Today, PACEY has made a submission to the Education Select Committee Inquiry into the COVID-19 response in England. The submission makes clear that the people who work in childcare and early years are part of our country's critical public sector infrastructure that has for too long been treated like a Cinderella service.
Key concerns raised include:
- The pandemic has exposed the frailties in the early years sector, both maintained and PVI providers need urgent and focussed government support, with particular concern about the situation for childminders.
- Frustration in the sector around government communication. Specifically:
- the lack of clarity around initial closure,
- lack of support from the SEISS and
- confusion over re-opening.
- There remains many outstanding issues that are yet to be resolved including:
- risk to staff,
- impact on the quality of education,
- growing confusion around how to best support children who usually attend more than one setting,
- confusion around when children under five can be tested,
- the financial implications of closures for providers,
- future sustainability of the sector,
- transition funding,
- the need to potentially make changes to current regulation and requirements,
- support and continual professional development (CPD),
- start up support to encourage new childminders into the sector and
- the need for a commitment from the Department for Education (DfE) to pay settings early education fees after 1 June to those that are unable to open and to those that, because of changed regulations, can no longer care for the same children that they did.
Read the full submission here.