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NEWS: DfE rolls out home testing to PVI nurseries and pre-schools, but not childminders

As part of today’s extensive announcement on the government‘s road map out of lockdown in England, the Department for Education has confirmed it will provide lateral flow devices for home coronavirus testing to staff at PVI nurseries and pre-schools from Monday 22 March.

The DfE has said: “All staff at private, voluntary and independent nurseries will have access to tests to use twice weekly at home, building on the testing already available to maintained nursery schools and school-based nurseries. Childminders can continue to access community testing, and the Department continues to work with colleagues across government to review the testing approach available for childminders.”

PACEY remains in on-going discussions with DfE to explore how they can also support registered childminders and nannies to have the same access to home-testing as other early years and childcare practitioners.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:

“It is of course a relief that home testing is finally being made available to PVI nurseries and pre-schools in the way it has been available for schools and maintained nurseries for some time but we are dismayed that thousands of registered childminders and nannies in England still have no certainty on when they will benefit from the same protection.

“We are at a loss to understand how they are expected to continue to rely on community testing when we know that some English local authorities have created their own local systems to support childminders and nannies with home testing and, in Wales, a nationwide approach is being finalised. DHSC and DfE need to understand how urgent this is and that wheels don’t need to be reinvented. DFE needs to commit the funding for home testing for registered childminders and nannies and then ask local authorities to take the lead on how best to support this in their local communities.”

Practitioners are strongly encouraged to take regular tests to help identify asymptomatic cases of coronavirus and this, along with regular testing of secondary school children, should help to reduce transmission.