Burford Preschool C.I.C and Safeguarding children during COVID-19/ infectious diseases
(updated April 2022)
Burford Preschool C.I.C will aim to remain open to vulnerable children and funded children in age order, if there is a shortage of staff following a coronavirus outbreak or other infectious illness outbreak.  

If our staff tests positive for coronavirus or have an infectious illness, they will remain at home until they feel well enough to return to work or as stated by Public Health England or any Employment Guidance which applies at the time.  We do have a duty to take care of staff health and welfare and therefore staff are not encouraged to return to work unless they feel they are fully fit to carry out their Preschool duties.  

Parents will be informed as soon as possible if changes are to be made to children's attendance, if ratio's cannot be maintained.

If the Preschool has to operate with limited staff, the EYFS requirements will continued to be followed as closely as possible, particularly the safeguarding and welfare requirements that will help us to keep children safe and well.

We will always operate with:

  • A manager who is qualified and able to take charge of the setting
  • A named Designated Person for Safeguarding
  • At least one person with a paediatric first aid certificate.

We will:

  • keep our routines the same as usual, with a variety of activities and toys available throughout the sessions.  
  • continue to take the children into our freeflow area during the day.
  • continue to maintain good hygiene practice, following the advice of Public Health England as necessary.

If we have a confirmed case of coronavirus or other infectious illness in our group of prioritised places, we will:

  • Inform parents immediately.
  • Inform Ofsted (if guidance dictates this)
  • If our setting has to close on the advice of Public Health England or Shropshire Council, we will inform Ofsted as per the EYFS (3.78).

To help everyone in our setting we will ensure all staff and children:

  1. wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds frequently.  Staff will help those children that need help to do this.  
  2. are encouraged not to touch their faces
  3. use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste

To help ensure that the risk of virus or illness spread for both staff and children is as low as possible we clean all surfaces and toys during the day and at the end of each day.  

Safeguarding vulnerable children during  a covid outbreak or during an period of infectious illness:

We understand that some families need more support than others and that attending education settings is an important protective factor for children receiving support from the local authority /a social worker.

There is an expectation that vulnerable children who are receiving support from the local authority /a social worker will attend their education setting, so long as they do not have underlying health conditions that put them at severe risk. In circumstances where a parent does not want to bring their child to our education setting, and their child is considered vulnerable, we will work with the local authority /social worker to explore the reasons for this, directly with the parent.

Where parents are concerned about the risk of the child contracting any virus or illness, we will discuss these anxieties with the parent following the advice set out by Public Health England / Government.

We will work with social workers agreeing with families whether children in need should be attending our education provision – and we will then follow up on any pupil that does not attend. Burford Preschool C.I.C will also follow up with any parent or carer who has arranged care for their child(ren) and the child(ren) subsequently do not attend. We would take this opportunity when communicating with parents and carers to confirm emergency contact numbers are correct and ask for any additional emergency contact numbers where they are available. In all circumstances where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school, or discontinues, we will notify their social worker.

Many children with EHC plans can safely remain at home during covid or if there is an infectious illness. We will consider the needs of all children with an EHC plan, alongside the views of their parents, and make a risk assessment for each child. We will work with the relevant Local authorities to decide together who is best placed to undertake the risk assessment, noting that the duty to ensure provision remains with the local authority.

We will consider a number of different risks to each individual, including:

  • the potential health risks to the individual from COVID-19/ infectious illnesss, bearing in mind any underlying health conditions. This must be on an individual basis with advice from an appropriate health professional where required
  • the risk to the individual if some or all elements of their EHC plan cannot be delivered at all, and the risk if they cannot be delivered in the normal manner or in the usual setting
  • the ability of the individual’s parents or home to ensure their health and care needs can be met safely
  • the potential impact to the individual’s wellbeing of changes to routine or the way in which provision is delivered.

We know that this is a worrying time for parents and for staff working with children with complex needs. It is important that decisions are made based on risk assessments – for both the child and our setting – and are informed by the latest public health and medical advice and guidance available. With the latest up-dates and support from government guidance and local partner agencies, we are well-placed to make judgements about what is needed in the settings.

Ensuring that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for Burford Preschool C.I.C and the government. Local authorities have the key day-to-day responsibility for delivery of children’s social care.