Alliance actions for early years settings
Letter to Gavin Williamson and Vicky Ford calling for financial support for early years providers for additional costs incurred during Covid-19 pandemic
On 18 May, the Alliance wrote to the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and the Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford calling for an end to the unfair treatment of early years settings.
In guidance published on 7 April, the DfE confirmed schools could apply for extra financial support to help with the ‘exceptional costs associated with Coronavirus for the period of March to July’, including increased premises related costs and additional cleaning costs.
However the Government has not announced any plans for any equivalent support schemes for early years providers, despite the fact that, like schools, they have been encouraged to stay open to key worker and vulnerable children since the end of March, and are now being asked to open more widely from 1 June.
Gave evidence at inquiry into impact of cover-19 on maternity, adoption and shared parental leave
Alliance Chief Exective Neil Leitch gave evidence to the Petitions Committee's inquiry into the impact of cover-19 on maternity, adoption and shared parental leave on Thursday 21 May.
You can watch it here.
Our written evidence is here.
A lot of parents currently on maternity/ adoption leave have said they’ve been unable to find suitable childcare during the lockdown, many plans for grandparents to do some childcare have also been disrupted due to social distancing and shielding. The Committee has also received some petitions about financial support for childcare establishments in light of Covid-19. The last petition debate the Committee had on childcare was on 9 March. In the public engagement we did for this debate, many parents told us that they often struggled to find childcare places and struggled to afford them.
As part of its inquiry into the impact on maternity and adoption leave, the Committee would therefore like to find out more about the impact of coronavirus on the childcare sector.
If you are a childcare provider, or work for a nursery, please share your views and experiences via this short survey.
Email campaigns for providers and parents to ask their MPs to challenge the government's Job Retention Scheme early years U-turn
The Department for Education published new guidance which revealed there are limitations on how early years providers in receipt of 'free entitlement' funding can access the Job Retention Scheme, despite previous guidance stating that providers could access both schemes.
Email campaign asking MP to ask for childminders to be included in the government's 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'
The government announced a 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' for employees across all industries, including the early years sector - but self-employed childminders will not benefit from this new measure.
We asked providers to email their MP on the issue.
Email campaign asking MPs to ensure the 'coronavirus job retention scheme' was flexible enough for nurseries and pre-schools
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced all businesses will be able to apply for grants to cover up to 80% of salaries of staff who are 'furloughed' - i.e. not working but kept on payroll - for three months during the coronavirus outbreak. However, for many childcare providers who are endeavouring to provide care for key worker families and vulnerable children during this period, the scheme is not flexible enough to enable them to stay open - for example, as it stands, staff aren't able to be 'unfurloughed' and 'refurloughed' to cover staff sickness and self-isolation as needed.
In response to this, we launched an email your MP campaign for nurseries and pre-schools calling for this scheme to be applied flexibly for the childcare sector.
Letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak over lack of support for childcare sector
The Alliance wrote to the Chancellor about the Treasury's lack of support for the childcare sector in his announcements on Tuesday 17 March.
Mr Sunak unveiled a raft of financial measures designed to support the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors during the coronavirus outbreak, without offering any new support for businesses in the childcare sector.
We've worked with the DfE on funded entitlement from local authorities
We worked with the DfE to ensure funding for the government's funded childcare offers will continue to be paid to local authorities during any closures related to the current coronavirus outbreak and that it expects local authorities to pass on the funding to providers.
The chancellor has since confirmed this.
Vicky Ford, children and families minister, added: "I want to thank all the early years practitioners who day-in and day-out do such an excellent job. I know these must be difficult times and I hope these announcements show that we are listening to their concerns and taking urgent action. I particularly want to thank the Early Years Alliance, the National Day Nurseries Association, and the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years for their engagement at this critical time."
Asked for Ofsted inspections to be paused
Ofsted has suspended routine inspections. The secretary of state has given permission for all routine inspections to be temporarily paused. The move comes shortly after the Alliance contacted chief inspector Amanda Spielman to ask for a temporary halt on inspections while early years settings deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Wrote to heads of UK supermarkets about supplies for settings
The Alliance wrote to the heads of the UK's major supermarket chains, asking them to support childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Supermarkets have been asked to ensure that providers have access to food and vital resources during widespread panic-buying in many stores.