Mar 12, 2020

Coronavirus: FAQs & Updates

Coronavirus

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

Other useful links

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?

Yes! We would love to welcome you and your family to one of our nurseries. Please contact the local nursery via email of phone for availability or for a virtual tour.

3: Are all nurseries within the group open?

All of our nurseries are open.

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

We are open to all families.

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

Our normal operating times are in place. 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.

Questions relating to fees

7: Will I need to pay if I do not utilise my usual sessions?

Normal terms and conditions resumed on 1st July 2020.

8: 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.

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

Normal terms and conditions resumed on 1st July 2020.

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.

10: 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.

11: 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. Any payments received by us will be credited to your account and used when we are allowed to fully reopen.

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

Early Years funding entitlements will continue as normal.

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

13: 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. All of our nurseries are also using Edge Protect fogging machines to further sanitise the nursery and its indoor and outdoor equipment. For more information on our fogging machines, click here.

14: 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
  • Uniform is laundered daily
  • Children’s bedding is laundered daily
  • Fogging machines are used in each nursery once a week

15: 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 10 days. We will contact all families affected in this case.

16: 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. 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.

17: 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.

18: 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 10 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.

19: 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. Our nurseries are also using their fogging machines to further sanitise the nursery and its equipment.

20: 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.

21: 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. 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.

22: 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.

23: 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.

24: 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 06/04/21

To all of our families, please be aware that households with nursery children can now order lateral flow tests. For full details, read the information here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Updated on 11/01/21

The Department of Education have put together a list of Q&As to help answer questions regarding Early Years settings during the national lockdown.

Early Years January Q&A

The Prime Minister announced on 4 January 2021 that early years settings remain open for all children during the national lockdown. Details can be found here: National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Early years provision should continue to remain open and should continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should attend on-site reception classes. For school-aged children, childminders and wraparound care remain open for vulnerable children and critical worker children.

Q: Why is EY remaining open to all when primaries are being restricted? Is it safe for EY settings to remain open?

A: The reason schools have been restricted is not that they are unsafe but because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Evidence shows that pre-school children (0<5 years) continue to have the lowest confirmed rates of coronavirus of all age groups, are less susceptible to infection and are not playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.

PHE advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early evidence from SAGE showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate than primary schools, which in turn had a smaller relative impact than secondary schools.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the pandemic so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

Q: Should school-based nurseries remain open to all children? And what about Maintained Nursery Schools?

A: Early years provision should continue to remain open and should continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should attend on-site reception classes. This is the default position for all areas irrespective of national lockdown restrictions.

Q: Can PVI early years providers still operate on school sites?

A: Yes, early years settings can remain open as normal and PVI providers should have access to their usual settings for this purpose.

Q: Can wraparound childcare continue?

A: Wraparound childcare for school aged children can continue to open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. Vulnerable children can continue to access wraparound childcare as normal; and children of critical workers can continue to access these settings where it is reasonably necessary to enable their parents / carers to work, search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.

Q: Can childminders continue to operate?

A: Yes. Childminders can look after all early years children and those school-age children (from reception onwards) who are vulnerable or children of critical workers together.

Q: What is the position for Reception classes?

A: Reception year is included within the arrangements for primary schools and during national lockdown should only be open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

Q: Can children continue to attend multiple settings?

A: Children can continue to attend multiple early years settings, although our guidance states that parents and carers should be encouraged to limit the number of settings their child attends, ideally ensuring their child only attends the same setting consistently.

For children of school age, only vulnerable children or children of critical workers should attend wraparound care.

Q: Can a child who is eligible for on-site education provision in school (eg the child of a critical worker) be cared for by a childminder instead of attending school?

Schools are expected to allow and strongly encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend, and parents/carers of vulnerable children and young people are strongly encouraged to take up the place.

Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school and childcare, if required. Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their school-aged children at home if they can.

Q: Will EY now be prioritised for testing?

All essential workers continue to have access to priority testing via the online booking portal. This includes all education and childcare workers, including support and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professionals.

We are working with Local Authorities to test approaches to mass testing in Early Years settings via community mass testing approaches.

Q: How should any outbreaks in early years settings be dealt with?

A: By following the system of controls, settings will effectively reduce risks in their setting and create an inherently safer environment. To contain any outbreak, in some cases local health protection teams may recommend that a whole-site or group self- isolate as a precautionary measure. Whole setting closure based on cases within a setting will not generally be necessary and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.

