Early years settings remain open during the current lockdown. While providers are pleased to be able to continue to offer their services, which they believe to be key to the social development, education and mental health of young children, they are concerned that staff are at risk as they are unable to socially distance from them.
The ability for early years settings to stay open is being impacted by staff sickness or isolation. Closing could impact on keyworkers who rely on childcare facilities to be able to go to work.
Cheryl Hadland, managing director of Tops Day Nurseries, said, “We have 29 day nurseries across the south coast. Early years as a whole have received no additional support for remaining open from – we do not receive testing kits like schools and colleges, no prioritisation for vaccines, no support with paying for extra cleaning, foggers, or staffing despite being seriously underfunded (half the level of school funding per child) in the first place. We can’t even get SSP back. Within our roles as educators of the next generation, we are delighted for the children as there is no doubt in our minds that children benefit enormously from nursery and are relatively safe.
“Staff are being incredibly brave and the least we can do as a nation is support them effectively. I have written to our local MPs and hospitals calling for childcare workers to be added to the priority list for vaccinations and for the free tests that have already been provided to schools, colleges and university (despite a lot of their students learning on line). Allowing colleagues to be vaccinated will help ensure continuity of education for children and allow schools to return to normality faster, having a positive impact on children’s mental health.”
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