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DfE releases guidance for coronavirus early years and childcare closures

Vicky FordAdditional guidance for childcare providers about the closures of childcare provision has been released today (Tuesday 24 March) by the Department for Education.

The guidance covers Ofsted-registered childcare providers for children of all ages, including childminders, nurseries and wraparound childcare and clubs (before- and after- school and holiday care).

It does not cover nannies or au pairs, as they work in the child/children’s family home.

The Q and A guidance should be read alongside the guidance on critical workers and vulnerable children.

It comes with an open letter from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families Vicky Ford, MP.

In her letter she thanks the childcare sector "which is full of resourceful, ingenious and resilient people" and said she is "deeply grateful for the civic spirit and dedication of everyone working in early years and childcare".

She adds: "Keeping as many children at home as possible is essential to protect the NHS and save lives and I ask for your support in ensuring this advice is understood and followed by families in your communities.

"We have asked you to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID- 19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

"Childcare settings should not provide care for children who do not meet these criteria."

Ms Ford said in order to assess whether a child met the criteria they should use the latest guidance that was released today (Tuesday 24 March).

The guidance will continue to be updated over the coming weeks as the situation develops.

Key links:

Read Vicky Ford MP's open letter to the childcare sector

Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures

Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on vulnerable children and young people