can apply, except for banks and building societies; insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers); public-sector organisations, including state-funded primary and secondary schools; employer, professional, religious or political membership organisations and trade unions.

Read the full guidance and detail of how to apply here 

If two people co-childmind, but only one childminder is currently working, can the other claim Universal Credit and/or Self-Employment Income Support?

Yes, these benefits are based on your own individual earnings. There may also be other forms of support available depending on whether you are self-employed individuals or directors of the same company.

Will I qualify for support if I am still open and caring for the children of critical workers?

You are still able to qualify if you are supporting the children of critical workers or vulnerable children but on reduced earning due to COVID-19. How much this impacts on your claim will depend on your previous tax history so PACEY cannot provide advice. HMRC will contact everyone who qualifies for this support in June.

Will I qualify for support if parents/carers are still paying a retainer to keep places open?

The criteria for qualification for this help is based on your previous tax returns. The financial support you receive will depend on your previous tax history so PACEY cannot provide advice. HMRC will contact everyone who qualifies for this support in June.

If you are married and partner earns a certain amount, are you eligible still?

This depends on your personal circumstances so PACEY cannot provide advice. HMRC will contact everyone who qualifies for this support in June

Nannies

Does the recommendation to restrict childcare to children of critical workers or vulnerable children include nannies?

We have raised this query with Welsh Government and are awaiting a response.

Wrap around and holiday care

What will happen through the school holidays?

Where possible the Welsh Government encourage childcare providers and schools to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

Can childminders continue to provide wrap-around care (including school runs) for the vulnerable children and those of critical workers?

We think you need to consider the risk. Government have stated that the first aim of the partial closure measures is to reduce the overall population of children and families moving around local areas as far as possible, in order to further reduce the number of social interactions and thus flatten the upward curve of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The expectations that you do a number of pick-ups and potentially travel with other children in your care would not appear to support social distancing and minimising risk. Where possible, the parents need to consider using one childcare setting for all their care to minimise risk.

We have raised this question with Welsh Government and will update when a response is received.

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.

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 implement social distancing in a childcare setting?

The Welsh Government have published information relating to taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace which should be complied with.  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.'  Other more specific guidance for education and childcare settings issued by Welsh Government around social distancing has some other key points to consider.  Consider carefully your approach as part of your risk assessment, policies and procedures.