Coronavirus (COVID-19) Useful Information

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Useful information for Bolton early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your setting, you are advised to follow the Bolton specific Action Card.

Bolton Action Card (17/03/2021)

GM Contact Tracing in 0-19 Education Settings (01/12/2020)

If you have a suspected case of COVID-19 in setting (child or staff member) you are advised to follow the Government guidance: Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - System of control: prevention.  The information will guide you through the process of what to do when an individual develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or has a positive test result confirmed whilst in setting.


Useful information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for the early years sector

The latest updates and changes to documents and guidance are listed at the top of the page.



Join our 'COVID-19 - Early Years Bolton' Facebook group page for early years providers.  This closed group was originally set up following discussions with early years providers regarding Bolton’s Covid-19 response. This is not a Council group. It is a forum to share ideas / explore opportunities to safely link together and generally offer each other support during this difficult time. Bolton Council is a member of this group and will share information that is relevant to the sector.  Joining link and QR code below.

COVID-19 - Early Years Bolton

QR Code for COVID-19 FB Group

Other dedicated group pages:

Bolton Start Well for Daycare Providers
Bolton Start Well for Childminders
Bolton Start Well for Out of School Settings
Bolton Start Well for Early Years in Schools

All of the group pages are linked to the main Bolton Start Well Facebook page who will share information that is relevant to the sector directly to the group pages.

Please note, the group pages are not continually monitored by Bolton Start Well, so if you have an urgent query, please email or ring 01204 338149.


Weekly provider update email

Follow this link to view the weekly provider update email.


Weekly Public Health data for Bolton

Please use the links below to access the weekly Public Health data information for all education settings:

Public Health Update for Education: 11th - 17th June 2021

The weekly note on COVID-19 in Bolton is available via a link within the Public Health Update for Education document.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

To book, check eligibilty and find out more information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, please refer to the guidance here.

Great news - from today (18th June) all those over the age of 18 years can now get their first COVID-19 vaccination!
Here is the latest Bolton walk-in (first and second dose), vaccination service information.
Anyone requiring a second dose can also contact NHS Bolton CCG for help on: 01204 462125, 462030, 462157, 462028. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 08:30am to 5:30pm only.

Vaccination 1

Vaccination 2

Bus flyer

You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccination on the NHS website.


Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The guidance 'Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' has been updated to include:

  • Further guidance on what to do if you’ve missed the claim deadline.

Updated: 10th June 2021
Published by: HM Revenue and Customs


Guidance on Paediatric first aid certificates

The guidance on paediatric first aid certificates has been updated. 

First aid certificates - If your paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate expired on or after 1 October 2020, the DfE previously advised that this would be valid until 31 March 2021. The extended deadline for requalification has now passed and providers must have a valid PFA certificate in place.

You can see the full guidance as well as the updates here: Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update

Updated: 3rd June 2021
Published by: Ofsted


Changes to childminder testing process

Following feedback on the registration and uploading process since March, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Test and Trace have been working to identify ways to make it easier for childminders to identify their profession when recording results on the NHS Covid-19 test results portal. 

The changes are due to come into effect from 2 June and are designed to allow us to monitor more clearly the effectiveness of our testing programme and identify any areas or groups within the early years childcare system that are not engaging in testing, so we can identify potential barriers.

Instructions on how childminders can access testing kits remains unchanged and can be found on the webpage:

This means that childminders will need to follow the process detailed in the attached document for each completed asymptomatic LFD rapid test.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact the Department for Education Coronavirus Helpdesk.  Information on how to contact them can be found here:


Self-isolation support

Updated guidance has been published on the Council website to help anyone self-isolating. It has financial advice, support contact details, well-being tips and lists of essentials and other things to consider should anyone be required to self-isolate.
COVID-19 Self-Isolation Support – Bolton Council 


LFD testing kits - supporting letter and further information


As Bolton sees a significant rise in coronavirus cases, a cross sector plan is being put into place to help us all pull together to reduce transmission. Lots of activity has taken place / will be taking place in certain communities over the next few weeks.

Testing strategy for education settings

Taking the learning from the recent enhanced testing in targeted areas, from an education perspective we are now looking to focus primarily on increasing LFD testing amongst secondary aged pupils and adults. The wider Bolton community is also being encouraged to really push the uptake of regular LFD testing as the main approach, with targeted areas having mobile ‘pop-up’ PCR testing and vaccination sites to complement this. Note that LFD tests are for staff, parents and secondary aged children.

