The Forgotten Sector report
Alliance report highlights the severe financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the early years sector in England
On 25 June 2020, the Early Years Alliance published a new report, The Forgotten Sector, which details the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak - and a subsequent lack of adequate government support - on the early years sector in England.
The report analyses the responses to the Alliance's recent surveys on the impact of coronavirus on the childcare sector, which found that 69% of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders expect to operate at a loss over the next six months, while 25% say that it is “likely” that they will be forced to close within the year.
It also provides a comprehensive overview of the key government early years policy failures during the pandemic - such as the U-turn on Job Retention Scheme support for early years providers, the watering-down of guarantees of 'free entitlement' funding for closed settings, and the removal of the ability of some providers to access business support grants - and highlights discrepancies in the support given to other sectors - such as schools, and retail, hospitality and leisure businesses - compared to the support being made available to the early years.
The Forgotten Sector also includes new modelling data from independent early years analyst Ceeda, which outlines the impact of reduced occupancy levels as a result of the pandemic on early years providers.
Alliance calls for urgent financial support package for the early years
The Early Years Alliance is calling on the government to commit to an urgent financial support package to ensure that early years providers in England are able to remain viable throughout the coronavirus package and beyond. The report also include a number of other recommendations including: a reversal of the u-turn on Job Retention Scheme access, support with the costs of cleaning and PPE and greater access to business support grants.
* We have sent a copy of The Forgotten Sector report to every single MP in England.
* We shared our survey of 6,300 respondents with The Sutton Trust who used it in their own research into the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the early years sector. The Trust's research was then featured on Newsnight on 1 July. Watch the special report below:
* We are also asking providers and parents to email their MP to urge them to commit to an urgent dedicated financial support package for the childcare sector.
Providers can email their MP here.
Parents can email their MP here.
Wendy Hocking, manager of Holmhirst Pre School, Sheffield
“We are not confident at all that we will be able to remain open. We are not a money-making setting, we don’t have an owner making money out of our setting but without prospective parents booking in, our future is uncertain. Redundancies and closure are on the agenda. We have been operating 28 years and fear this is our last.”
Mary Elia, manager of Little Berries Pre-school, Southampton
“We have suffered a loss of income private fee-paying parents, the cancellation of all fundraising activities, staff shortages meaning we cannot accept more children back and the cost of having to purchase additional items such as PPE and contactless thermometers. Our intake for the next academic year is the lowest it’s ever been as I cannot show prospective families round the setting. If it doesn't increase significantly by January, we will have to close."