Yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed that the current attendance restrictions for schools and colleges in England will remain in place until 8 March at the earliest. The government outlined a programme of support measures in a press release issued yesterday including £300m of additional funding for education settings in England including early years, as well as a ‘Covid premium’ to support catch up.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“The inclusion of early years providers in this programme of support is an improvement on last year when we saw Covid-related funding limited to schools and colleges only. Whilst it is good to see our youngest children included in catch-up help now it is not compensation for the on-going underfunding of government’s early education places nor does it help the many providers who have found their businesses on the brink of closure due to the pandemic. Rising costs, staff absences, low demand for places and – for many – no access to government support are creating a perfect storm.
Government must go further by committing to including early years and childcare practitioners in the next phase of vaccinations, ensuring regular home testing is available and accessible to all providers and addressing funding shortfalls. Without this we risk losing vital services, especially in areas of deprivation, just when children and families will need them the most."