Mar 12, 2020

Coronavirus

At all of our nurseries, the safety and welfare of all children, staff and parents is paramount.

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Supporting your nursery

The Government has u-turned spectacularly on its support to the Early Years sector and announced on Friday night a retrospective change to how many staff we can furlough. This leaves the whole sector in a financial crisis. If you have 2 minutes please would you show your support to nurseries in general and follow this link to contact your MP?


Coronavirus: FAQs

We have put together a list of frequently asked questions or potential questions below and our answers to those. If you have further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us, but please bear with us whilst we try to manage our responses at this challenging time.

Questions relating to vulnerable children

1: What constitutes a vulnerable child?

On Friday 20th March 2020, the government provided guidelines defining those children that are classed as vulnerable. Vulnerable children include:

  • Those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including children that need support with behaviour management
  • Those with English as an additional language
  • Those in receipt of 2 year of EYPP funding
  • Those with parents in the armed forces
  • Those where court orders or restricted access arrangements are in place
  • Those that are, or who have previously, been looked after by the local authority or whoa re known to Social Services

This is not an extensive list, so if you have any questions regarding vulnerable children, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.

Questions relating to open nurseries

2: I am not currently a parent at one of your nurseries. Can my child come to one of your nurseries?

As you can understand, we are currently prioritising our current families. However, please contact your local Old Station Nursery setting and we will do our upmost to provide care to your child.

3: Are all nurseries within the group open?

As of the 8th June, all of our nurseries are open with the exception of Sandhills Alvechurch and our before and after school club at Watlington School (WASPS). We will continue to open wherever we can, so please check first with the nursery manager.

4: Who are the open nurseries to be open to?

Where we are able to open nurseries, we are now open to both key worker and non-key worker families. Where possible, we warmly welcome new children. Please contact the nursery that you are interested in directly to see if they have any available places.

5: What time and when can my child attend nursery?

If the nursery is open, normal operating times will resume. In order to comply with social distancing, we may be required to operate a one in one out system. We will communicate any changes to you directly.

6: What if the nursery must close?

Should there be a need to close, we will contact you in the usual way. In the event of a full nursery closure, we will take advice from both the Local Authority and Public Health England.

In these unprecedented times we rely on our team members being fit and well also. Many of our team members rely on schools being open to provide care for their families. At this time, we remain well staffed and are able to meet the needs of our families. If we reach the maximum number of children in a bubble and have no more staff to bring back to work, we will be unable to take more families

Questions relating to fees

7: If I am not sending my child into nursery, will I be charged fees for June?

No – charges are in place for June only for those that use the nursery.

8: My nursery is reopening at the beginning of June. Will I need to pay if I do not utilise my usual sessions?

Charges are in place for June, only for those that use the nursery. Normal terms and conditions will resume on 1st July 2020.

9: We would like to change our sessions due to the change in our circumstances.

Please give notice by emailing the nursery and we can make the changes ahead of your return.

10: If my child becomes symptomatic or has a confirmed case of coronavirus, will charges apply?

Normal terms and conditions apply once the child is back at nursery. Fees are payable when children are unwell.

The current government guidance recommends that a child with a high temperature does not attend a nursery setting. We ask for the child to isolate following a temperature, persistent cough, loss of taste and/or smell for the government specified time. The child can return to nursery following a negative test. Children attending nursery are eligible for testing.

Please refer to current government documents for isolation guidance.

11: Will I be required to pay if my child and family have to isolate without symptoms?

No charge will be made to a family who isolates without symptoms on our request following a confirmed case of Coronavirus within the class bubble. If the child or family member is symptomatic or has a confirmed case of Coronavirus normal charges apply in line with our sickness and absence terms.

12: I currently pay part of my fees using Childcare Vouchers or an alternative method of tax-free childcare (TFC). I am not currently sending my child to nursery for childcare. Should I cancel my vouchers or TFC?

We would ask that you continue to send in your Childcare Vouchers/TFC, even if your child does not continue to attend the nursery during the period of closure, to support your nursery during this period. Any payments received by us will be credited to your account and used when we are allowed to fully reopen.

