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NEWS: Schools and early years settings to close on Friday

Today saw government in England and Wales (as well as Scotland) take further steps to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and keep people well by announcing the closures of schools and (in England) all registered early years settings including childminders. More information about these closures will be published tomorrow.

Read our FAQs on the planned closures

We have sent PACEY members a briefing on the financial support government is already making available to small businesses suffering because of COVID-19 and that we are aware that more is being planned by Department for Education, once discussions have been had with sector bodies including PACEY. 

In England from Monday 23 March all schools and all registered early years and childcare settings will be asked to close to support further social isolation efforts. The Department for Education has made clear that these closures will be for all children except those of key workers or children who are deemed vulnerable (either because they have a social worker or they have an EHCP). The definition of key worker will be published shortly but is broad and includes not only the children of emergency services workers but also people working in retail and childcare. We will share more with our England members when further details are published shortly.

In Wales all schools are to close from Friday but registered childcare and play settings will remain open at this time. We are in constant communication with the Welsh Government and further updates and frequently asked questions will be shared once they are published.

Chief Executive at PACEY, Liz Bayram, said:
“The decision to close schools in England and Wales and, in England only, childcare settings too will not have been made lightly and is part of the UK’s on-going effort to defeat this terrible virus. We know our members and other childcare providers will be extremely worried about how they can survive if they are temporarily closed due to Covid 19 or forced to close down for all but vulnerable children or children of key workers. The support already announced by government will help but far more is needed to ensure childcare providers can survive this period of closure and rebuild the service so many families rely on to balance work and home, once we have beaten COVID-19." 

“PACEY is working tirelessly with both the DfE and Welsh Government to ensure all available action is taken to support childcare settings’ sustainability even if they are forced to close in England or have to temporarily close due to self-isolation in Wales. We know what a vital service you provide; Government understand this too and PACEY is doing all it can to ensure Government understands the financial and other support you urgently need to stay in business.”