Early Years Nursery Managers Forum 3rd June 2020

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 June 8, 2020   |   comments

Come and share ideas, challenges and best practice in a safe space.

If you would like to come and join us, we are having Open discussions every Wednesday 5.30 to 6.30pm. Please email info@bespokeskills.com to get the zoom code. The only criteria is that you are a nursery manager or owner or part of the senior team.


Thank you to all who came.

The group came with 4 questions

  1. How much cleaning will we really need to do
  2. Is Social distancing working
  3. What really are the DfE guidelines
  4. How do we create a sustainable business
  5. What are the challenges


Definitely need to do cleaning but we need to think through what. We’ve upped the cleaning and wiping down considerably

In BeBright each room has a method statement with a Signing cleaning schedule. It outlines:

  • What to clean
  • How to clean it
  • What to use
  • How to leave it

We think about what areas:

  1. Staff toilet
    1. We have one staff toilet so they have to clean the toilet after they’ve used it Clean the toilet when you get out.
  2. Kitchen
    1. No one is allowed in our kitchen – so everything is put outside for the chef.
  3. Type of sterilisation
  1. You can smell the antibacterial smell as we use so much. Our go to is Milton becaus it’s safe for children around the toys.
  2. Phone
    1. Phone needs to be wiped down after every use.
  3. Light switches are wiped twice a day as
    1. that’s the only time its used
  4. The laundry room is used a lot – so you need to wipe it every time you go in. particularly the handle.
  5. Children’s toilets
  6. Preschoolers tend to use it at the same time.
  7. Only need a quick clean afterwards.

Main part of our risk assessment is our cleaning That is what we need to do to minimise the risk

The staff decide who does the cleaning and signs off the cleaning rota. ZOOM STAFF MEETING – we had a staff meeting about:

What are you touching and what are you not.

Message was: If you don’t need to touch it don’t!


How much time is it taking?

Who are you signing it for? to remind yourself or for a record?

We are doing it so we have a record of it and it doesn’t take the staff long if you get into a routine. it is a visual reminder to support the risk assessment area.

Key times for cleaning; 1030 for key areas

3.30 for key areas




Runny noses are no longer allowed .

We’ve upped the sickness policy to be more strict eg runny noses, colds and other minor ailments.

What do other settings do?


It’s difficult

We’ve kept them in the bubbles but within it is difficult to social distance. We’ve kept to the guidelines with resources

Resources cleaned and put away

We’ve got a book box (see notes from last week’s session)

We have rooms for the bubbles and separated the garden. Others divide the room. RESOURCES for bereavement.

Some of the children will know people that have died and passed away

It might be worth getting books around bereavement and death and how they are Jo Hepworth could share with us the PDF files.

DFE Guidance

How do we interpret the DFE Guidance

We’ve gone with 16 children in a room – that’s the way we’ve interpreted it – split up in which ever way you want to split it up into key workers. Once you have 16 you have to find another space or divide up the space.

If you are in a big hall you might be able to fit more in but if it’s interpreted as 16 to a room it might be difficult –are some settings financially penalised because of the type of space.

One nursery we have a big pre-school that can accommodate 30 children but can we not only have 16 or can we split that room up?

The key message is: As long as those bubbles don’t mix and we stick to the EYFS and floor sizes – keep the bubbles separate.


We’ve put it into 3 sections to accommodate

We have different way in and way out Parents often come through the garden. Inside ratio – we’re over ratio of staff.

CHILDREN are happy to return.

Older children skipping in

Younger ones were a wee bit tentative but didn’t take long for them to settle. We were concerned about how the children would come back

Could be mental health or death in the family – so it was great to see children so happy.


A lot more children want to come back in July What is the maximum per bubble practically?

We need to take it slowly and don’t know what is going to happen Everything can change and it’s tricky to plan.

We are assuming we’ll be in bubbles til September but we have no idea No point in assuming yet – need to be adaptable weekly!

We’ve had 2 weeks planning

Plan from the government came in on Sunday of bank holiday We have some staff on furlough

Anxiety issues and children care issues

Most staff and parents have wanted to send children back. Some parents at the back end of the phasing in.


  • We will be lucky to break even
  • Staff are on furlough
  • Challenges are if people are off sick
  • Don’t want to use agency because it’s expensive
  • Shorter days but can’t reduce fees – we have to do this because staff in bubbles can’t mix
  • Creating bubble spaces may need extra resources inside and in the garden.

Most settings haven’t opened full time.

Before a member of staff would float but you can’t use that now because of the bubbles. Younger room is easier because they sleep but pre-school we have to be mindful of that.


We are well over staff ratio Cost of cleaning is up

Cost of cleaning materials is up Cost of PPE is up

Government have said no to extra help even though schools are getting extra funding We should be getting our fee.

If you are supporting key workers you can get support from government per child Business rate holiday

Small business grant – do we fit the criteria?

NDNA is taking it forward the lobbying of government over support for EY

Schools have additional funding for extra costs of cleaning – they’ve said no to nurseries. Will nurseries have to increase their fees to claw it back for extra challenges


How do you navigate the fees with parents?

  • By the middle of July all staff will be back and all full fees will be payable.
  • What about other settings – we are all different?
  • The majority of the children we can accommodate by mid July
  • It might change.
  • We haven’t charged them a penny since we’ve shut.
  • We’ve shortened our days but we can’t do a discount on the fees
  • We have double the amount of staff
  • All we can do is ask for full fees to hold places or up the fees – which we don’t necessarily want to do.


If you can’t accommodate all the children how can you ask for fees?


Places to play –

If you think cleverly about your spaces you can navigate this.

They’ve not reduced their space on that – they have said use the EYFS.

We have to think about the bubbles because if one in the bubble gets ill we lock down the bubbles.

We can’t keep them apart. They’re all over each other and the staff. Aim to minimise the risk – it’s only that bubble that gets sick then you need to be able to isolate the bubble.

They say the smaller the bubble the better but how is that manageable in the spaces? Children to care for

Businesses to run

Children to engage


Children aren’t super spreaders it’s the staff and the parents

We need to work with the parents they can’t dose the children up with calpol and let the children go into nursery – that has to change. This has to protect the staff – not necessarily the children as we know there is less risk with them.


How to keep the bubbles separate is a challenge You might need to spend money to make it work

You could use room dividers but corridors can be challenging We are using portable washing systems.

Kiddi wash is expensive but some mobile adult washing can be cheaper. Toilet trainers may need to go to the toile more than others.


  • It’s our responsibility to keep everyone safe.
  • It’s an emotional ride.
  • It’s emotional
  • The children are smiling – it’s worth it.
  • Parents are grateful.


Show them on a video so they know how it will look

Show them the new procedure and what that would look like before they came. Nursery doesn’t look as it was

Get kids involved in cleaning.


What has been — USEFUL today? sharing of ideas.

Ok to listen and see what others are doing Clarity of next steps

We could contact our local MP to lobby for more change and support the NDNA.

Ask MP to contact the Select committee to put pressure on the government department. Government needs to understand the extra costs because of covid

Less staff

financial difficulties

Outlay higher

Income lower

Government needs to be more supportive Fees they have given has been back tracked.