Urgent measures are required by government to help childminders survive Covid-19 and build sustainable businesses beyond it.
This is the verdict of a survey carried out by the Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), which polled more than 5,000 childminders across England and Wales.
It shows that the coronavirus outbreak is having a devastating impact on the 40,000 childminders who provide a vital service to parents and families.
PACEY is warning that if they do not receive the financial support they need to survive the next few weeks, many are at risk of closure just at the point when families, business and the economy will need their support to return to work.
Forty per cent of childminders say they are not confident that their business will survive COVID-19.
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PACEY is calling on the Government to:
- Provide a government grant for those not eligible or receiving very low levels of Government support, such as the newly registered and those on very low incomes, to help them to stay afloat and prevent the closure of childminder settings
- Reinstate its start-up grants for newly registered childminders so they are given the funding they need to set up their business.
- Provide further support and training to enable childminders to develop sustainable businesses for the future and continue to provide the essential flexible and high quality childcare service that families and children need.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, said: ‘Our survey paints a bleak picture of a profession of low-paid dedicated practitioners, mainly women, struggling to balance their work with other family caring responsibilities.
‘Just under a quarter only had a total household income of between £10,000 and £20,000 last year; and just under 10 per cent had an income of less than £10,000. These women don’t make profits, they survive on low-incomes that just cover their living costs. Whatever they have left over they plough back into their setting to ensure it provides children with the high quality experiences they are proud of delivering as early years practitioners.
‘Many are struggling to pay bills now and having to wait until June to find out if they even qualify for Government support is an added strain. Worryingly, at least one in five childminders are likely to get no financial support from this Government scheme; one in five only made a total profit of less than £5,000 over three years and over a third of childminders say they either won’t open once the outbreak is over or don’t know what they’ll do. This is a wake-up call for anyone planning to rely on childcare to be able to return to work or study.’
Read the survey here