Early Years Alliance voices concern about rising case rates in early years settings

The Early Years Alliance has responded to the latest figures showing the number of reported COVID-19 notifications by registered early years and childcare settings.

During the week commencing 22 November, 2,707 settings reported to Ofsted that they had had one or more Covid-19 cases at their setting, up from 1,960 the previous week - an increase of 38%, on top of a similar increase the previous week. The full dataset is available here:  Reported COVID-19 notifications by registered early years and childcare settings

Commenting, Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance, said:

"It is extremely worrying to see such a sharp rise in reports of Covid-19 cases in settings during just one week of reporting. This is likely to create huge fear and anxiety for the early years workforce, who cannot socially distance from either the children in their care or their colleagues, and for setting owners and managers who once again face a loss of income and rising staffing shortages.

"Early years educators have put themselves at risk throughout the pandemic to ensure young children get the care and education they need, and that parents can continue to go out to work. With early years settings clearly at risk, the government must now, as a priority, look to put in place additional measures to protect early years staff and their families, including reviewing the rules that allow young children living with someone who is Covid-positive to continue attending their early years setting, regardless of which variant they happen to have.

"With Covid rates unlikely to fall for some time now, it is also vital that early years providers get the financial support they need to ensure they can remain afloat during what is likely to be an incredibly difficult period. As such, we urge the government to commit to basing funding for the early years entitlements on pre-pandemic, rather than current, levels of attendance. 

"A strong early years infrastructure is key to a functioning economy and society. Government must, therefore, do all it can to protect our critical sector as we enter this latest phase of the Covid pandemic."

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Currently Ofsted collects data on the number of Covid-19 notifications they receive from early years settings. This means the number of settings which notify them that they have had one or more cases of Covid-19 at their setting - regardless of whether it is a child or staff member who has tested positive. The data does not represent the number of cases in early years settings and Ofsted does not collect data on numbers of cases within settings.
  • The data is reported two weeks behind the current date, as settings must notify Ofsted of a case at their setting as soon as possible, but in any case, within 14 days.
  • Full data on Covid-19 notifications in early years settings from June 2020 to date is available here:  Reported COVID-19 notifications by registered early years and childcare settings - GOV.UK