13: I currently receive funding for my childcare. Will I still receive the Early Years Funding?

We are currently working with Local Authorities regarding this and nurseries will be updated as soon as we receive further guidance. However, all indications we have received are that Early Years funding entitlements will continue as normal.

14: I am struggling to pay my nursery fees due to the impact of coronavirus. What can I do?

Our main priorities are to support our families and dedicated nursery staff through what may be challenging financial times ahead. If you are struggling to meet your nursery fees, please talk to us so we can try and find a solution together.

NB: Please agree the required sessions with the Nursery Manager ahead of your required return date. We can then ensure you are billed accordingly. 

Questions relating to health and safety

15: Is it safe for my child to return to nursery?

We are utilising the government guidance to ensure measures are in place for return. We have developed a nursery specific Covid-19 risk assessment. We also have Site Operating Procedures providing specific guidance to our team. We have increased our supply of personal protective equipment. We are also monitoring information shared by settings that remained open to key worker families.

16: What additional measures have you put in place for the children and team members?

  • Hand washing more frequently
  • Hand sanitiser gels are available throughout the nursery
  • We have increased our cleaning routines to include more regular cleaning of frequent touch points
  • 2 metre markers on entry to the nursery to ensure social distancing
  • Drop off and collection from the nursery entrance
  • We are asking only one member of each family to accompany a child at drop off and collection
  • Additional signage to reiterate the measures that are in place
  • Masks and Visors available at each nursery for use if a a child becomes symptomatic
  • Contactless thermometers in each nursery
  • Children will remain in their small group (bubble) for the duration of the day
  • Only one group of children in the garden at any one time
  • Team members will change into their uniform on arrival to the nursery and change again before they leave. Uniform is washed daily
  • Children’s bedding is laundered daily

17: What happens if another child in my child’s group has a confirmed case of coronavirus? 

The government guidance recommends that all children and team members in the group must isolate for 14 days. We will contact all families affected in this case.

18: How do you plan to support my child’s progress during these times?

We will continue to observe children and plan according to their individual needs. It is vital that we help the children to settle back in following this period of absence. We will ensure that our team support children’s’ progress ready for resetting their next steps. The learning environment will be set up to ensure children can enjoy a rich learning experience.

19: How will I know that all children being cared for are well?

We will ask you each day if your child is free of a temperature or cough and that they are presenting as they usually would. We ask that all families update us if there is any member of the household isolating as a result of Coronavirus symptoms or exposure to someone with the Coronavirus.

If any member of your household is isolating we ask that you remain away from the nursery until the period of isolation has ended. Please follow the latest Government guidance in order for us to keep staff, children and families safe and be assured that all children are well. Please do contact us if a member of the household is symptomatic or has a confirmed case of Coronavirus so that we can take action as required.

If we are concerned about the temperature of a child in the nursery, we have contactless thermometers for use. If your child develops a high temperature or a new continuous cough, we will contact you immediately to come and collect your child. Please also look out for a loss of taste or smell.

On return to the nursery following your child’s absence due to our period of closure, we are asking you to complete paperwork to reconfirm contact details and agree to the procedures we have in place to keep everyone safe; this will be emailed to you for completion ahead of your child’s return.

20: What happens if a child has to go home with a cough or high temperature?

If a child becomes symptomatic, we will contact the family and ask for the child to be collected. We will at this time utilise Personal Protective Equipment. A member of the team from the same bubble will isolate with the child in an area away from the rest of the group.

On collection a test should be arranged for the child. We will commence a deep clean of the isolation area and the bubble room also. If the child tests positive, we will inform all members of the bubble who should then follow government guidance and isolate for 14 days. We will also contact Public Health England and follow their guidance. If the child tests negative, then no team members or children need to isolate unless they develop symptoms.

21: How do I know the nursery is clean?

