Departmental officials and I are in regular contact with early years stakeholders across a wide range of matters.
As of 1 June, early years providers have been able to open to all children and since 20 July settings have been able to return to their normal group sizes.
We continue to work with the sector to understand how early years providers can best be supported to ensure that sufficient, safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now and for all families who need it in the longer term.
We have published guidance on actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here:
Early education plays a crucial role in early learning and development, but we recognise that some parents may be worried about sending their children back to nursery. Parents and childcare settings should always work together to make sure that children settle in well. For some children, it may be appropriate to build up their attendance over several weeks.
The School Admissions Code requires admissions authorities to provide for the full-time admission of all children in the September following their 4th birthday. Parents are able to defer the date that their child is admitted to school until later in the school year, but not beyond the point which their child reaches compulsory school age.