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NEWS: PACEY Cymru calls for clarification in Wales

We apologise for the lack of translation on this news story, this will follow once produced.

PACEY Cymru has called on Welsh Government to confirm a number of points in relation to queries and issues raised earlier this week.  PACEY Cymru have raised a number of points following concerns and queries raised by members and are calling for clear and swift responses to these.

PACEY Cymru understand how challenging this current situation is for providers and shared some recent updates to support members on our website.  We are, however, still awaiting official confirmation on a number of issues raised with Welsh Government this week and have called on Welsh Government to officially respond to these as a matter of urgency. Following our request we will be meeting with Welsh Government and partner organisations later this afternoon and will share any updates on our website in coming days as these are announced.

We are continuing to field a large number of concerns and queries from members and are working tirelessly on behalf of the sector to respond to these.  We would always advise members to ensure they are using reliable sources of information and not to share posts from sources that can not be verified see our blog on Top Tips on Navigating Information.  We are focusing our work on addressing issues and concerns linked to information shared from reliable sources for example Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and Local Authorities directly.  

PACEY Cymru is calling for:

  • Official wording or a statement from the First Minister or Deputy Minister on why childcare is remaining open while schools are closed.  We are concerned that the briefing by the Chief Medical Officer yesterday stating that the key reason for childcare remaining open is that closing nurseries in Wales would ‘create a crisis for the workforce’.  We feel this is not a helpful message for the sector to hear and the focus should be based on evidence around the risk, transmission and benefits to children alongside workforce issues.
  • A swift decision on whether school closures will continue beyond the 18th January to support childcare setting and families in planning continuing childcare needs.  Other UK nations have confirmed much longer closure dates.  We need confirmation on this as a matter of urgency.
  • Confirmation that activity/sports clubs, that are currently not required to register under the childcare exceptions order, are not able to operate under the current lockdown and clear confirmation on action that will be taken against these and whose duty it is to move forward on any action.  We strongly feel that services like this cannot have it both ways- they are either childcare and if so and operating for over two hours need to be registered with CIW or are an activity/sports club which currently should not be allowed to operate.
  • Confirmation and updates to the Welsh Government FAQ’s in relation to Welsh Government’s position for childcare for school aged children (where schools are closed).  We know the current FAQ’s state that childcare can be provided to children of all ages and not restricted but feel that specific guidance in relation to the position around care of school aged children would support the sector in decision making.
  • Further consideration and higher priority of the vaccine and serial testing to those working in childcare given that many are caring for children of those working in frontline NHS services and the fact that childcare workers specifically are often not able to socially distance from young children in the same way as others due to personal care needs. 

There are also a number of questions we have put forward in relation to health or medical issues that Welsh Government are putting to their scientific advisor.  This includes the following:

  • Is there any new evidence of levels of transmission of the virus in early years and childcare settings given the new variant?
  • What is the latest evidence and advice on the role of ventilation in managing the virus? What advice should settings be given as they are remaining open during the winter months. In particular what advice for childminders working in their own homes?
  • Given the new variant, are there any changes need to current guidance on use of PPE and face masks in childcare settings?

Currently PACEY Cymru support the Welsh Government's position that childcare in Wales should remain able to operate as long as this is regularly reviewed and based on clear scientific evidence.  We will continue to raise queries and challenge on key points especially if the situation changes and the evidence shows that childcare should close.  Under the current position this ensures providers have the flexibility (based on their own risk assessments, contractual requirements, financial needs and the protective measures) to make individual decisions in relation to operating. We have shared information about working with families in our previous update.

Please keep an eye on our website and PACEY Cymru Facebook page for further updates.  If you have any further queries please contact paceycymru@pacey.org.uk