Bertram Nursery Group – Safe Operation Procedures (COVID-19)

Bertram Nursery Group - Safe Operation Procedures (COVID-19)

We are pleased to confirm that the Government expects English Nurseries to be able to welcome most children back to nursery from the 1st June.

The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role.

The Department for Education has recently published guidance which, when followed, will allow nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

We have taken our time to read, discuss and understand the guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education and as such, have prepared a Safe Operating Procedures and Risk Assessment document for use internally and also to share with our parents and family community so they can themselves understand and participate in safe practice to mitigate the risk of spread.

We have always emphasised health and safety for our children and staff in our settings. Here is an update from our CEO Cary Rankin covering details of our Safe Operation Procedures.

 
 
 
 

Please also see our live FAQ’s (below) which covers a range of topics and will be updated as new questions arise.

We would be grateful if you could kindly complete the survey which advises us of any changes to your child’s needs or routines.

 
 

We are very grateful for your support during this time, and we look forward to welcoming our children and families back to the nursery, where you are happy to return. We understand this has been a difficult time for children and parents, and we look forward to seeing you all.

 

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We would also like to take this opportunity to further recognise and thank our fantastic team members, who have continued to provide care and education for the children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout lockdown.

FAQ

Health and Safety

1Why has the Government lifted the restrictions on nursery attendance?
The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role. The Department for Education has published detailed guidance which enables nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. The design of nurseries as relatively small communities with further subdivided rooms, greatly assists our ability to create distance between groups. The Government has recognised the vital role that nurseries play in education, wellbeing, preparing children for school and supporting families to work.
2What measures are in place to keep children safe?
We have implemented the Government guidance for educational settings to form bespoke Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) to make our nurseries COVID Secure. All parents and team members must read and follow these procedures to keep our community safe. The fundamental principles are to ensure distancing between groups and to implement enhanced hygiene practices.
3When can my child attend the nursery?
Most nurseries in England re-opened on the 3rd of June and are currently welcoming many of their children back. Sadly, for Scotland we are unable to confirm the return date until announced by the First Minister. Children classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are currently advised not to attend the nursery. Children classed as clinically vulnerable (not extremely clinically vulnerable) are recommended to seek medical advice before returning to nursery. If a child lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend. If a child lives with someone who is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, they are advised not to return to nursery yet.

Care, Education and Wellbeing

1There have been changes to my child’s routine or requirements during lockdown, how do I let you know?
We understand that two months is a long time for all children, but for our smallest children, there should be some routine changes. We encourage all parents to take some time when you visit the nursery prior to your first day, to update the team and/or manager to ensure any changes to their care routine are updated and followed.
2Will there be changes to the nursery routine?
We will continue to work very hard to avoid any significant changes. Whilst we would like to say that there will be ‘no changes’, given we are operating under a very different set of guiding principles this will not be possible in all nurseries. We will however continue to ensure as best we can, that the relationships and therefore the care routines your children are used to will remain largely unchanged.
3How will you be preparing children for school?
Preparing children for the transition to school will be a priority on our return. In addition to the support we normally provide we will be giving extra attention to preparing children to return to a school implementing coronavirus limiting measures.
4We have heard you are running at 50% of your normal capacity in all sites is that correct?
For sites that remained open or are due to open yes, we will be running each setting at 50% of its normal operating capacity initially, but we will review the opportunity to increase or decrease spaces dependent on our ongoing assessment of children and employees safety. We chose to take a safe and considered approach by restricting numbers as we open up under a very different operating regime.
5My child has an additional need or disability that requires support, will they still be able to attend?
We want to ensure we keep all children safe under the new measures that we have put in place and so it is vital that we carry out a risk assessment for children where additional support is required. Where we feel the risk is too high under the new measures we have in place, it is possible that some children will not able to return until the risk is reduced. Where this is the case, the nursery will liaise with the local authority to seek further advice and support.

