Guidance

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

What childcare services early years settings, childminders and local authorities need to provide during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Documents

Details

National restrictions are in place until 2 December. Read how the national restrictions affect this guidance.

This guidance is for providers registered with Ofsted and childminders registered with childminder agencies for children of all ages, including:

  • nurseries and wraparound childcare
  • before and after school clubs
  • holiday clubs

This guidance does not cover nannies or au pairs.

We will update this guidance as further information becomes available.

DfE coronavirus helpline

If you have a query about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to schools and other educational establishments, and children's social care, in England contact our helpline.

Helpline opening hours
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

If you work in a school or college, have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the helpline.

Published 24 March 2020
Last updated 26 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to address changes for the exit from National Restrictions on 2 December. New and updated guidance on managing safety in settings and staffing, 30 hour entitlements and information on business support. A full list of updates is included at the beginning of the guidance document.

  2. Added links to new national restrictions guidance.

  3. On 16 October 2020 - amended information on local COVID alert levels and tiers of restriction (section 3), staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (section 3), children who are shielding (section 4) and informal childcare (section 5).

  4. Amended information on local COVID alert levels and tiers of restriction (section 3), staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (section 3), and children who are shielding (section 4).

  5. Added new content on face coverings, toothbrushing, local lockdowns, music, dance and drama, pregnant women, visitors, visits, informal childcare, EYFS disapplications, supporting wellbeing, SEND legislation, journeys, dual settings, reopening of building emergency first aid, Job retention Bonus Scheme. Updated information on funding to align with other funding guidance, employer health and safety and equalities duties, shielding and safeguarding, managing COVID-19 cases.

  6. Updated the section on managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and what to do if a child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  7. Added updated version of 'What to do if a child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)'.

  8. Added 'What to do if a child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)'.

  9. Updated to reflect changes in legislation to the 30 hours free entitlement and information on the validity of Paediatric First-Aid certificates.

  10. Updated to reflect that early years settings can return to normal group sizes. Includes content from the Planning guide so that all information is in one place from now on and the Planning guide is deleted. Guidance also includes updated information about autumn funding, wraparound care, managing requests for site visits for new admissions in September, data collection changes and reporting to Ofsted.

  11. Updated to set out a change to the protective measures in early years settings that will be effective from 20 July, removing the requirement to keep children in small consistent groups within settings (sections 2.1 and 3.3). Added new content on risk assessment (3.1), supporting staff with increased risk factors (3.2) and system of controls (3.3). Updated content on attendance at settings for those shielding, with changes to the advice effective from 1 August, and removal of content on vulnerable children since settings are open for all children (section 4). Updated content on wraparound care (5.3). Updated Early Years Foundation Stage reforms (7.6) and Reception Baseline Assessment (7.7).

  12. Updated to reflect that early years providers are now able to open for all children and to provide additional information on protective measures.

  13. We have added a clarification on the requirement for providers to carry the appropriate insurance (for example, public liability insurance) to cover all premises from which they provide childcare or childminding.

  14. Guidance updated to include a restructure of the document in line with wider opening, updated content on funding including in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority and insurance, updated content on infection prevention and control, a new section on attendance, new information on the use of community centres and before and after school clubs, a new section of safeguarding and welfare including provisions for children with SEND and a clarification on paediatric first aid certificates.

  15. Updated guidance including adding a new section clarifying the position on welcoming back all children to early years settings from 1 June, information on when childminders can reopen to more children, and what provision they can currently provide, information on testing for essential workers, and information for parents on temporary changes to the 30 hours free early education entitlements.

  16. Update to reflect changes in Early Years Statutory Framework.

  17. Updated guidance on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

  18. Updated introductory sections and sections on Who this guidance is for, Prioritising children, Funding, Staying open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, Early Years Foundation Stage and Holidays.

  19. Updated to clarify the income support available and the requirements for providing safe, quality care for vulnerable and critical workers’ children.

  20. First published.