The Government has today confirmed that subject to the scientific advice at the end of June, holiday and wraparound childcare provision will be allowed to open to all children, from 4 July, including provision which is not held on a school site.
This comes with new rules on social distancing which encourage members of the public to remain two metres apart ‘where possible’ or ‘one metre plus’ elsewhere.
The rules will also see families able to meet indoors with members from one other household at a time, although they are expected to retain social distancing.
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Purmina Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: ‘The guidance for early years acknowledges that young children cannot socially distance from each other but relaxing the two metre rule should help manage staff and their staff rooms.
‘For many childcare providers, the fact that they can offer wraparound and holiday childcare provision from 4 July is something we have been pushing for and could make the difference between these businesses remaining sustainable or having to close their doors for good.
‘NDNA has been lobbying the Government for clarity on wraparound care as many nurseries have been offering this throughout lockdown for critical workers’ children.
‘It’s also a lifeline to working parents who can go back to their usual working patterns and work through the long summer holidays.
‘Nurseries and childcare providers have been doing a tremendous amount of work to ensure staff and children are kept safe so where they can also offer additional childcare services for school age children they are well set up for this.’
But at the Early Years Alliance, chief executive Neil Leitch said the easing of the two-metre rule is likely to have little impact on the challenges facing the early years sector.
‘Although childcare providers are required to keep children in small, consistent groups, and to minimise the interaction between these groups, they were never expected to keep children two metres apart,’ he said.
‘As such, while current government guidance on group sizes remains in place, nurseries, pre-schools and childminders will continue to face restrictions on the number of places they are able to offer. Add to this the fact that many providers are facing a significant reduction in the demand for places from parents, and it’s clear that the childcare sector is likely to struggle financially over the coming months.’