We have engaged with the DfE to increase the quantity of LFD kits that schools and early years providers are able to order to give you testing kits to pass on to parents. An initial stock will be delivered this week, or in the week after your half-term for schools who are already closed. The attached letter should also be provided with the test kits.

Testing continues to remain voluntary but consistent testing and reporting will really help Bolton to tackle the spread of the virus.

LFD tests are for asymptomatic cases. Anyone with symptoms must access a PCR test through the national portal, and must follow isolation guidance.

Multiagency communications plan

We know that all settings have different ways of communicating swiftly with parents (and in the case of secondary schools, your pupils). We would encourage you to:

  • Signpost to the resources on – this includes frequently asked questions and information about testing / isolation
  • Share relevant Bolton Council social media messaging in your forums
  • Create your own social media posts (where relevant) using the below text and image

It’s important that we all continue to take a twice weekly free rapid test, so that the virus spread can be tracked as early as possible.  By tracing it in the borough, we can ensure those who need to isolate do so as fast as possible to help us control the spread.  There is support and advice available here if you do need to isolate.

Useful Information Let's Get Tested Picture 24th May 21



LFD test kits, vaccination sites

Community Response and distribution of LFD test kits for parents.

The attached press release details the next stage of the community response to the rise in infection rates.

As part of the response, we have been working with the DfE and have arranged delivery of home LFD test kits to all early years settings, primary and secondary schools for distribution to parents. Deliveries will take place Monday to Wednesday this week (commencing 24th May) for schools not on half-term. We are asking all parents to take LFD tests twice weekly. Further supporting communications for parents will follow.

Onsite LFD testing for Secondary Students

Work is underway with some secondary schools in the surge areas to bring back twice weekly testing on site for students where take-up has dropped. Additional resources are being provided by the military where needed. Discussions are progressing with individual schools.


There are a number of vaccination sites stood up and being planned for the borough.  Education, teaching and support staff are all encouraged to access vaccination sites to have their eligibility status checked. Many people are unaware that they may be eligible for the vaccination and by accessing the sites, the vaccination team can have an informed discussion with the individual and provide further advice.

A vaccination bus is available at ESSA Academy carpark (until May 31st), Lever Edge Lane, Bolton, BL3 3HH. Open every day 10:00am-5:30pm

A pop-up vaccination site is available at Quebec Hall, access via Back Bankfield Street, Bolton, BL3 5ND. Open everyday 8:00am-8:00pm

Thank you for your continued work and dedication in what continues to be an extremely challenging time for Bolton.


Education webinar 13th May 2021

A webinar took place on 13th May 2021 to provide the latest Public Health information and general updates. The webinar can be accessed here.  Speakers: Helen Lowey, Director of Public Health and Paul Rankin, Deputy Director of Children's Services.


Updated Departments for Education guidance

The Department for Education guidance Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated to reflect step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown.


Surge testing - PCR home test kits

PCR home test kits are being delivered to some targeted settings in Deane, Rumworth and Great Lever areas for use by staff, children and families. The council will arrange collection. Targeted settings will be contacted directly with detailed information.


COVID-19 re-ordering test kits

PVI providers

The process for how PVIs obtain testing kits is changing from 29 April. The DfE are introducing a new online system for re-ordering test kits for testing at home. This means that you will soon be able to re-order test kits and better manage stock levels and deliveries to your nursery.

You will receive a welcome email in the next few days containing your Unique Organisation Number (UON). You can also find your UON at the following link. Your UON will enable you to place ongoing re-orders for test kits via the online ordering system, which can be accessed at the following link.

You can find guidance on how to place an order on the document sharing platform.

As a first step you should use your UON to access the online ordering system, familiarise yourself with the system, and check that your delivery address and contact details are correct.

Planned stock replenishment in w/c 3 May

You will automatically receive a delivery of test kits on Thursday 6 May, Friday 7 May or Monday 10 May. The delivery that you receive will be the final automatic delivery. After this you will need to place an order to receive further test kits.

This delivery should provide you with sufficient testing kits to last until the end of May. This means you do not need to place an order for testing kits immediately and will have time to familiarise yourself with the new ordering process, so that you can place an order when needed.

