Guidance to Camden Schools, Nurseries and FE Colleges
Returning to nursery, childminders, school and college
All children and young people, in all year groups, will return to school and college full time from the beginning of March 2021. To manage the risks, things will be a bit different when children and young people return to education. Nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges have put in place a range of protective measures to help reduce the risks.
It is vital that children and young people return to school and college, for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. School attendance will be mandatory. Your child will be supported to return to full time attendance as soon as they can.
If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college because you consider they may have other risk factors, you should discuss these with your school or college. A small number of children and young people may be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they:
- are self-isolating
- have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves
- are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Children and young people under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school or college.
If your child is unable to attend school or college for these reasons, ask your school or college what support they can provide for remote education.
Arrange a test if you or your child develops symptoms. Inform your nursery, childminder, school or college of the results. If the test is positive, follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Secondary schools will have COVID testing kits available for staff and students available. Primary schools will have home testing kits available. Early Years settings are joined with the community testing arrangements or in the primary arrangements.
Please see below leaflets for further information and guidance about your childs return to school:
Local leaflets for your child’s return to school
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Safeguarding in Schools, Colleges and Other Providers
In March 2020, the Department for Education updated three sets of guidance on Friday including new guidance on safeguarding, which is available here. This highlights that although Keeping Children Safe in Education still applies, the following are key areas in which schools will wish to modify their safeguarding policies and practices as a result of the changes forced by COVID-19. Schools should still prioritise the safety and welfare of children and continue to make referrals to the MASH where there are concerns.
- Review School Child Protection Policies to reflect new arrangements in response to COVID-19 — keep under review as circumstances continue to evolve. An annexe or addendum is sufficient.
- Take note of any advice from the Camden Safeguarding Children Partnership.
- The DSL or their deputy must be available at all times. If a DSL isn’t available on site, schools could consider either having their trained DSL or deputy available by phone or online video, or sharing DSLs or deputies with other schools and colleges, who would be available by phone or video.
- Where a trained DSL or deputy is not on site, the department recommend a senior leader takes responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site.
- Ensure that each vulnerable child has an easily transferable record of why they are vulnerable, a copy of the EHCP and/or CIN or CP Plan, the name of their social worker and contact details.
- Schools should ensure all their staff and volunteers known “on any given day” who their available DSL or deputy is, and how to speak to them.
- DSLs or deputies who have been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy), even if they miss their refresher training.
- Where children are attending another setting schools should do “whatever they reasonably can” to provide the new school with “any relevant welfare and child protection information”.
- For LAC, changes should be led and managed by the local authority virtual school head who has responsibility for the child.
- Schools should continue to follow safe recruitment procedures to ensure any staff or volunteers are suitable to work with children.
The DfE also published updated guidance on vulnerable children and young people which is available here; it contains updated information on when and why vulnerable pupils should be at school. It also updated its guidance for schools about temporary closures available here and includes additional frequently asked questions.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update for Early Years settings — 2 September 2020
Since June nursery, childcare settings and childminders have been welcoming children back, following the easing of lockdown, as long as they can make their premises COVID-19 safe.
Many nurseries and childminders in Camden had already successfully and safely reopened — and the vast majority are now back to business as usual, with the relevant protective measures in place, from September. Read or download our poster/flyer for parents (see below for translations):
If you have any further questions about your child’s nursery place, please contact your usual nursery or children’s centre on the numbers below where staff will be happy to advise you.
- Regents Park Children’s Centre: 020 7974 8934
- Harmood Children’s Centre: 020 7974 8961
- Agar Children’s Centre: 020 7974 4789
- Langtry Nursery: 020 7974 3252
- Gospel Oak Nursery: 020 7974 3484
- 1A Children’s Centre: 020 7974 7038
- Konstam Nursery: 020 7974 3721
- Hampden Nursery: 020 7974 2841
Kilburn Grange Children’s Centre remains closed due to building works but is due to reopen for a range of Sure Start services early in the autumn.