Changes to Attendance

1I normally use grandparents (for example) for some childcare and need to increase my hours?
Please contact your nursery manager direct or via enquiries@bertramuk.com if you wish to increase your attendance pattern. We anticipate demand for places to be even higher than normal during this summer, but we will do all we can to accommodate your needs. Our England managers are now back and able to respond to any current parent queries. Our Scotland managers still have limited access to emails and so we advise for Scotland nurseries to contact enquiries@bertramuk.com
2My needs have changed, and I need to reduce my attendance?
Please contact the nursery manager to vary your attendance. In line with our Terms & Conditions, we will require one months’ notice to implement the change. The majority of our England sites are operational and nursery managers are available to respond to parent queries, so we recommend that you please email your nursery directly. Many of our Scotland sites remain closed and managers therefore furloughed and unable to respond to emails, so we advise parents to please contact enquiries@bertramuk.com as an alternative.
3My child is going to school in September and I do not plan to return to nursery?
As per our normal terms, you just need to give us one months’ notice in writing. You are welcome to access your place through this notice period and your deposit can be used against the final month’s fees. You should notify your nursery directly in England and for Scotland please email enquiries@bertramuk.com
4As you are running at 50% occupancy does this mean I will not get a place?
We will endeavour to provide nursery provision as best we can in the short term for those parents who wish to use it. Priority in England in the early weeks will be given to ‘Essential/Key Workers’, ‘Pre-school children who are leaving to assist with the transition to school’ and then non-essential/key workers. If you are a current parent in England please contact your nursery directly if you require childcare. For any new enquiries/bookings please email enquiries@bertramuk.com For Scotland ‘Essential/Key Workers’ only at present. All other childcare TBC. The unfortunate reality is that as we are operating under restricted capacity in order to provide safe nursery provision, we may not be able to offer full or partial nursery provision to all our families, this includes current parents or new enquiries. However, where parents decide not to retain or use their place, we will open these up for those who do, to ensure we can meet the childcare needs of those wanting a place.
5Am I an essential or key worker?
For Scotland, if you are or believe you may be an essential/key worker you must contact your local authority regarding childcare. We are unable to accept direct bookings from essential/key workers. These must go through the local authority who will then confirm childcare is required at which point we are able to confirm places. Two of our nurseries currently remain open, Happitots Nursery Glasgow Airport and Oranges & Lemons Technology Park and are accepting bookings for essential/key workers through their local authority. Requirements are set by local authorities on who are classed as essential/key workers. Sadly, we have no say in this decision so we suggest if you are unsure to please check with your local authority via their website, where they will clarify if you are classed as an essential/key worker. For England, we are accepting all children, so this no longer applies.
6When do you plan to open for non-essential/key workers in Scotland?
Whilst the plan is for schools to open 11th August 2020, we are waiting to hear ‘if’ private nurseries can open earlier within their own Local Authority. Should the First Minister or Local Authorities allow us to do so, we will consider if it is viable to do so. At present, we anticipate opening at the beginning of August. Your Nursery Manager will be contacting you to discuss your return requirements so that we can understand demand and feed this back to each Local Authority.
7Will there be guaranteed availability for me when you open?
Sadly, we cannot guarantee what availability there will be, what we can guarantee is that we will be working hard with our teams to understand and plan for demand as best we can. Our availability will move and change dependent on parent employment circumstances (some still do not know if or when they will return), shielding families, local area cases of Covid-19, staff availability (in the event they are also shielding), who might reduce their booking patterns and open up places, continued demand for essential/key workers. There will be a considerable number of variables managers need to consider and places will be offered as fairly and evenly as we can. Our teams want to see all their children and families again.