The nursery is being cleaned throughout the whole day. Antibacterial gel is available in all rooms and by the entrance to the nursery. Antibacterial spray/wipes are used throughout the day on all high frequency touch points. The nursery is cleaned at the end of each day also. Soft furnishings have been removed as these are harder to keep clean. The use of malleable play materials such as sand and playdough have been removed at this time. Children will also not self-serve meals as they usually would. A member of staff will serve all meals in order to prevent the spread of any virus.

22: What is the latest guidance on social distancing?

Children under 5 years of age are not expected to social distance. We will reinforce messages through stories and activities to help children in an age appropriate way understand how to stay safe. We always expect adults in the setting to adhere to social distancing ensuring they are 2 metres apart. We have a site operating plan in place to ensure our team commit to the Government recommendations where possible both in and outside of the nursery.

23: Will you apply sun cream throughout the day?

Yes, we will apply cream before children are exposed to the sun.

24: Will my child be with their usual nursery group?

We are following Government guidance to ensure children are grouped in ‘bubbles’ and that they remain in the same bubble for the duration of their week. Additional children will be added to the group up to a maximum of 16. Bubbles may change. All children will be grouped according to their age and stage although we may need to have a larger age bracket in order to staff the bubble.

25: Will my child be with their usual key worker?

We cannot guarantee that the usual key worker will be with your child but there are always familiar team members with them. The children will remain in the allocated room for the duration of the day, they will of course use the garden and outdoor areas, but they will not intermingle with other groups in the nursery. Some staff members remain furloughed and some continue to shield.

26: Can I come into the nursery when dropping off and collecting? 

At this time, we have a system in place for dropping off and collecting from the front door of the nursery, by having this process we reduce the footfall into the nursery and as a result minimise the further potential spread of additional germs.

27: Can I take my child’s bag home daily?

We ask, where possible, for the bag to remain at nursery, this is to prevent the transfer of germs between home and nursery.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated on 11/09/20

COVID-19 Related Child Absence – Quick Reference Guide

Downloadable here.

Parent Letter

Dear Parents,

Firstly, thank you for your ongoing support and for trusting us with your very precious children. It has been so good to see them all settling back into nursery life so well and we have got over the initial shock of seeing how much they had all grown during lockdown!

We have now been open in most of our sites for at least 3 months and have mercifully seen only one positive test to date. However, there have been many cases across early years providers, in all cases with no adverse effects for staff or children, other than considerable disruption.  Now is most definitely the time to be more vigilant than ever.

Most transmissions to date have been adult to adult, not child to adult, so we accept that children cannot socially distance, but we continue to support our staff to do so as much as possible within each nursery.  From Monday 14th September we will be asking all parents to wear a face covering during handover/drop-off, to protect our teams.

The Government guidance was most recently updated last week (see full details here) and there has been a change to the definition of ‘close contact’ which means that there is no longer any limit on the time which you can be near someone who has the virus, and you will be required to self-isolate if they have a positive test. Public Health England also do not count PPE (including face coverings) when asking you to self-isolate.

We need to ensure that we have an open and honest relationship with all parents and encourage you to share information about concerns you may have and any testing which your family may be taking.  Please let us know as soon as possible if you or a member of your immediate family takes a test.

We know how important our role is with young children and what a major role we can play in allowing you to carry on with work and life in general.  The next few months seem set to be challenging for us all, but please continue to let us know if anything in particular is bothering you and we will try to ensure that we let you know promptly about any updates or changes to the guidance. We attach a form which we hope will provide some useful information; if you have any questions, please speak to your Nursery Manager.

Best wishes,

Sarah

Sarah Steel, CEO

Updated on 05/06/20

We are delighted to confirm that our Sandhills Wombourne and Sandhills Wolverhampton Nurseries will reopen to families on Monday 8th June. If you have not yet confirmed your need for sessions, please contact the nursery directly in order for us to confirm availability.

We are extremely thankful for all your continued support over the past few months. We can’t wait to see you all back in nursery soon.