Delivery timescales

When you are ready to place your first order, you will need to consider our delivery timelines. Any order which is placed by Wednesday 5pm will be delivered the following week. Any orders placed after this point will be processed and delivered in the subsequent week. For your first order, you may want to place the order at least three working days before the weekly Wednesday 5pm delivery cut off, to ensure that any initial setup issues can be resolved in good time. The table below summarises the delivery timelines:

Week 1: Order Placed

Week 2: Order received

Week 3: Order received

Orders placed before Wednesday 5pm

Delivery received


Orders placed after Wednesday 5pm


Delivery received

Each delivery you receive will be based on the staff numbers you submit and will provide you with sufficient test kits to test twice weekly for three and a half weeks.

Please consider your current stock level and your testing demands before placing any order, to ensure that the order you place meets your testing needs.  

Childminders and staff in wraparound childcare providers

Providers can access asymptomatic twice-weekly testing from 22 March by:

Primary schools, schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

Guidance for these settings on how to re-order supplies can now be found on the schools document sharing platform - Re-order test kits interim guidance notice primary


Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

This guidance: Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) has also been updated.

The changes made include:

  • The YouTube video about the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has been updated.

Published by: HM Revenue & Customs
Updated: 29th April 2021


Business innovation programme for childcare providers

The Business Growth Hub Greater Manchester is offering a FREE training programme exclusively for childcare providers!

The ‘Review, Refresh and Renew your Childcare Business’ will be delivered by the RedKite Innovation’s business programme, in partnership with GMCA and the GM Business Growth Hub, funded by ERDF.

"The programme is targeted at childcare provider owners/managers who want to take review and refresh their business future"

The course will cover 4 elements:

  1. Understanding yourself, your drivers, your leadership style, your business motivations and how to drive the business.
  2. Understanding team motivation and well-being and building business culture and team resources, resilience and well-being;
  3. Where is your childcare business after COVID-19 and how do you develop plans to build and grow the business? and
  4. Developing your childcare business through proactive marketing and promotion lived to business values, ethos and culture.

There will be four 2.5-hour workshops, running 4:00pm to 6:30pm on a Thursday. Alongside the training, there will be 1-1 coaching support provided of 4 hours.

For more information, please contact Kyran Parker, Redkite Innovations on 07982 678 017 or email


DfE guidance updates

The following DfE guidance has been updated:

Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak 
You will find updated guidance on:

  • The use of face coverings;
  • Lateral Flow Device (LFD) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and self-isolation; and
  • Removed information on who can attend out-of-school settings prior to 29th March and updated information to reflect the commencement of step 2 of the COVID-19 Response – spring 2021.

Updated 7th April 2021 
Published by: Department for Education


Test and Trace Support Payments for parents and guardians - support from providers

The Government has announced a new payment for parents and guardians during this period.

Parents and guardians might be able to get a payment of £500 if either:

  • They have been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and they cannot work from home; 
  • They’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate and need to take time off to look after them.

Government guidance is available here:

Bolton have put together a briefing note explaining how this process will work in Bolton and what your role as an early years provider will be to support the process.  This is available here.

Please read and if you have any questions please send them through to


Changes to the Test and Trace support payment for parents

Parents and carers of children who have been advised to self-isolate by their education setting or by NHS Test and Trace are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment of £500, if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The extension of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, which is administered by District and Unitary Local Authorities in England, ensures that parents receive the financial support they need, if they are unable to attend work due to childcare responsibilities.

Guidance: Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme (updated 22nd March 2021)

Parents and carers should apply to their Local Authority to receive a payment. Applications for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme are made via the Local Authority in which the parent or carer resides, not the Local Authority where the setting is situated, if these are different.

To be eligible, applicants must meet all of the criteria that:

  • They are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period;
  • They are employed or self-employed;
  • They cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result;
  • They meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment; and that their child or young person:
  • Aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and normally attends an education or childcare setting; and
  • Has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Nurseries, schools, colleges and further education providers are required to provide a letter to all parents or carers of the children advised to self-isolate, to support their application to the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. A template letter is available for early years and primary schools on the primary schools document sharing platform titled with the code RP81. A template letter is available for secondary schools and further education providers on the secondary schools and colleges document sharing platform titled with the code RP83. The letter must detail the child’s name and date of self-isolation. Parents or carers will then be able to provide this letter to their Local Authority as evidence that their child is required to self-isolate.

Once an application for a payment has been received, the Local Authority will be in touch with your setting to verify the details of the child provided on the application. This will include a check of the child’s name, age, address and days of self-isolation. This check is to minimise the event of fraudulent claims. It may be conducted before or after a payment is made, depending on the arrangements the individual Local Authority has chosen to put in place. The letter you give to parents and carers should explain to them that their Local Authority will conduct a check with their child’s setting if they apply for a payment.