Q: Why is PPE not required for EY staff and how they can remain safe now that transmission may be higher between younger children?

A: PHE have advised no change is needed to the EY system of controls including the use of PPE and face coverings.

0<5 year olds continue to have the lowest confirmed rates of coronavirus of all age groups, and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.

Our guidance remains for early years settings that by following the system of controls settings reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.

Q: Will Early Years staff now be prioritised for the vaccinations?

A: Under the priority groups for the first phase of vaccine rollout, those over 50 years of age, and all those 16 years of age and over in a risk group, are eligible for vaccination within the first phase of the programme. This will include some staff in the early years sector.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department for Education is inputting into this cross governmental exercise.

Q: What is the position on funding?

We are funding nurseries as usual and all children are able to attend their early years setting in all parts of England. Where nurseries do see a drop in income from either parent-paid fees or income from DfE, they are able to use the furlough scheme. More detail on the furlough scheme is here.

We do stay in regular contact with the early years sector, including on the subject of funding. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers, and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Working parents on coronavirus support schemes will remain eligible for childcare support even if their income levels fall below the minimum requirement.

Information on the self-employment income support scheme can be found here.

Q: Are there any recent figures to show the infection rates among young people

– how nursery aged children compare with primary and secondary aged?

A: Children under 5 continue to have the lowest rates of coronavirus of all age groups. Evidence shows that pre-school children are less susceptible to infection and are not playing a driving role in transmission.

PHE release a weekly Flu and COVID 19 Surveillance Report, which includes breakdowns of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases. The most recent figures show confirmed cases per 100,000 among under 5s are slightly lower than among primary school ages, and a lot lower than secondary school ages. Case rates over time for under 5s do not rise before other parts of the community, so there is no evidence that under 5s drive transmission.

Q: What is the advice on Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) children and staff?

A: The clinically extremely vulnerable are asked to resume shielding across England. The CEV should stay at home as much as possible, and leave only for exercise, health appointments or if it is essential. They should not attend the workplace or educational settings. Therefore CEV children should not attend educational settings and CEV staff should not attend their workplace.

Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible.

Q: Can early years provision continue to run in locations such as places of worship, village halls, community centres?

Yes. Regulations enable registered early years provision to operate in community settings and places of worship.

Q: Support groups for parents and children

Support groups, such as for breastfeeding, postnatal, and baby and toddler groups, for the provision of support for parents and their children, that are necessary to deliver in person, can continue with up to 15 participants (children under five are not counted in the number) where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes where parents and carers meet other parents and carers with or without their young children. This would not typically permit parent-and-child groups focused on social or development activities, such as singalong groups or art classes.

Q: How will the census collection work this year?

A: We issued guidance on the census collection before Christmas and will issue further information as soon as possible.

Updated on 05/01/21

The Department for Education has provided the below response to queries on why early years providers have been asked to remain open while schools have been instructed to close:

  • The reason schools have been restricted is not that they are unsafe but because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.
  • Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. 0-5 year olds continue to have the lowest confirmed rates of coronavirus of all age groups, and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children. Evidence shows that pre-school children are less susceptible to infection and are not playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there continues to be strong evidence that children are much less susceptible to severe clinical disease than older people.
  • PHE advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.
  • Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early evidence from SAGE showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate than primary schools, which in turn had a smaller relative impact than secondary schools.
  • Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the pandemic so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

Updated on 05/01/21

Following the announcement last night, we remain open to all families.

As we receive more information on guidance, we will update all of our families accordingly. We understand that many parents have specific questions, so once we have further details, we will ensure these are answered for you.

For now, please rest assured that our priority, as always, is the safety of the children, parents and our staff teams. We will continue to support you through these difficult times.

Updated on 15/12/20

During the Christmas closure, there will be some changes to the normal route of notification should your child develop symptoms and test positive for Coronavirus.

If your child develops symptoms on or before 24th December 2020 and is awaiting results of a test, please notify your Nursery Manager as normal that your child is awaiting test results.

Where a child or staff member tests positive for Coronavirus, having developed symptoms within 48 hours of last attending nursery, we need to take action to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Please download our chart for action required. COVID-19 During Christmas Closure.

Updated on 18/11/20

We strongly believe, more so now than ever, in our commitment to the health and safety of the children, families and staff at all of our nurseries within The Old Station Nursery Group. We believe that we must do everything we possibly can to keep everyone safe and healthy.

