Alliance criticises lack of clarity for early years as education bubbles are scrapped

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

"We know that many early years providers have struggled to cope with the impact of repeated bubble closures due to self-isolation rules over recent months, and so steps taken to ease this pressure are welcome. 

"That said, the safety and wellbeing of the early years workforce and the children in their care must always be a priority – and once again, the education secretary’s focus on schools and colleges has meant that the guidance for the early years sector is severely lacking. 

"While testing for pupils is already a regular part of secondary school and college life, this is not the case for children in early years settings, and with young children often presenting no or atypical symptoms, many in the sector will feel understandably nervous about these proposed changes. 

"With many younger early years staff yet to be fully vaccinated, and cases in early years settings rising once again, it is vital that any steps to ease restrictions on providers are balanced with measures to ensure that early years environments remain as safe as possible. 

"We all want to return to normal as soon as possible, and to stop what has felt like endless disruption to the delivery of vital childcare and early education services, but those working on the frontline need to feel confident this is being done safely. Unlike schools, many early years providers operate across the summer holidays – as such, we urge the government to provide greater clarity for our sector on how these changes will work in practice as soon as possible."