Asymptomatic testing: early years staff in different settings (New guidance)

This Government guidance details how staff in early years settings can access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

This guidance explains the options for:

  • Staff in school based nurseries and maintained nursery schools;
  • Staff in private, voluntary and independent nurseries (PVIs); and
  • Childminders.

The guidance was published on the 24th March 2021 and can be accessed here.

The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the current testing policy for those with symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate immediately and follow Government guidance on symptomatic testing.


PPE for Childminders and standalone Out of School Settings (OOSS)

Bolton Start Well has been able to access emergency kits of PPE and face masks for all Bolton Childminders and Standalone OOSCs that have not received face masks directly from Government.

From Thursday 25th March you will have the opportunity to collect a PPE pack and masks from your local Start Well Centre. Please follow this link to identify your local Start Well Centre. Alternatively, please refer to this document.

Ahead of collecting the kits, please can you phone your local centre and give them your Ofsted registration number and then let them know which day you can collect your kit. They will then ensure it can be ready on the day that you want to collect it. You will be asked to quote your EY registration number on collection.

For OOSC, when you call to arrange collection, please leave your setting name and the name of the person who will collect the kit.

We understand that there are some areas of Bolton where you may not have access to a local Start Well Centre at this time. If you think you may need to make alternative arrangements, please email your details through to the Start Well Development & Commercial Team StartWellDevelopment& with the email title ‘PPE for childminders and Standalone OOSC’ and someone will be in touch to see how they can support you.


Expansion of testing for Childminders

With effect from the 22nd March 2021, there will be more options available to Childminders to enable them to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme. This testing offer is also extended to anyone who works in an occupation related to a school, early years childcare provider, or college and their household, childcare and support bubbles. More information can be found here.

We want to extend our sincere thanks to local areas who have offered early years settings asymptomatic testing via local community testing programmes over the previous months.

From today (22nd March 2021), all childminders will be able to access asymptomatic twice-weekly testing by either:

This is a very welcome development for Childminders. Testing will help to identify positive cases, particularly those who may have the virus and do not have symptoms. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.  All positive results from rapid tests undertaken at home do need to be confirmed with a standard PCR test.

In addition, the households, childcare and support bubbles of early years children are also able to access twice-weekly asymptomatic testing. More information can be found here.

The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the current testing policy for those with symptoms. Anyone with symptoms (even if they recently had a negative LFD test result), should still self-isolate immediately according to government guidelines. Those with symptoms should follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and book a PCR test. 


How to self test at home

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) posed the following questions regarding the rollout of testing kits to PVI settings and received further clarity from the Department for Education (DfE):

Q: Is it possible to have a forward programme of lateral flow test deliveries beyond the current phase?

A: No specific steps need to be taken to sign-up to receive the first delivery of test kits. PVI nurseries will start to receive deliveries of Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) from 11 March to be used from the week beginning 22 March.  Separate guidance on how PVIs can re-order further supplies will be available on the document sharing platform by the beginning of April.

Q: Some settings have reported receiving more lateral flow tests than required, while others have received under the required amount. In these instances, can lateral flow tests be redistributed between settings where required?

A: The number of testing kits that PVIs will receive for workforce testing is based on a workforce estimation using the number of childcare places on record with Ofsted. If this data is no longer up to date and thus PVIs do not think they have received sufficient number of test kits, they should use this online report form to report this to us. You will need your nursery's unique identification number to complete this. Settings should not redistribute test kits to other settings.

You can access the guidance 'How to self test at home' here.


Guidance and delivery schedule for coronavirus test kits to Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries

The Department for Education wrote to all Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries to invite them to access the COVID-19 Education Testing Programme.

From 11th March settings should have started to receive deliveries of lateral flow device (LFD), to be used from the week beginning 22 March. Staff are asked to take their test kits home and carry out the test twice a week, preferably in the morning. Please note that you should not offer testing to children in early years settings.

Further guidance on asymptomatic home testing is now available for you to view on the document sharing platform here. This platform has the latest testing guidance, which includes:

  • Guidance to support set-up of testing for staff, including a 'How To Guide'
  • In-depth information and videos on how to self-test from home
  • Clinical standard operating procedure for the tests. This provides comprehensive step by step information for settings delivering the testing programme. 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • delivery schedule providing you with your expected delivery dates and testing supplies

If you have any queries about your expected delivery date and supplies, please check the delivery schedule. You can report delivery issues (missing/damaged) using an online report form.

