From today (11 March) all Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries and pre-schools in England will begin to receive home testing kits for regular asymptomatic coronavirus testing to be used from 22 March.
PVI nurseries and pre-schools can access DfE guidance on the use of lateral flow devices (LFDs) here. We are currently updating PACEY's Covid-19 FAQs to reflect this latest announcement.
The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care are yet to formalise plans to make these home tests available to childminders, who have to instead rely on community testing sites to access these.
Regarding community testing sites, a recent PACEY survey of over 1200 childminders and nannies found that:
- Only 30% of childminders and nannies have experienced no problems in accessing their community testing site
- Over a quarter of those surveyed had never visited their community testing site for asymptomatic testing
- Around 37% said that their community testing site was only open during their working hours
- Around 40% said that their travel time to and from the testing centre was over 30 minutes.
Helen Donohoe, Policy Advisor at PACEY comments:
“It is inconceivable that thousands of registered childminders and nannies who provide close-contact provision for young children have been left out of home testing plans, whilst nurseries, schools and recently, parents of school-aged children and the ‘wider school community’ get regular access to these.
"The inaction from DHSC has understandably left childminders and nannies feeling like second class service providers with moral at an “all time low”. This news comes at a time when the Government is highlighting the role of education and childcare staff in its ‘education recovery’ plans. If childminders cannot safely deliver care and education in their settings without putting themselves and their families at risk, how are they expected to support children to build on from the impacts of the pandemic?”