PACEY has been working with the Department for Education and other government departments to explore how the coronavirus isolation rules in England could be adapted to prevent childminding businesses having to close if there was a positive case in their household. We proposed that childminders could remain open if they took certain mitigations to ensure that children were kept safely away from that individual.
However Public Health England, the Cabinet Office, and The Department of Health and Social Care have reaffirmed the position that a childminder in England with a positive case in their household cannot accept children onto the premises, saying those individuals “must not have visitors to their home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care. This means that childminders and private tutors should not operate in a household where there is a positive case”.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“We are hearing from many PACEY childminder members that, as schools return and many fear a rise in Covid cases, they will be facing frequent temporary closures again. It is disappointing that we have been unable to secure Government’s support for additional mitigations that could help childminders to avoid the disruption temporary closures cause to the children and families who rely on them. We believe childcare should be included under government’s definition of ‘essential care’ and that there are additional mitigations that childminders could put in place if there is a case of Covid in their household.”
Operating from different premises
PACEY’s advice to childminder members in England at this point is to now take time to look into the options that may be available to them to operate from a different premises for a short time, utilising the flexibility that Ofsted regulations provide in this area. This could be a partnership with another childminder, with a local pre-school or nursery to share space for a short period. More information on operating in different premises can be found on page 2-3 in this Q&A. Whilst none of this is ideal nor indeed feasible for everyone, it could reduce disruption to your service and prevent loss of income. It is important to explore if these options are available to you and to agree your final continuity plan with your parents in advance.
You should notify Ofsted if you are temporarily working in other premises. You should also review your risk assessment and check your public liability insurance before making a temporary change to your premises. And as always, talk to your families about the arrangements you may be able to put in place if this situation arises to ensure that they are supportive.
PACEY members may find the following resources in MyPACEY useful:
SearchChildcare also has an advanced search to find local providers willing to work in partnership.