Guidance for primary schools, schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools on how to reorder supplies can now be found on the document sharing platform here.

The reordering journey for PVI nurseries is different than that for primary schools, schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. Separate guidance on how PVIs can reorder further supplies will be available on the document sharing platform by the beginning of April.

The number of testing kits that you will receive for workforce testing is based on a workforce estimation using the number of childcare places on record with Ofsted. If this data is no longer up to date and thus you do not think you have received the correct number of test kits, please use this online report form to report this issue.

Going forward, The DfE will be providing you with the latest information and announcements through their daily DfE sector bulletin. If you have colleagues who would like to receive the daily email directly, please ask them to sign up by using this DfE sector bulletin subscription form.

The DfE will be providing PVIs with the latest information and announcements using your Ofsted registered email account. You can also view the guidance on the document sharing platform here - Primary Schools Document Sharing Platform - Google Drive

If you have any questions, concerns or issues that are not addressed through the document sharing platform, please call the DfE coronavirus helpline on 0800 046 8687. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm.


Holiday activities and food programme 2021

In November 2020, the Government announced that the holiday activities and food programme would be expanded across the whole of England in 2021. The programme has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018, but has not run in Bolton previously.

The programme will cover the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2021 to offer local free holiday provision, including healthy food and enriching activities. As was the case in previous years, the focus of the programme will be on children of statutory school age eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

Further DfE guidance can be found here.

Plans for Easter have been significantly affected by a limited time to plan and the emergence of the Government’s road map for the COVID-19 recovery. Bolton has proposed a blended approach, with the provision of vouchers to support all free school meal eligible families using the COVID-19 Winter Support Grant funding, as well as a very limited in-person programme.  This approach has been approved by the DfE and it is proposed build on this model for summer and beyond.

The programme is currently being worked through to prepare for the Summer and we will be in touch after the Easter Holidays with further information and briefing sessions for potential partners. Any questions please send to


Early years webinar - 9th March 2021

Follow this link to the latest early years webinar - recorded 9th March 2021



Asymptomatic testing for 'critical workers' who cannot work from home

Please find details about the asymptomatic testing programme - targeted at ‘critical workers’ who cannot work from home in this letter. In the letter you are asked to register your interest in taking part in this.

Please read the letter and also the FAQ before registering your interest.
The tests are being prioritised for those in essential roles, providing critical services needed to keep the borough running. All early years settings and wraparound childcare providers are critical services.
All the information you need is in the letter and guidance document.
If you have any further questions, please contact: 


Early Years Provider Business Planning and Support

Bolton Start Well regularly update the Business Planning and Support webpages which now include a section relating to COVID-19.  You can access the homepage here.


Local position for vaccinating early years staff

Please find below a link to a letter from the Integrated Health and Care Partnership, Bolton Council with an update on the local position for the vaccinations of early years staff.

COVID-19 Vaccination Early Years (26th January 2021)


COVID-19 vaccination leaflet

NHS Bolton have produced a COVID-19 vaccination leaflet which will help to dispel some myths and concerns about the vaccine.  The leaflet also answers some of the most commonly asked questions.

The CCG intend to deliver a copy of the leaflet to every household in Bolton but prior to this, the electronic version is available here.


Payments to providers and EYFF - January 2021

Please note this information is for private providers, including Childminders, in receipt of early years funding entitlements.

Here is a copy of the funding proposal for private early years providers and the Parental Request for Remote Access to EYFS During COVID-19 Lockdown - (letter template) that link to the rationale explained in a new PVI funding webinar recorded on the 7th January 2021. You are strongly encouraged to watch the webinar as it will explain the process that will need to be followed. This process has been shared with the Department for Education.
The authority have explored all options that are available within the current financial parameters. Bolton will pay EYFF to all providers who are open to all children. Duplicates will not be paid and must be resolved.  
For providers who have been informed by parents that although they have booked a nursery place or their child was on the Headcount last term, will not, due to the COVID -19 Nation Lockdown, be attending but plan to take up the place once the National Lockdown comes to an end, will be paid the EYFF for that child. The following arrangements will be introduced to support this.
In the following circumstances and for the agreed implementation period as set out by Government.
For all Funded providers who are open to all children.

