Making the best of lockdown

Children being randomDuring these very strange times, it is tempting to hide under the duvet for the duration, and only emerge when Coronavirus is but a dim and distant memory. Unfortunately, this is probably not the best policy for your business, nor for your sanity. Instead, try using the time to get ahead on some of those must do tasks, that you usually struggle to find the time for.

Here are some suggestions for tasks you could be doing during lockdown:

  • Staff training: there are many training courses available online, to help you meet the requirement for ongoing training, including Prevent Duty, FGM awareness, manual handling, infection control, etc.
    See our article on Continuing professional development for more ideas and links to free or cheap CPD training.
  • There is also training that needs to be updated regularly, including Safeguarding, Food hygiene and First Aid. Safeguarding training and food hygiene can both be completed online from the comfort of your own home, but First Aid courses need to be done in person so these will have to be put on hold. Fortunately there is currently a three month extension, which can be applied to First Aid certificates expiring on or after 12 March.
  • Staff appraisals – these can easily be conducted remotely via Facetime, or a similar platform such as the newly popular Zoom. One tip, before you start, is to ask your employees to write a paragraph on what they think their job entails. This will help you to identify any gaps in their performance and be a good starting point for your discussion.
    For more about appraisals see our article on Appraisals and staff supervision.
  • Get ahead with your activity planning, so that when things do return to normal, you are ready to go.
  • Conduct a self-evaluation for your club, so that you have a clear idea of what areas of your practice require improvement or additional resources, where you need to address issues of staffing or deployment, etc – don’t wait for an Ofsted inspection to highlight these.
    You can find some useful resources in our SEF pack.
  • Review your GDPR audit, make sure that the personal information you are holding on both children and staff, is still necessary and that you have valid reasons for having the information. Destroy any documents that you no longer need to retain.
    To get started see our Introduction to GDPR article.
  • Revise your club handbook, to ensure that policy references are current, staffing and deployment are accurate and key contact information is up to date.
  • Conduct an inclusion audit – are your setting, practices and resources inclusive to all?
  • Create induction packs for the new reception children, complete with marketing information and registration documents, ready for parents of children who are due to start school in September. Liaise with the school to organise a means of distribution – eg via email or via a website link.
  • Review your online presence, eg website and social media accounts and give them a make-over to freshen them up. Archive dated posts which no longer reflect how your club runs, add some new photographs, and make sure any contact information is accurate.
  • Get your paperwork up to date. Review your existing policies and update them where necessary. Check your staff records and ensure that the information provided is still current, update staff training records and identify further CPD opportunities.

If you are able to access your club premises:

  • Conduct an audit of all your toys and equipment – deep clean everything, repair, replace or dispose of any broken toys.
  • Update your displays and refresh your decoration, to make your club inviting and inclusive.

Whether schools open after May half-term (the optimistic view), or (worst case scenario) not until September, at least you can be sure that your staff and your club will be amazingly well-prepared!

Posted by: Catherine Wrench
Date: 6 April 2020