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NEWS: Childminders excluded from Government offer of CO2 monitors in England

PACEY is disappointed that the Department for Education has now confirmed that registered childminders will not be included in the Government’s recent commitment to provide carbon dioxide monitors for all “state funded education settings” in England this autumn.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, comments:

“Once again childminders have been left out of Government measures designed to keep practitioners and children safe whilst in education. We disagree that childminding settings should be excluded because, as the DfE has stated, they are considered to have “low occupancy density”. Registered childminders care for large numbers of children in any given week and we remain unclear how their settings can be considered so different to a nursery or pre-school.  We have now asked the Department for clarification on how occupancy levels for entry to this scheme have been determined.

“After a year and a half of financial hardship (keeping their services open to support children whilst putting their own staff and families at risk), childminders are now left to either purchase these expensive devices themselves or go without. Childminders have already faced delayed access to the home testing rollout; have missed out on deliveries of PPE and now are not to be supported in how they improve ventilation in their setting.”

Ventilation in early years and childcare settings

Keeping spaces well ventilated is one of the recommended control measures that education settings should have set out in their risk assessment. Whilst childminders in England are not being provided with the CO2 monitors to measure ventilation in their setting, there are other steps and considerations that you can take as a childminder.

  • Identify any areas which need particular consideration where air flow is poor – for example small spaces, rooms without windows, and occasions when you have multiple visitors in your setting (such as inviting parents in for an event)
  • Make the most of your setting’s outdoor space or outdoor space in your local community
  • Take particular care when doing activities that require deeper breathing, like exercise, singing and shouting
  • Use mechanical ventilation such as a fan or duct to draw in and circulate fresh air around the room
  • Enhance natural ventilation by opening windows or vents to let fresh outdoor air into the setting and propping open external doors where it is possible and safe (i.e. not fire doors)
  • Always balance the requirement for ventilation with keeping children and staff comfortable.

The DfE is expected to issue further guidance on managing ventilation in education settings, You can also find more information on ventilation and air conditioning in the Health and Safety Executive guidance here.