  • Set up a ‘Parental Request for Remote Access to EYFS During COVID-19 Lockdown’ with parents - see document and webinar
  • A copy of the contract must be held for auditing purposes.
  • Providers must commit to the delivery of that agreement at an individual child level, delivered virtually by the child’s key person (e.g. Tapestry, Class DoJo or alternative apps, Zoom or telephone contact).
  • For children with SEND accessing EYIF this agreement will be aligned with the Early Years Inclusion Fund (EYIF) objectives and should be delivered by the child’s key person.
  • Early Years Funding can then be paid to the setting that is linked to that child through the Headcount.
  • Funding will follow the child and any child not receiving their funded place due to Schools or providers not being open, must be removed from the Headcount. 


Early years funding entitlement Spring term 2021

As stipulated in the guidance ‘Use of free early education entitlements funding during coronavirus (COVID-19) ,Updated 17 December 2020’

Funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to local authorities in the spring term 2021

The normal process for determining funding allocations for local authorities for the early years entitlements is to take an annual census count of the number of hours taken up by children in each local authority in January. This is the mid-point of the academic year and so balances the relatively lower numbers eligible for the free entitlements in the autumn term and the higher numbers in the summer term. This means that local authorities would in normal circumstances be paid for the spring term 2021 based on the January 2021 census data.

In July we asked local authorities to continue funding providers as if coronavirus (COVID-19) had not happened and said that by exception we would base local authorities autumn term funding on the January 2020 census count. We also announced that our intention was to return to the normal funding process from 1 January, and use the January 2021 census count to drive funding allocations for the 2021 spring term. The number of children attending childcare has been increasing across the autumn term and attendance is much higher than during the first national lockdown.

Therefore, we will fund all local authorities on the basis of their January 2021 census for the spring term.

Full guidance can be access here;

Payments to Providers

Following Government guidance please note that Spring term 2021 will need to be paid on actuals, if a child should move settings during this term the funding will follow the child.

The Local Authority is being funded on actuals and the projected overspend on the Dedicated School Grant is currently £300k due to the protection provided in Autumn term therefore there is no funding available for duplicate payments in Spring Term.

To keep adjustments to a minimum we ask for your help by updating the portal as soon as possible, when a child moves or joins your setting.

Encouraging parents to settle their child in before census week will also help Bolton Council with the monies that will be allocated for the year ahead.

Spending review – Early years funding announcement: 2021-2022

Information for local authorities and early years funding for the 2021 to 2022 financial year has now been published. We will release further information and details on how we will consult with you in the New Year.  These funding increases will take place from April 2021. More information to follow. 



Ofsted to move to six-year window for routine inspections

Reporting to Ofsted guidance to refer to should your operating circumstances change (operating hours change, you open or close setting) or you have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in setting.

Osted's regulatory work during national lockdown 5th November 2020

COVID-19 Series: briefing on early years, October 2020


Self-isolation guide for parents during COVID-19

Please find below a link to the poster, Self-isolation guide for parents during COVID-19.  Please display where this will be visible to practitioners, parents and carers. 

Self-isolation booklet A PDF guide to help you through your self-isolation period.

COVID-19 Self-isolation Support – Bolton Council Everything you need to know to prepare for and get through your self-isolation period.


Track and tracing

What to do if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in an education or childcare setting in Bolton

GM Contact Tracing in 0-19 Education Settings 1st December 2020

Bolton Action Card - updated 17th March 2021 

Please do not hesitate in contacting Bolton Start Well if you have any questions.

A national helpline has been launched by the Department for Education (DfE) to take pressure away from Public Health teams.  The helpline provides support and advice to educational settings where there is one or more confirmed case(s) of COVID-19.

Settings can call the helpline on: 0800 046 8687 (select the option 'advice following confirmation of a positive case'). 

The helpline is available: Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 6:00pm and Saturday - Sunday, 10:00am - 4:00pm

For Bolton (and in line with GM) the preferred option is that educational settings continue to use the protocol set out in the GM Contact Tracing Guidance and the Bolton ActionCard above and to only use the DfE helpline where this is not possible. 


Risk assessments

This is the link to the Governments guidance for the wider opening of early years and childcare settings

It is the responsibility of the Owner/Manager to compete a risk assessment and ensure that it is shared with all staff.

Communication with parents and carers is key and elements of the risk assessment shared with parents may reassure them in such uncertain times.

Please contact your health and safety provider for additional support.

