Working with your local authority
Your local authority has a responsibility to monitor the demand and capacity for childcare, and to work with early years and childcare settings to meet local need.
COVID-19 has presented a strange situation where some childcare providers will be struggling to meet demand if other local settings have closed, whilst others will have reduced numbers or hours, largely due to the changing requirements of parents during this time.
Working in partnership with your local authority will help you to meet local childcare demand. This partnership will also support your local authority to gauge childcare availability, and to understand the challenges and barriers that you currently face as childcare providers.
"Our ‘Meet the Minder’ sessions usually happen once a month. Parents fill in their details and childminders come along to meet them. We’ve had amazing feedback about these sessions, but we’re unable to run them at the moment due to COVID. During COVID, we’ve worked closely with a childcare coordinator at St George’s Hospital. If a critical/key worker is looking for childcare near the hospital, we support parents to find appropriate childcare to meet their requirements."
Liz Hickson , Outreach and Provider Support Lead, Wandsworth Children's Services
Local authorities will prioritise childcare places as follows:
- Vulnerable children and children of critical workers
- 3- and 4-year-olds
- Younger age groups
The government’s Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance: states, “We understand that in some areas, it may not be possible for all settings to open more widely or re-open at this time. Early years settings should work together with local authorities to agree the provision needed locally to support the needs identified. Settings are expected to be flexible and work together where required.”
If a setting needs to close due to COVID-19, your local authority will work with that setting to identify alternative provision for the children who usually attend. Some childcare providers have formed clusters or hubs during coronavirus to help meet local need.
Early education funding for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds
Will you be offering funded early education for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds? Keep up to date with the latest government guidance on early education entitlement funding.