Following the Government announcement relating to a staggered return for secondary schools in January, the Department for Education (DfE) can confirm that there is no change for early years settings. Early years registered settings can remain open or re-open as usual in the New Year. Details of the announcement can be found here.
The announcement includes the application of the contingency framework for education in areas of the country with very high rates of incidence or transmission of the virus. In areas where the contingency framework applies, early years settings continue to remain open for all children.
The framework includes the option to move primary schools, including reception year, to remote education should rates of incidence or transmission of the virus in a local area require it, but this will be an exceptional decision.
Where primary schools are open only to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, there is discretion for school-based nurseries in primary schools to follow the arrangements for the primary school and delay re-opening, or to open as usual on 4 January. All non-reception early years settings (nurseries not part of primary schools, maintained nursery schools and childminders for early years children etc.) should continue to open or re-open as usual. Wraparound care for school-aged children should only open for children who are eligible for on-site school attendance.
The full details including list of areas where the contingency framework applies can be found here.
The early years guidance on pregnant women has also been updated in line with Public Health England advice. The latest guidance can be found here.
The Foundation Years COVID-19 resources hub has been updated to include the latest information and guidance, in addition to hosting a variety of resources to support early years settings during the COVID-19 outbreak.