COVID-19 Early Education and Childcare Support Pack - Last updated 09 09 2020

This document includes:

  • General compliance checklist - this is a basic compliance checklist. This can be used to help you ensure that your building is safe to reoccupy. You may need to liaise with other competent persons when completing this form. 
  • Discussion template - could be used at a pre-meeting, when your setting is meeting to discuss opening the site or increasing the number of persons on-site. It poses questions relating to a setting environment and invites you to consider the plans you have in place; you can add or delete sections as needed.
  • COVID-19 early years and childcare generic guidance based risk assessment - This is a generic guidance-based risk assessment.  It provides lots of example control measures, but you will need to add or remove hazards and controls to make this document suitable for your own site.

COVID-19 Return to Work Flowchart for Individual Risk Assessment 09/06/2020

This document is supplementary to the COVID-19 Early Education & Childcare Support Pack. It is important that employees (particularly those who have been identified as at increased risk from COVID 19 are individually risk assessed. This document is based on advice issued to the maintained schools sector and has been adapted as tool for Early Education and Childcare Settings which they may wish to use.

You can contact the Start Well team by email: or by telephone: 01204 338149 for additional support and advice during normal operating hours.


Bolton Council - Early education entitlements funding during coronavirus (COVID-19) Autumn term 2020

As outlined in the government announcement and guidance documents, early education entitlements funding for the Autumn term 2020 will be based on the January 2020 census (for autumn term only).  The Government Guidance states, ‘Local authorities are best placed to monitor and manage their local childcare market and have responsibility for ensuring sufficient childcare places'.

The general funding principle remains that local authorities should aim to fund providers which are open and offering the entitlements as far as providers are able and providers that are closed due to public health reasons at broadly the same level they would have expected to if coronavirus (COVID-19) had not happened.

Local authorities should not fund providers which are closed, without public health reason, from the start of the autumn term.

Local authorities may need to use some early years DSG funding which has not been spent on providers which are closed for non-public health reasons to address local sufficiency gaps. 

DSG entitlements funding is provided with the intention that it is used to fund early years provision. Any entitlements funding should remain within early years expenditure.

We encourage all providers to open to deliver childcare places for all children who need it, and to deliver entitlements places, unless they have been advised to close, or left with no option but to close, due to public health reasons.’

The Autumn term will be a transitional term in preparation for Spring term 2021. The Government has stated that, ‘We expect to return to the normal early years funding process and use the January 2021 census count to drive funding allocations for the 2021 spring term.'  We also expect local authorities’ funding to providers to return to the normal approach (that is, ‘funding following the child’) for all providers from 1 January 2021.  However, we will keep this under review and confirm the approach in further guidance in the autumn.’

In Bolton payments for the Autumn 2020 term will, in the first instance, be based on the previous Autumn term 2019 total submitted hours.  This means that if providers are open, but caring for fewer children then they usually would be in the autumn term, as a result of low demand from parents or for public health reasons, they can continue to be funded as if the COVID-19 pandemic were not happening. This gives another term of secure income to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them.  We recognise that numbers for the Autumn term 2020 may have, in some cases increased. Any additional funded children that are above the figure submitted in Autumn 2019 will be paid. This will be identified using the providers Autumn 2020 headcount using the funding Portal or paper copies as used by some Childminders.”

To enable the process to run smoothly Bolton Council needs confirmation that funded providers will be open for the autumn term and to confirm which funding entitlement they will be offering. Please complete the funding form that all providers will be asked to return so that the headcount can open, and payments can then be made. This will ensure we have accurate information about the entitlements you will be offering. You can access the form here;

Provider will need to ensure that they have completed a  Parental Declaration Form that states the agreed conditions, hours and patterns of access to the Funded Early Years and Childcare Entitlement (including a record of any other setting they are splitting their entitlement across). It also enables providers to capture parental consent for you to validate their eligibility code. A copy of a ‘model’ Parental Declaration Form can be accessed here;

Payments will be paid monthly; Adjustments will be actioned reflecting the movement of Children however numbers used for funding will not be reduced to a lower level than Autumn 2019.

The headcount portal will open on Friday 14th August 2020 and close on the Thursday 3rd September 2020 for the initial headcount returns. Monthly amendment tasks will be scheduled following this submission

The Government guidance setting this out in more detail can be found here:

Thank you in advance for completed the funding form ( link above). Please do not hesitate in contacting Bolton Council if you should need further support.


COVID-19 education, childcare and activities - signposting service

If families are not able to access their current early education or childcare provider, and there are no alternative care options, please ask them to contact the One Stop Shop on 01204 337220. Whilst places cannot be guaranteed, the Council will be able to provide families with details of early education, childcare and sessional activities that are currently open to help them find the services needed.

