Attendance in nursery has plummeted this month
New statistics released by the Department for Education show that the number of children attending early years providers has vastly reduced since December.
About 37% of the numbers of children expected for January were recorded on 7 January, which the DfE estimates to be approximately 52% of the daily level.
These figures were in contrast to a month ago when 61% of children attended (estimated by the DfE to be 85% of usual numbers).
NDNA has joined with Early Years Alliance and Pacey to form #ProtectEarlyYears campaign which is calling jointly on the DfE to reverse its decision to fund nurseries on their actual head count this month rather than pre-Covid attendance.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “Nurseries and other childcare providers have now been put in an impossible position.
“If they continue to remain open, they are only funded for the children who attend – our survey shows that the average nursery has a third fewer children compared with this time last year. And the stark DfE statistics show the picture as being even worse.
“And as the virus continues to spread rapidly, more staff are having to self-isolate or are becoming poorly, leaving settings struggling to meet staff:child ratios.
“Because early years settings are the only educational establishments allowed to open for all their children, they must be prioritised. They need testing kits, given priority for vaccinations and urgent financial support to prevent mass closures across the country.”