Alliance slams 'insulting' Covid testing announcement

CommentingNeil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:

"It is a complete insult to find out that the DfE's promise to roll out mass asymptomatic testing in the early years in fact only applies to the maintained sector, with private and voluntary providers once again left to fend for themselves.

"All early years providers have been asked to remain open to children and families during national lockdown. How can it be right, then, that only maintained nurseries and nursery classes will - like primary schools - have testing kits delivered direct to their doors, while those working in PVI settings are simply told access the same testing centres that are open to the general public?

"The government claims that PVI providers will have 'priority' access to NHS testing, but we know from previous experience that such guarantees all too often fail to materialise in reality. What's more, with early years staff working during the day - often longer hours than normal to ensure that their premises remain Covid-secure - it's not clear exactly when the workforce is expected to find time to travel to testing centres to access these tests.

"We urge the Department for Education to rethink this appalling decision as a matter of urgency and ensure that all early years providers are treated fairly and equally."