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Rapid increase in number of Covid -19 cases in childcare settings

By Rachel Lawlercovid test nurseries pre-schools

The number of Covid-19 cases reported in early years settings has been doubling since the first week of September, according to new statistics from Ofsted.

Obtained by the Labour Party, the statistics show an increase from 14 cases in early years settings at the end of August 2020 to 181 on 28 September.

In response, the Alliance has called for home testing kits to be made available to nurseries and childminders, as well as maintained nursery schools.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: "It beggars belief that at a time when Covid cases are rising so rapidly, private and voluntary early years providers still aren't being supplied with home testing kits, especially given that such kits have been available to maintained nurseries, schools and colleges for months now.

"We continue to be inundated with reports from nurseries, pre-schools and childminders who have been unable to access tests through the normal channels, despite repeatedly being told they should be able to get priority access. These are professionals who spend all day in close physical contact with young children who don't know how, and are not expected, to socially distance - surely, given this, the early years sector should be at the front of the queue when it comes to such support.

"This is sadly just another example of the way in which the needs of the early years sector have been overlooked and disregarded throughout this pandemic. We urge the government to take urgent action on this issue, and ensure that all early years providers are able to access Covid tests as and when they need them."