Fees & Deposits

1When are fees due?
We were pleased to be able to suspend fees during COVID-19 closure in March, April, and May, where the Government restricted attendance at nurseries. From the 1st June (for England) we can welcome most children back to nursery and fees for those returning will return to normal. Invoices for June will be prepared based on the uptake of places and will be sent as soon as they are prepared. Fees will be payable in advance, in line with T&C’s within the few days of returning to nursery.
2I am cautious about coming to nursery for the next few weeks, do I need to pay fees?
We are currently working to understand demand at each nursery. Given the need to change our operational plans at each site (environments and methods of operation) to ensure ‘safe’ operating capacities, we expect a phased approach to returning families. Parent fees will, therefore, be payable from the date you return in June. England From 1st July 2020, normal fees will apply to all parents who have been offered a place. This includes holding a place where you decide not to return. Scotland Assuming 1st of July 2020 opening, no fees apply before then if you are unable to use your place. Normal fees will apply to use or hold your childcare place on a date yet TBC. If your child or a member of our household is in a clinically vulnerable group, please contact your nursery manager directly.
3I made payments during April and May but did not attend the nursery, what happens to these?
Any payments made during the restrictions when your child was not attending will be credited to your account. These credits will be offset against future invoices. If you cannot use the credits in full before leaving for school, they will be refunded to you, subject to any account arrears.
4What happens if we cannot attend the nursery due to isolation?
If we experience a confirmed case of coronavirus, it may be that a family, home base room or even the whole nursery will need to isolate for 14 days as per government guidelines. We hope to avoid this, but like any period of sickness or for events outside our control, we will need to charge an element of fees to have the nursery ready for your return. If your child has to self-isolate and you are therefore unable to use your childcare space, we will reduce fees by 75%, only charging a 25% retainer. This retainer will enable us to better support our teams and ensure the nursery can be ready for your return. For any prolonged periods of isolation over and above 14 days, we advise you to contact your nursery manager. We will endeavour to look at individual cases where possible.
5What happens if the country goes into lockdown again?
We were pleased to be able to suspend fees for April and May where the Government restricted attendance at nursery. We need to reserve our right to charge fees during any future significant period of non-attendance but would review this based on the situation.

New Enquiries

1How to I register for a place if I do not currently attend a Bertram Nursery?
We are still accepting bookings for all of our nurseries however we are unable to confirm availability at present for all sites. Please email enquiries@bertramuk.com and we will do our best to answer any questions you have. You can complete our registration form to secure a place on our waiting list and when we are able to confirm availability, we would update you. Please contact enquiries@bertramuk.com for a copy of our registration form.
2I booked to start in 2021 is my place still secure?
Yes, your place is secure, and we look forward to welcoming you in 2021.
3I booked to start before 2021 is my place still secure?
Your place is still secure however sadly due to the current situation we may need to delay settling in sessions as well as start dates. Please contact us at enquiries@bertarmuk.com for more information regarding your booking.

Parent Communication

1I don’t appear to be receiving parent communication via email?
We are currently in the process of updating our internal systems to a new improved platform with additional benefits for parents. Whilst updating our systems and the timing of COVID-19 we have found some accounts do not have full or accurate parent contact details. We do apologise for this and we are currently working to ensure all parents receive all communications. Please email us at enquiries@bertramuk.com if you are not receiving parent communication via email and we will endeavour to resolve this. Please also find copies of our communication on our website. If you have changed any of your contact details including email, please let your nursery know so we can update our records.
2Updates
We recommend parents follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thebertram.nurserygroup), Twitter (@BertramNG) or Instagram (@bertramnurserygroup) to receive updates on all sites as we announce. We are available through social media to answer any queries you may have.
3List of nurseries in Scotland that are opening 15 July
Our nurseries that will open on the 15th of July are; Happitots Baillieston, Celtic Cross Nursery, Enchanted Forest Erskine, Enchanted Forest Greenock, Kidsplay Childcare, Corner House Nursery Spylaw, Corner House Nursery Gillsland, Paint Pots Nursery. As well as Happitots Glasgow Airport and Oranges & Lemons Technology Park which have remained open throughout, but will now be welcoming all children back.