Updated on 29/05/20

We are delighted to confirm that, following the PMs announcement yesterday evening, the following nurseries will reopen to all families on Tuesday 2nd June: Bampton, Sandhills Boston, Faringdon, Filkins, Henley, Heyford, Houlton, Innsworth, Iver, Mottershead Drive, Small Friends and Uxbridge. If you have not yet confirmed your need for sessions, please contact the nursery directly in order for us to confirm availability.

We currently have teams already operating for key worker children at Oxford Science Park, Sandhills Heath Mill and Sandhills Barnt Green (which also incorporates children from Sandhills Alvechurch, Sandhills Wombourne and Sandhills Wolverhampton). We are very pleased to confirm that these nurseries will be open to all families from Monday 1st June. Again, if you have not yet confirmed your need for sessions, please contact the nursery directly in order for us to confirm availability.

We are extremely thankful for all your continued support over the past few months. We can’t wait to see you all back in nursery soon.

Updated on 26/05/20

We are pleased to provide an update in regards to the reopening of our nurseries.

For children of keyworker families, we currently have teams operating at Oxford Science Park, Sandhills Heath Mill and Sandhills Barnt Green, which also incorporates children from Sandhills Wombourne, Sandhills Wolverhampton and Sandhills Alvechurch. Subject to confirmation on the 28th May from the government, these nurseries will be open to children from non-key worker families on Monday 1st June. Please contact the nursery ahead of this date to confirm your place.

Pending the final government approval, which is expected on 28th May, we expect the following nurseries to reopen to all children: Bampton, Sandhills Boston, Faringdon, Filkins, Henley, Heyford, Houlton, Innsworth, Small Friends and Uxbridge. These nurseries will reopen to families on Tuesday 2nd June. Please confirm your sessions with the nursery directly.

We will bring back team members on Monday 1st June to ensure that everyone has the updated information in order to provide safe systems of work and care. The safety of the children, families and staff remain our greatest priority and we will continue to update our procedures in line with the government guidance.

From the nurseries which we aim to reopen on Tuesday 2nd June, Innsworth and Uxbridge will operate as ‘hubs’ for neighbouring nurseries. Staff from the ‘hub’ nurseries as well as neighbouring nurseries will be working together in order to provide familiar faces to all children and families. Innsworth will open as a ‘hub’ for Mottershead Drive and Iver will join Uxbridge. If you would like to a book a place at one of our ‘hub’ sites, please contact us and we can arrange this for you.

As this is an ever-changing time, we will provide further detail on how our operational plans may change if the scientific data impacts the government decision due to be announced on the 28th May.  

We acknowledge that there will be some families who at this time do not require their child to return to nursery and, as such, no invoices will be raised for families who do not return in June.

We look forward to welcoming your family back into our nursery in the near future.

Updated on 15/05/20

Barnt Green Nursery reopens to keyworker children on Tuesday 19th May

We are delighted to confirm that due to increased demand from keyworker families, we will be opening our doors at our Barnt Green Nursery. Due to the nursery’s proximity, children from Alvechurch Nursery will also be welcomed at Barnt Green. The Nursery will open at 7:30am on Tuesday morning.

Please note that at this time under government guidelines, we are only able to open to keyworker families who are not able to work from home.

If you are a keyworker and require care for your children at our Barnt Green Nursery please contact us and let us know your requirements: Barnt Green barntgreen@sandhillsnursery.com Alvechurch: alvechurch@sandhillsnursery.com

We are keeping in touch with families across all nurseries. Please do let us know if you require care from 1st June by contacting your nursery directly via email.

We are working with team members from both sites to ensure we are ready for you on Tuesday. We have listened to what you need and taken account of the latest government guidelines to ensure the safety of the children and their families and that of our incredible staff teams. We have sent the Covid-19 specific health and hygiene updates to you this week.

Site operating procedures and risk assessments have all been updated ready for reopening.

The wellbeing of families and our teams remains our greatest priority.

Updated on 12/05/20

You may have seen or heard that the government intend for all nurseries to be able to reopen at the beginning of June for all families. This is subject to a further review on 28th May and will heavily rely on scientific data and the R rating.