As a group, we have, therefore, invested in Edge Protect Fogging Machines across all our nursery sites. Edge Protect offers an in-house fogging solution which will enable each one of our nurseries to effectively manage daily hygiene and infection control themselves. The fogging solution kills and protects against 99.99% of bacteria and enveloped viruses; proven to kill Coronavirus, MRSA, E-Coli and Norovirus.

The fogging machines will completely sanitise the nursery rooms and outdoor play equipment in a safe and efficient way. A fine mist engulfs the entire space, with small mist droplets landing on all surfaces. The anti-microbial shield layer continues to work residually when dry, giving lasting protection. The solution is a non-toxic PH neutral formulation so it can be used on all surfaces, including soft furnishings, textiles, wood, metal and plastic.

The nurseries will not be using the fogging machines when the children are in the room or using the outdoor play equipment. Use of the fogging machines will be carefully planned around the children’s routines and the extensive cleaning procedures that we already have in place. It is important to note, however, that the solution used is dermatologically tested to be safe on skin, without drying out and causing irritation. It is fully certified to BS EN 1276, 14476 and 13697 standards and contains no hazardous chemicals, elements or warnings.

For you and your child, nothing will change in your everyday routine in and around the nursery. This additional cleaning procedure will take place without any additional adjustments for yourself but will provide another protective layer of health and safety for your child, yourself and our staff.

Please watch a video from National Day Nurseries Association showing the Edge Protect Fogging Machines in use within nursery settings here.

For any further information, please contact your Nursery Manager.

Updated on 03/11/20

Following the announcement on Saturday about impending lockdown, we will continue to be open everywhere and will ensure continuity for all children. We continue to follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety of our children, families and staff members. We will continue to support as many families as possible in the community and warmly welcome new children into our settings. Most of our nurseries now have virtual tours on our website which we hope will give you good insight into our nurseries. Please do also speak to the Nursery Manager who can answer your questions and arrange for your child to settle in.

Updated on 30/10/20

Dear Families,

It has now been several months since all our nurseries and clubs re-opened and we have adapted well to the ‘new normal’ under which we have to operate. We remain committed to our Safe Operating Procedures which help us to keep the nurseries as safe as possible for all our children, families and staff. Thank you all for playing your part in this; including wearing masks at pickup and drop-off times as well as keeping us informed about your child and your family’s health. We have seen very few cases amongst the children and hope this will continue.

Thank you for your understanding and patience in the instance of a positive case within a nursery; we are able to tell you which room it affects but we are bound by GDPR and won’t be able to tell you exactly who it is. Please be rest assured that we are following strict guidelines in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

We are following all guidelines set by Public Health England and the Department for Education and have no room for manoeuvre; so please bear with us if you are confident that your child has a raised temperature due to a reason other than Covid-19, such as vaccinations or teething. You will be asked to keep your child at home whilst they have a raised temperature and we are unable to vary this.

I am excited to say we have a demonstration of a ‘Disinfectant Fogging Machine’ next week and if successful, we will look at rolling them out in each nursery to add an extra layer of protection to all sites, on top of our regular cleaning.

Sadly, we see the Furlough Scheme come to an end at the end of October and we have yet to get all the details of the job support scheme. It will be increasingly difficult when staff have to isolate but we recognise the essential role they play in our nurseries and will continue to provide all support that we can.

We are hoping to introduce some evening Zoom session in case you have any comments or queries that it may be difficult to ask with shorter handovers. Please remember we are all still available and don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Nursery Manager or Area Manager.

Finally, I would like to end on a positive note and let you know that we have 2 finalists in the national Nursery Management Today awards and will have our fingers crossed on 26th November for Lucy Fitzgibbon (Faringdon) and Sue Morgan (Innsworth). Good luck to them both and huge congratulations on your nominations.

Best wishes,

Sarah Steel

CEO

Old Station Nurseries

Updated on 02/10/20

As we continue to follow strict guidelines in order to keep our children, families and nursery teams safe, we have put together a ‘System of Controls for COVID-19 Safe Show-arounds’. We understand the importance of choosing the right nursery for your child and the need to see the setting first hand before making a decision. We are delighted to be welcoming new children and families into our nurseries, and thank you for your cooperation whilst we navigate show-around appointments in the safest possible manner.

You can download a copy of our ‘Systems of Controls for COVID-19 Safe Show-arounds’ here.

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

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