Schools and childcare

Update: The Government announced on Sunday 10 May that reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children could possibly return to school from 1 June 2020. We are awaiting further guidance and information from the Department for Education. The current advice and guidance is below.

People should be staying at home as much as they can, and social distancing to help defeat Coronavirus. If it is possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

All schools are currently closed, other than for pupils of parents who are considered key workers.

We are working with local childcare providers in Southend to identify those that are remaining open to care for vulnerable children and for children of critical workers. We can help you to find safe, high quality registered childcare place for your child.

You can contact us If you need childcare because:

  • you fall in one of the categories listed on the Government's Critical Worker List and your specific role is necessary for the continuation of an essential public service.
  • you need childcare for a vulnerable child. Vulnerable children' includes: children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans

Parents should not rely on those who are in the stringent social distancing category to provide childcare. This includes:

Parents should not use unregistered childcarers.

People on social media are already offering unregistered childcare. What protection is in place to prevent this happening?

Ofsted is aware that these are extremely worrying times for both providers and parents.

However, the health, safety and well-being of children is their first consideration. The Government continues to expect childcare to take place only within existing registered settings including registered childminders.

The main concern is that the use of illegal childcarers is putting the safety of children at risk where the childcarer:

  • has not been inspected
  • has not had a criminal records check
  • has no insurance 

Ofsted will consider legal action against those who set up unregistered childcare. This is to keep children as safe as possible in these difficult times. You can find more information on Ofsted’s response to COVID-19.

More information to support children and families in Southend

The Government website provides updated Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Advice for parents with an unwell child

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing for parents to know what they should do when their child is unwell or injured. The poster and video below remind them that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done, and gives them some helpful guidance about when and where to get help. It is important to emphasise to parents what they need to do should their child become unwell. 

This video produced locally by two clinicians, and approved by NHSE/I, informs parents of the services available and when to seek help: Keeping Children Safe and Well Across Mid and South Essex

Contact us

If you live in Southend and need any advice and support about your childcare arrangements please contact:

Elaine Hammans – Head of Early Years

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 01702 534200

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Page last updated: 11/05/2020