Coronavirus: Just four per cent of the usual number of children are currently attending early years settings
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
New data from the Department for Education highlights the impact of almost half of nurseries in England closing.
Latest research from the Department for Education (DfE) estimates that 65,000 children are currently attending early years provision – representing about four per cent of the number of children who usually attend childcare in term time.
An estimated 22,000 settings have remained open between March 23 and April 17, representing 26 per cent of all childcare settings.
Meanwhile 45 per cent have closed and 30 per cent are unknown.
Of those attending, an estimated 59,000 children belong to critical workers and 6,000 are vulnerable children.
This represents approximately five per cent of children of critical workers aged 0 to four-years-old, and six per cent of 0 to four-year-olds classified as ‘children in need’ or who have an Education, Health and Care Plan.
At the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), chief executive Liz Bayram said: ‘Both the settings that have closed and those that remain open are playing a vital part in the battle to beat Covid-19 but it is coming at a significant cost to them, their staff as well as the families who used to rely on them to balance work and home.
‘We remain acutely concerned that the current support from government will not be enough to help many of these settings to survive this pandemic and believe more needs to be done to ensure the financial pressure childcare providers are experiencing now doesn’t lead to permanent closure.
‘We also need government to start to think through how it wants the sector to prepare for life after lockdown, especially if we are facing a phased return to work. This will heap additional pressure on to the sector as it is likely to lead to reduced need for its services over the summer and in the run up to the critical September period when many families make new childcare arrangements as children start school or early education for the first time.
‘While government support during May and June is important, the childcare sector will not simply bounce back over the summer without significant support to help it prepare and navigate what may be a complex transition period.’
Read the data here