If you use a childminder, they should have been in touch with you directly.
Round-up of guidance / updates to guidance for early years, schools and other educational settings
- The DfE has updated their statutory guidance for schools and childcare providers on the early years foundation stage (EYFS) to provide clarification on the progress checks for children aged 2. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak it is not expected for providers to undertake this check, but providers should look out for any emerging concerns about any child in their care and endeavour to provide or seek additional support if needed. The guidance can be found here
- Ofsted has updated their guidance on the regulation and inspection of early years providers as they return to providing care for all children. During this period, Ofsted will not be doing routine inspections, which report on the quality of education that children in the EYFS receive while attending an early years or childcare provider. They will, however, continue to take action against providers and intervene when there is evidence that they are not meeting any of the other requirements that continue to apply. The guidance can be found here
- The DfE has updated their information for parents and carers about the wider opening of education settings to include details about opening secondary schools to years 10 and year 12 pupils from 15 June and to provide links to guidance on safer travel. The guidance can be found here
All DfE coronavirus guidance for educational settings can be found in one place on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings
Schools and safeguarding: COVID–19 contingency plan
Schools play a vital role in all aspects of safeguarding and therefore it is important to maintain this communication and liaison to the highest extent possible, despite the obvious challenges.
Consequently, practice will continue to uphold the values of London Child Protection Procedures whilst following a different course in terms of process where usual approaches are no longer practicable.
In this context, schools are requested to adhere to the following principles:
Strategy Discussions and Section 47 Enquiries
- Where strategy discussions and child protection enquiries are undertaken on new cases, information shared by schools is particularly valuable, partly as the families concerned may not be previously known to Children’s Social Care
- School knowledge is also important where strategy discussions and child protection enquiries are undertaken on cases that are already open to Children’s Social Care
- Therefore, schools are requested to be available for dial in conversations to assist the assessment of risk
- The DSL should be the primary point of contact for Children’s Social Care, but a list of back up options from each school is also needed, given the unpredictability of who and when individuals may be impacted by COVID-19
Child Protection Conferences and Core Group Meetings
- Every effort will be made to continue to hold initial and review child protection conferences in the usual way where this is possible for the chair and participants concerned
- Where this is not possible, conferences will no longer be a single meeting but will be a series of meetings or discussions running over a period of no more than two working days
- Reports from each agency remain a requirement and should be emailed to CSF-SSCNorthCP@camden.gov.uk 48 hours in advance of an initial or pre-birth and five working days in advance of a review
- Reports must make clear whether the agency assesses the child to be at on-going risk of significant harm, whether a child protection plan (or other plan) is needed and what should be included in the plan
- The chair of the conference will read all reports and speak with involved professionals by phone/skype where necessary.
- The DSL should be the primary point of contact for this purpose, but a list of back up options from each school is also needed, given the unpredictability of who and when individuals may be impacted by COVID-19
- The chair will call parents/carers/young people to seek their views
- At the end of the conference process, the chair will define the content of the harm and safety statement, make a decision as to whether a child protection plan (or other plan) is needed, and draw up an outline plan where required
- The chair will share the decision and recommendations directly with the family by telephone or, if this is not possible, by email
- The chair will ensure that members of the professional network are updated
- Core group meetings are governed by the same principles i.e. where it is not possible to convene a face to face meeting, a ‘virtual’ meeting should take place instead
If school staff have any queries regarding the above contingency plan, then please contact one of the following Heads of Service:
LADO — Child Protection Conferences, Looked After Children Reviews — Sophie Kershaw
020 7974 3828
Looked After Children — Sally Joseph
020 7974 6798
Children in Need — Michelle O’Regan
020 7974 1905
Children and Young People Disability Service — Crina Popa
020 7974 4867
Virtual School — Natalie White
020 7974 2359
These measures will remain in place and may be reviewed in the eventuality of further change, until it is determined that the COVID-19 crisis is over and normal business can be resumed.