In the meantime, we are continuing to work to ensure we have a plan in order to move into the next phase.

We will confirm the nurseries that are able to reopen as soon as possible and the date on which this will happen. There is the potential for your child to attend a neighbouring nursery if the regular nursery is unable to reopen immediately.

We anticipate that a number of our team members may be implicated by the delayed opening of schools and this may also affect you, our families and the attendance of your children.

Thank you for your continued support in these unprecedented times.

Updated on 05/05/20

Heath Mill Nursery and Oxford Nursery reopen to keyworker children on Monday 11th May

We are delighted to confirm that due to increased demand from keyworker families we will be opening our doors at our Oxford and Heath Mill Nurseries at 8:00am (Oxford) and 7:30am (Heath Mill) on Monday morning.

Please note that at this time under government guidelines, we are only able to open to keyworker families who are not able to work from home.

If you are a keyworker and require care for your children at our Oxford or Heath Mill Nursery, please contact us and let us know your requirements: Oxford – osp@theoldstationnursery.co.uk Heath Mill: heathmill@sandhillsnursery.com

We are keeping in touch with families across all nurseries to measure demand and will continue to open sites as the need arises. Please do let us know if you require care by contacting your nursery directly via email.

We are working this week with team members from both sites to ensure both nurseries are ready for you on Monday. We have listened to what you need and taken account of the latest government guidelines to ensure the safety of the children and their families and that of our incredible staff teams.

We will continue to communicate with you over the course of this week to ensure you know how we plan to keep safe whilst we operate.

Robust plans, risk assessments and site operating procedures have all been updated since the nursery has closed. The wellbeing of families and our teams remains our greatest priority.

Updated on 06/04/20

Due to insufficient and inconsistent demand, we are currently closed across all of our sites. However, we ask that parents who are key workers and those with children classed as vulnerable remain in contact and inform us of their ongoing requirements, and where possible, we will strive to work with the local authority to re-open settings and provide care for these children. For further clarity on key workers and for more information, please see the guidelines outlined by the government here.

If you qualify as a key worker and would like to keep us updated of your ongoing childcare requirements, or if you are a parent that has any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact your area manager. Area managers as follows:

Updated on 30/03/20

Due to insufficient and inconsistent demand, we are currently closed across most of our sites with the remaining few due to close this week. However, we ask that parents who are key workers and those with children classed as vulnerable remain in contact and inform us of their ongoing requirements, and where possible, we will strive to work with the local authority to re-open settings and provide care for these children. For further clarity on key workers and for more information, please see the guidelines outlined by the government here.

A reminder to all of our parents that you will not be charged for sessions in April that your child does not attend. Some of you may already have received your normal invoice for April because these were issued before we were advised that the nursery should close. We apologise for this and we will not be collecting payment by direct debit and we do not expect you to pay this invoice. You do not need to cancel your direct debit as we will not be collecting April fees by direct debit. We will send a notification in advance of any future intention to collect by direct debit, which will only be when the nursery opens again to your children.

If you qualify as a key worker and would like to keep us updated of your ongoing childcare requirements, or if you are a parent that has any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact your area manager. Area managers as follows:

Updated on 23/03/20

As a result of the current outbreak of Coronavirus, we have put together some information which we hope you will find helpful and provide guidance during these unprecedented times. All the information we have provided on this page is based on advice given by PHE (Public Health England).

This page will continue to be updated as and when we receive further information and news. We will, however, be sharing regular updates directly to our current parents as well.

We understand that this is a difficult and unfamiliar situation for everyone, however, we will continue to keep our communication lines open. If you have a particular question that you cannot find the answer to on this page, please contact your nursery directly via phone or email.

We will continue to work with all our families individually to ensure that we can do whatever we can to support you and your children during these unprecedented times.

Key workers

Following the announcement on Wednesday 18th March 2020 from the government declaring the instructed closure of schools and nurseries from Friday 20th March 2020, we are committed to remain open and provide care for children of key workers and vulnerable children.

