#NotAtArmsLength campaign

What is the problem?

Whilst PACEY has welcomed the government announcement that asymptomatic home testing kits will be provided to private, voluntary and independent (PVI) nurseries and pre-schools in England from 22 March, we are calling for immediate action for childminders and nannies, who have been excluded from the current plan.

Nursery and pre-school staff will be supplied with lateral flow device testing kits to use twice a week, with test results provided in 30 minutes, childminders and nannies are expected to access community testing. We know that this is difficult for many childminders and nannies to access because of the long and antisocial hours they work, and community testing is often not available nearby.

Regular testing of all early years practitioners will play a key role in identifying asymptomatic cases of coronavirus, helping reduce transmission and protecting local communities. 

PACEY views it as unacceptable that childminders and nannies are being excluded from accessing regular home-testing kits. It is inexcusable that childminders and nannies have been overlooked from the scheme that was first announced for schools in December.

Childminders and nannies, alongside their colleagues in the early years sector, have worked throughout the pandemic to provide high quality care and education to children throughout the pandemic. This is despite not having access to regular testing, PPE equipment and not being included on the priority list for vaccination. For childminders, providing vital care to young children in their own homes has placed them, as well as members of their household, at direct risk of coronavirus.

You deserve to be better supported for the incredible work you do every day supporting children and their families through the worst public health crisis in a generation.

We have welcomed action by the Welsh Government to support all early years providers in accessing home lateral flow tests in Wales, so we are calling for immediate action for childminders and nannies in England to have direct access to these vital tests.

What is PACEY doing?

We have raised our concerns directly in our on-going discussions with DfE. We are calling for DfE to commit the funding for home testing for registered childminders and nannies and to ask local authorities to take the lead on how best to support this in their local communities.

Through our contacts with local authorities across the country, we are also highlighting examples of where some English local authorities have created their own local systems to support childminders and nannies with home testing. This demonstrates that local solutions can be found which can have a positive effect in breaking chains of transmission of coronavirus and protecting the health of local communities.

We are stepping up our efforts to raise awareness through our #NotatArmsLength campaign of the close contact that practitioners have with children to provide the level of care and education that is required, and call for improved access to regular home testing for the whole sector, as well as prioritisation for vaccinations once the most vulnerable have received theirs.

 

We will continue to champion the work of childcare practitioners and will do all we can to get your voices heard. You can read about some of our latest successes in achieving policy change here.

What can you do to help?

You have all been through such a challenging time, we can understand if you don’t have the energy or time to get involved. We will keep the pressure on government to take action and will be championing you at every opportunity.

If you are able to support our campaign for equal access to home testing kits in any way at all, we’ve set out three simple ways in which you can help:

1. Lobby your MP to raise concerns around home testing and urge them to take action.​

a) Write to your MP

  1. Find out who your local MP is, and their contact details.
  2. Download PACEY's template letter. We’ve put this together for you to use as a starting point, so do change and edit as much as you would like. The most effective letters to MPs contain personal stories of how not having regular access to home tests is affecting you personally.
  3. Email or post your letter to your local MP and the current parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Vicky Ford MP.

b) Tweet your local MP

You can raise awareness of this issue by tweeting your local MP with our template tweet .

  1. Click on the Tweet my MP link
  2. Type in your postcode and click "Find my MP"
  3. You will see your local MP's details and then you click "Tweet @[MPs Name]" 
  4. This will open up Twitter and you will see our template message. All you have to do is click "Tweet" and the Tweet will be posted from your account.

*You can read the Privacy Policy for the Tweet my MP website here. 

2) Write to your Local Authority to urge them to organise home testing kits, as some local areas have successfully done.

  1. Find out who the head of your Local Authority early years team is. You will find this on your local authority website, or their name and contact details may be included in correspondence you have had from the Local Authority.
  2. Download PACEY's template letter. We’ve put this together for you to use as a starting point, so do change and edit as much as you would like.
  3. Email or post your letter to your Local Authority early years team.
  4. Follow up with a phone call a few days later if you haven’t heard back to check it’s been received and to ask for a response.

3) Write to your local school/nursery to organise access to home testing via their settings, as some providers have successfully done.

  1. Find out the contact details for the head teacher of your local schools / manager of your local nurseries or children’s centre. You will find these details on their website.
  2. Download PACEY's template letter. We’ve put this together for you to use as a starting point, so do change and edit as much as you would like.
  3. Email or post your letter to the head teacher / manager.
  4. Follow up with a phone call a few days later if you haven’t heard back to check it’s been received and to ask for a response.

Thank you for your help! We can do this if we act together. Keep track of our progress with our #NotAtArmsLength campaign here and follow us on social media.