The Department for Education has today announced a short-term Covid workforce fund to support schools and colleges facing financial and staffing pressures due to the coronavirus pandemic in England.
Disappointingly, the new Covid workforce fund is limited to schools and colleges and does not extend to early years and childcare providers, many of whom are facing these same challenges.
The Covid workforce fund for schools and colleges comes in addition to the funding set out in yesterday's Spending Review of a further £2.2 billion for schools next year, compared to just £44 million assigned to the early years sector. Details of the Covid workforce fund can be found here.
Alongside this, DfE also published a Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency framework for education and childcare settings in England, which sets out how settings can prepare for the exceptional circumstance of further restrictions, and reduce community transmission.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“Disappointment yesterday when the 2020 Spending Review revealed a meagre increase in early education funding and today more bad news with early years and childcare settings once again excluded from any support to help cover its Covid-19 related costs whilst schools and colleges receive help. The sector, struggling already, needs far more evidence of Government support and commitment to the vital work it does for children and families. We now look to the much delayed decision on whether early education funding levels from January will be maintained at pre-pandemic levels or reflect current levels of children’s attendance. If the latter, this will place more settings into deeper financial difficulty as so many continue to care for few children than before the pandemic.
Today there has been a key focus on the importance of the early years and investing in our children’s futures. Government’s long term strategy simply has to change if this is ever to become a reality.”