On Friday 20th March 2020, the government published a list of key workers who would qualify to continue to receive childcare. This included workers in the following industries:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

For further clarity on key workers and for more information, please see the guidelines outlined by the government. See the Government’s full guidelines here.

Vulnerable children

Within the same announcement on Friday 20th March 2020, the government provided guidelines defining those children that are classed as vulnerable. Vulnerable children include:

  • Those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including children that need support with behaviour management
  • Those with English as an additional language
  • Those in receipt of 2 year of EYPP funding
  • Those with parents in the armed forces
  • Those where court orders or restricted access arrangements are in place
  • Those that are, or who have previously, been looked after by the local authority or who are known to Social Services

This is not an extensive list, so if you have any questions regarding vulnerable children, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.

Further questions

We understand that this is a difficult and unfamiliar situation for everyone, however, we will continue to keep our communication lines open. If you have a particular question that you cannot find the answer to on this page, please contact your nursery directly via phone or email.

Thank you to all our parents for their continued support and commitment to us during these unprecedented times.


Updated on 20/03/20

The government has now issued a list of those that qualify as key workers.

To see the list of key workers, please visit the Government’s full guidelines here.

If you are on this list and think you qualify, then we will be happy to provide care for your children from Monday. Please contact your nursery manager and confirm your requirements.

If you do not fall into this category, but still require care, please make your needs known to nursery managers and we will be planning throughout the day to see if we can provide any help and support. I am sure you understand what a fluid situation this is and that everyone involved is doing their very best.


Updated on 19/03/20

Following yesterday’s announcement from the government declaring the instructed closure of schools from Friday and urging nurseries to follow suit, we find ourselves in completely unfamiliar territory – along with many others within the Early Years community and beyond.

Seeking clarification

Whilst we gain further clarification about the announcement and the necessary decisions required over the next 24 hours, we ask that our families remain patient and we thank you in advance for your understanding and continued support during this difficult time. Whilst we await full clarity on the situation from the government, we very much hope to be able to continue to provide some kind of support to our families and help them as much as we can.

Keeping you informed

Please rest assured that as soon as we do gain further clarification from the government, we will inform all of our families about what is happening. In this uncertain and stressful time, we ask that you remain kind to all our committed nursery staff as they continue to work hard to make our nurseries a nurturing, safe, inspiring and, most importantly, happy place.


Updated on 17/03/20

Following the latest government announcement, we will continue to remain open until further notice. However, we have reviewed our policies to reflect the most recent Government guidelines, and the following procedures will be implemented with immediate effect:

  • Children will not be accepted into the nursery if they have a temperature of 37.8 or above, or a new, persistent cough. If a child develops either of these symptoms whilst at nursery, parents will be contacted and asked to collect their child. Children must then remain at home for at least 14 days. This applies to all persons living within the same household i.e. if any one person presents with either of these symptoms, the entire household must stay at home for 14 days.
  • This also applies to all staff and any visitors/contractors who present with the above symptoms. In addition, we have also implemented risk assessments for all those visiting the nursery settings, including agency workers, and contractors etc. These will involve asking for disclosures relating to general health and recent travel information. External visitors to the nurseries will be limited to only those that are essential for the continued operation of the setting.

Being proactive during uncertain times

We understand how incredibly difficult these measures are for parents to manage, and we appreciate the huge impact this situation will have for you all, however, we must be responsive in these unprecedented and uncertain times, and ensure we follow the advice we are given, and do everything we can to minimise the spread of infection.

We are in close communication with Public Health England regarding the current public health situation. We welcome their guidance that the business of the country should continue as usual, while ensuring the latest public health advice is adhered to.

Public Health England advice

At the moment nursery care is continuing as normal with guidance from Public Health to encourage hand washing and the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

Maintaining high levels of cleanliness and hygiene

Posters around the nurseries are displayed as a reminder of public health advice, which includes washing your hands regularly with soap and hot water or using hand sanitser gel.

All locations of The Old Station Nurseries will continue to follow advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England, as well as that of local government.

Guidance on how to protect yourself and others


Documents for other providers

Click below to download a copy:


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