Essential Policies & Procedures for the EYFS
The principles of the policy and procedure templates remain. However, some key changes will be needed for settings open during the current pandemic. These are listed as follows, for providers to insert into their policies and procedures accordingly.
1.2 Safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults
All staff remain alert to any signs that during the current COVID-19 outbreak a child in their care is suffering from or likely to be suffering from harm. This include signs of neglect that may be caused by extraordinary circumstances due to measures to curb the spread of the virus.
2.2 Student placement – Suspended
4.1 The role of the key person and settling-in
During the COVID-19 outbreak it is likely that some children will not have their usual key person. Where this is the case, the principles of the key person role are followed as closely as possible.
Any temporary staff must be trained to proficiently and safely administer medication and medical procedures for individual children. They must also adhere to the guidelines and procedures on caring for the individual needs of children with SEND, as detailed in their Health Care Plans. 8.4a Prioritised Place Risk Assessment should be used to identify any risks that may be incurred due to a change in key person for such children.
5.1 Staffing (group/chidminder provision)
During the COVID-19 outbreak, staff will be deployed as per the government guidance. A risk assessment for working with prioritised places is included (8.4a). Relaxation of the rules on ratios may be implemented only in exceptional circumstances, and only during the COVID-19 outbreak period. Any relaxation of ratios must be based on a risk assessment approach and with the authorisation of the manager. Otherwise the following procedure applies.
During the COVID-19 outbreak early years staff are themselves considered to be ‘key workers’. If staff cannot source care for their own children then they are able to bring their child to the setting, ensuring that as far as possible, they adhere to the criteria below and ensure they are not breaching conditions of their insurance provider:
- where members of staff have their own children with them at the setting, the age of the child must fall within the stipulated ages of the setting’s Ofsted registration
- where members of staff are likely to be working directly with their own children, this is subject to discussion before commencement with their line manager
6.2 Managing children who are sick, infectious, or with allergies
During the COVID-19 outbreak, any child showing symptoms, such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; loss or taste or smell, the following sequence of actions need to be taken:
- Child presents with symptoms; parents are requested to collect child and seek diagnosis from GP or take further advice from NHS 111.
- Child’s parents are requested to inform setting of outcome/diagnosis and keep child at home for the recommended exclusion period. For cases of suspected Coronavirus, staff and service users must adhere to current Government advice regarding self-exclusion even if no symptoms are present.
- For confirmed cases of a notifiable disease and Coronavirus the setting must contact their local Health Protection Team (HPT) as soon as possible for further guidance. The line manager will inform the owner/trustees/directors and retain a confidential record.
- Acting on the advice of the local HPT, the setting will either:
- close for a set period and undertake a deep clean
- carry on as usual but also undertake a deep clean
- If a notifiable disease is confirmed, staff must inform the line manager immediately and Ofsted must be informed within 14 days. Cases of confirmed Coronavirus should be treated as a notifiable disease.
- A deep clean is undertaken at the soonest opportunity following any illness outbreak. Hand hygiene messages are reinforced and staff are vigilant to any further signs of infection.
- The manager continues to liaise with the HPT as required and keeps a full record of children affected, how long they are away from the setting and the date on which they return.
6.5 Food and drink
Where food is provided, in circumstances where there is shortage of food supplies, it may be necessary to ask parents to supply a packed lunch. The following procedures must be followed:
- Babies and toddlers’ hands are washed prior to being given food or drink.
- Staff who are eating with the children must role-model hygiene best practice.
- Tables are never overcrowded during mealtimes. Some social distancing is encouraged even though it is acknowledged that children will play in close proximity for the rest of the session.
7.1 Promoting Positive Behaviour
This is an unsettling time for young children. Practitioners are alert to the emotional well-being of children who may be affected by the disruption to their normal routine. Where a child’s behaviour gives cause for concern, practitioners take into consideration the many factors that may be affecting them. This is done in partnership with the child’s parents/carers and the principles of this procedure are adhered to.
8.3 Supervision of children on outings and visits – Suspended
During the outbreak, trips and outings are suspended. Children should still have access to outdoor play and learning opportunities as normal, as long as social distancing measures are followed.
8.3 Risk assessment
8.4a Prioritised Place Risk Assessment is provided as a new download, for managing prioritised places, ensuring the safety and well-being of every child is paramount. The form can be used for groups or for individual children who may be vulnerable.
8.6 Animals in the setting
As the setting may have to close at short notice at any time during the crisis, alternative arrangements are in place for any pets and animals that currently inhabit the setting. New animals or pets will not be taken on during the COVID-19 outbreak.
10.7 Provider records
During the COVID-19 outbreak there may be the need to keep additional records as part of outbreak management.
A central record of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 that affect any member of staff or service user is held. This record does not contain personal details about the individual (unless for a member of staff). Records are kept of individual cases of children/families who are self-isolating due to symptoms. In all cases the principles of data protection are maintained.
Further guidance on COVID-19 related matters, can be found at www.eyalliance.org.uk/coronavirus-early-years.