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Half of early years providers fear closure

By Rachel Lawlerhalf of nurseries could close in a year

Just 45% of nurseries and pre-schools and 55% of childminders expect to remain financially sustainable for the next year, according to new statistics shared by the Department for Education (DfE).

The survey was carried out in July 2020 and gathered responses from 4,012 providers including group-based providers, school-based providers and childminders.

Financial sustianability
10% of nurseries and pre-schools and 6% of childminders said that they would be financially sustainable until the end of October 2020.

4% of nurseries and pre-schools and 6% of childminders said that they would only remain financially sustainable for a few more weeks.

The DfE said that it was important to remember that the survey was conducted before the government announced that local authorities would receive early years funding for the autumn term 2020 based on attendance in 2019 and that child attendance had increased since July.

Critical sector
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: "For months, we have been warning the government that without greater support, many nurseries, pre-schools and childminders across the country could be forced to close as a result of the pandemic - and now we have the Department for Education's own research saying the very same thing.

"What more evidence does the government need before it accepts that urgent action is required if we're going to have any chance of preventing the sector entering a full-blown crisis? If government research suggested that half of all schools would be forced to close by next summer, there would be an outcry. The idea that any minister can look at figures as stark as this and do nothing absolutely beggars belief.

"Research study after research study has shown that quality early education is absolutely critical for children's long-term learning and development. Add to this the vital role that providers play in delivering the care that so many parents and families across the country rely on, and it's clear that safeguarding the future of the early years sector simply must become a top government priority, before it's too late."

Find out more
Read the DfE's report in full