2,279 providers report cases of Covid-19 in week commencing 18 January
By Rachel Lawler
The latest data from Ofsted has revealed another significant increase in the number of early years providers reporting cases of Covid-19 in England.
In the week beginning 11 January 2021, a total of 2,357 providers reported positive cases of coronavirus at their setting - up from 1,267 in the week beginning 4 January. In the week beginning 18 January, a total of 2,279 providers reported positive cases of Covid-19.
The figures are published fortnightly and show the number of registered providers reporting one or more confirmed cases of Covid-19 each week.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "These shocking figures show the deeply worrying situation many early years providers in England are currently facing. Despite instructing nurseries, pre-schools and childminders to remain open to all families during lockdown, the government is still yet to offer providers any clear evidence around the risk of transmission in early years settings.
"Given that reports of Covid cases doubled in a single week in January, it’s no surprise many early years staff do not trust the government’s claims that they are perfectly safe working in a close-contact environment, when most people are being advised to stay at home.
"The fact that these figures have been released shortly after the government announced plans to expand the roll out lateral flow testing in many workplaces, while still refusing to send these vital tests to early years settings, is even more appalling.
"If early years practitioners are not protected – through both direct access to asymptomatic testing and priority vaccinations - we will see more and more outbreaks in settings, leading to more and more closures: it is as simple as that.
"The government continues to claim that the early years sector is open because of the vital service that settings provide to children and families, but this rhetoric has yet to be backed up by any meaningful action."