Alliance criticises "absurd" exclusion of childminders from home lateral flow testing

The Alliance has strongly criticised the ongoing exclusion of childminders from home lateral flow testing, after government announced that from 1 March 2021, any member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of a member of staff or a pupil at a primary or secondary school, can get a twice-weekly test at home by ordering a home test kit online. Families of younger children attending education settings are not included.

Commenting, Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief executive, said:

"It is completely absurd that the government is able to roll out home lateral flow testing to the families and bubbles of nine million school-age children, but not the 34,000 childminders currently operating in England 

"The government has repeatedly insisted that getting test kits to childminders was too much of a challenge - but this announcement makes it clear that the issue was only ever one of priorities, not logistics. 

"Childminders have been on the frontline, welcoming children into their own homes and delivering quality care and education, throughout this pandemic. It is frankly shameful that the government is continuing to exclude them from measures that would keep them, their loved ones and the children in their care, safer at what is still such a worrying time.

"It also remains unclear why this latest lateral flow testing rollout is currently restricted to the families and bubbles of school age children, and not those of children in the early years, especially given that made early years providers have open since the start of the year. 

"Time and again throughout this crisis, the government has chosen to exclude the early years sector from wider education initiatives. This simply must change - otherwise the indifference of this government towards this dedicated sector will live long in the memory of providers and the parents who rely on them."