Over the last few months, with the copious amounts of uncertainty and worry, it has been remarkable to see the different ways Childcare and Play providers have responded and adapted. It’s not been easy, but the determination we have seen from Childcare Settings is incredible and the children and families of Wales are very lucky to have such a dedicated sector.
Though there have been, and continue to be, many hurdles for Childcare Settings, one key factor that seemed to make a big difference was communication and how important speaking to the right people at the right time was. Back in the Summer we published a blog on the importance of keeping in touch and communicating with your landlord or headteacher to enable you to reopen your Setting. The Summer was a difficult time with schools closed and the country in lockdown and at times it proved difficult for Childcare Settings to speak to their relevant landlord about reopening.
It’s been apparent that where those early and effective conversations between Settings and schools or landlords did take place, Settings were able to prepare and plan their reopening with a little more ease. However, it is evident that the communication cannot stop there and it is more important to continue now than ever.
As a Childcare Provider you have to deal with so many different people and organisations – parents, Local Authorities, Family Information Service, Care Inspectorate Wales, landlords, headteachers, insurance providers and funders, and it is important to maintain communication with them when necessary.
Parents – to ensure the smooth day to day running of your Setting, good, continuous communication with your parents and carers is vital to ensure they and you are up to date. Newsletters, websites, social media, posters, text messages are all great ways to share regular information but it is also important to take the time to talk to parents and carers face to face where possible.
Landlords and Headteachers - Lockdown and reopening after lockdown, taught us how necessary it is to be working in partnership with your landlord and headteacher – you may still be negotiating your reopening date. You may need to discuss rent agreements, premises issues and repair works, changes to room spaces. For many Settings based in schools, you will no doubt have had to make some changes to the way you operate due to Covid and its important to ensure both yourself and school staff are able to communicate on these changes and address any concerns around the changes made.
Local Authorities – Settings will often need to deal with the Childcare and Play team within their Local Authority, whether it be to apply and claim for The Childcare offer funding, access local funding or training opportunities, and it is important you are familiar with who and how to contact the relevant person.
Care Inspectorate Wales – For those settings that are CIW registered, ensuring you communicate with CIW is vital and often a legal requirement. The CIW online portal now makes this much easier for settings to keep CIW up to date with any changes made to their service and it is important that this is used. If you have made any changes to your CIW registered provision recently, please don’t forget to log onto your CIW online portal and inform CIW of those changes.
Insurance Provider – It is easy to forget to inform your insurance provider of any changes you make that may affect your policy cover. It is important to check that your current policy is still relevant and update your provider if you have made any amendments or changes to your policy that may invalidate your cover. It is also important to remember to check that your current insurer continues to meet your Setting’s needs.
It may be useful to keep a list of useful or important contacts on display as a helpful reminder. We have developed a series of webinars and resources all around communication, social media marketing, CIW online that you may find useful so don’t forget to have a look on our website and Facebook page for more information on these.
Sian Jewell, Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs