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Childminders excluded from carbon dioxide monitor rollout to educational settings, DfE confirms

childminder and childrenChildminders who receive early education funding will not be included in the recently-announced rollout of carbon dioxide monitors to education settings, the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed.

Last week, the government announced that 300,000 CO2 monitors will be provided to "all state-funded education settings from September" to help identify where ventilation needs to be improved and reduce the spread of Covid-19.

However, the DfE has since confirmed that while nurseries and pre-schools that receive early education funding are included in this rollout, childminders - despite being Ofsted-registered education professionals - are not. The Department has advised that the Alliance that this is because most childminding settings "are not an appropriate space for CO2 monitoring due to low occupancy density".

Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: "Despite being a crucial source of care and early education, childminders have been treated as an afterthought by the government throughout the pandemic, and the news they have been excluded from the rollout of CO2 monitors to educational settings will understandably be a huge source of frustration and anger for those working in this vital part of the early years sector. 

"How is it that, after all this time, we are still having to explain to ministers that the fact a childminder works within their own home does not make that home any less of an educational setting than a nursery, pre-school, or indeed a school or college? 

"Childminders are qualified, Ofsted-registered early years professionals, some of whom employ their own staff and look after large numbers of children. Like nurseries and pre-schools, they have remained open during the pandemic at significant risk to their own and their family’s health - and given all we have been told about the increased risks of Covid transmission in home environments, surely good ventilation is just as important in keeping their settings safe as any other settings? 

"We urge the government to urgently rethink this decision and ensure that all educational professionals, including childminders, are given the resources they need to continue to deliver vital care and education as safely as possible."