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

Department For Education

February 22
16:19 2021


This guidance is for providers registered with Ofsted and childminders registered with childminder agencies for children of all ages, including:

  • nurseries and wraparound childcare
  • before and after school clubs
  • holiday clubs

This guidance does not cover nannies or au pairs.

We will update this guidance as further information becomes available.

DfE coronavirus helpline

If you have a query about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to schools and other educational establishments, and children's social care, in England contact our helpline.

Helpline opening hours
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

If you work in a school or college, have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the helpline.

Published 24 March 2020
Last updated 22 February 2021 +show all updates
  1. We have withdrawn the Education and childcare settings: national lockdown from 5 January 2021 guidance and transferred relevant sections into the updated Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance.

  2. Updated the national lockdown guidance to include information on educational visits, arriving and leaving the setting, face coverings and pregnant staff. Updated 'What to do if a child or adult is displaying symptoms of coronavirus' to include information on charging parents and carers, childminders, and NHS advice on vaccines and fevers.

  3. Updated with additional guidance for early years education and childcare settings during the national lockdown from 5 January 2021.

  4. Updated the guidance for pregnant employees.

  5. Updated information on tier 4 restrictions, charging parents and carers, what to do when an individual has had close contact with someone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, how to contain any outbreak, the definition of close contact, when to count 10 days isolation period from and CJRS. Replaced 'What to do if a child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)' with a new version.

  6. Updated information on quality assurance visits, 30-hour entitlements and days of self-isolation.

  7. Action list: updated self isolation information to 10 days from the day after contact with the individual tested positive (from 14 days).

  8. Update to 'Side effects of children taking a vaccination or teething'.

  9. Updated guidance on Ofsted inspections, parent and child groups, and local restriction tiers and contingency framework, and changed hyperlinks for 30 hours entitlement and tax-free childcare.

  10. Updated to address changes for the exit from National Restrictions on 2 December. New and updated guidance on managing safety in settings and staffing, 30 hour entitlements and information on business support. A full list of updates is included at the beginning of the guidance document.

  11. Added links to new national restrictions guidance.

  12. On 16 October 2020 - amended information on local COVID alert levels and tiers of restriction (section 3), staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (section 3), children who are shielding (section 4) and informal

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