Early education and childcare will look different to previous years. The Government has issued Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which will be updated by the Government should the COVID-19 situation change.

Bolton Families Information Service have produced some local 'How to' guides - these guides will help families to understand childcare and sessional activities throughout COVID-19.  Please share this with the families you support.

for more information, follow this link:

OOSC good practice charter


Data Capture - COVID-19 early education DfE return for Bolton providers

As you are aware, the Department for Education (DfE) have asked Local Authorities to complete a weekly data return to help inform national early years and childcare policy relating to COVID-19. Thank you to those who are returning this.

We have received a copy of frequently asked questions linked to this data return which can be accessed here.

To make sure we accurately represent the early education and childcare market and challenges in Bolton, please can providers complete this data return on a weekly basis by 12 noon each Wednesday to allow your responses to be collated for the national return.  

Link to data capture

If you need any support to complete this, please email:

To help reduce demand on providers we will use this same return to update the records being used by our Brokerage Team, who are supporting parents to find early education and childcare providers.


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

National guidance states that additional PPE is only required in childcare settings and schools in a small number of exceptional cases.

Settings are advised to procure PPE via existing procurement routes. If you are struggling to source PPE, a request can be made for an emergency PPE pack by contacting

If incorrectly used, PPE can give a level of false reassurance. It is essential that all staff using PPE have received appropriate training in the 'donning and doffing' of the kit using the link below, or they could increase rather than reduce their risk.

If staff need any support, they can email the Community Infection Prevention and Control Team on CommunityInfectionPrevention&


Government publications

Actions for early years and childcare providers during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak 

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.UK

Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and Translated publications

Guidance for full opening of schools

Update to coronavirus symptoms (published 18th May 2020)

Voucher scheme for schools providing free school meals

Eligibility for government childcare offers protected


Other publications

Out of School Alliance - Coronavirus update

Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) Autumn 2020 postponed

Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update

RCPCH when children are unwell - poster


Supporting mental and psychosocial well-being

Early Years in Mind - a free online network for early years practitioners.

GM Health and Social Care Partnership resource pack - primary schools

GM Health and Social Care Partnership resource pack - early years settings

Beelieve: supporting mental health during and after COVID-19

Early years bereavement guidance and checklist

World Health Organization: mental health considerations

COVID-19: guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing

Every Mind Matters

Mental Health UK

Safety advice for those at risk of domestic abuse who are self-isolating

Mentally Healthy Schools

Multi-agency Poster - services working together to keep children safe and healthy


Early year finance

Funding (PVI only)

Additional claims from the 1st June 2020 for children attending a setting not included on the summer 20 term original headcount submission

Funding from 1st June - 7 weeks maximum to end of term for all children

  • This will be an email/attachment return process (the headcount portal will not be re-opening) – further information will follow for this process going forward.
  • Title your email as ‘Name of Provider’ June – Aug additional claim summer 2020
  • Email to and
  • An encrypted email will be sent to you to respond with an attachment to complete. Please can you then respond securely when completed by the deadline dates stated with the following information for the additional children you are claiming funding for:
    • name of child
    • date of birth
    • full postal address
    • which funding accessed - Two-year olds (confirm number of weeks/hours)
    • which funding accessed - three/four-year olds (confirm number of weeks/hours and if it is universal or extended, include code if known)

Please note that funding entitlements paid are for the summer term 2020. Parents may need support to understand that the funding cannot be recalculated from the 1st June to stretch payments until the end of August. All normal conditions apply.

For any further specific queries, please contact Julie Edwards, Schools Finance Manager at or 01204 332035.


EYFS support

If you would like support and advice, the Start Well team will be on hand.

Please contact the office on: 01204 33 8149 or email: and you will be directed to the right person/team.


SEND support

Support for parents of children with SEND

SEND FAQ - in response to COVID-19

Transition - adapted for COVID-19

Bolton Information and Advisory Service SEND bulletin

The Start Well SEND team are available to support you if you need help or guidance during this challenging time.

Call the team on: 01204 338355 or send an email to: 



Greater Manchester Combined Authority and NHS in Greater Manchester letter and quick reference guide to Greater Manchester Perinatal and Parent Infant Mental Health services for professionals.



For more information, don't forget to keep checking our news page!  You can also subscribe to our early years update by emailing:









Published: 11th December 2020