NDNA calls for nursery staff to be prioritised for vaccine

The Prime Minister announced last night that nurseries are allowed to stay open to all children although schools will only be caring for vulnerable children and key worker families.Purnima Tanuku OBE

NDNA’s Chief Executive Purnima Tanuku OBE has appeared on national television news this morning explaining that nurseries want to stay open to support children and their families but they need reassurance about safety and sufficient financial support to remain sustainable.

The Government must reverse its decision to fund nurseries on actual numbers of children attending rather than continue to fund on pre-covid levels. Low attendance will mean that many nurseries businesses would not survive.

Purnima said: “This is a worrying time for parents, nurseries and their staff. Throughout this pandemic nurseries have been operating as safely as possible to ensure children have access to early education and parents are able to work.

“Nurseries want to keep open so they can continue to support children and give them a safe and nurturing place during this lockdown. However, the Government are asking a lot of childcare providers and their staff and have to recognise this.

“There is a lot of fear and confusion about how safe nurseries are. Parents and staff need reassurance from the Government about the evidence behind the decision to keep nurseries open to all. A lot of work has gone into making nurseries as safe as possible but this reassurance needs to come from the highest level.

“Nurseries and early years providers cannot be hung out to dry. At the time when the Government and the country is asking the most of the sector – to remain open while all other education services are closed – they must support childcare settings. The short-sighted decision to cut early years funding to headcount only, must be reversed.

“With so many settings worried about the financial impact of higher running costs and reduced income more targeted support needs to be made available to prevent wide-scale closures.

“For months we have been calling for better access to testing for early years staff, and with schools now closed, these settings have to be a priority. We all know it’s impossible to distance from toddlers and babies who need close care and contact. Therefore early years staff must also be a priority for the vaccine to enable them to continue on the frontline providing support for families.

“Time and time again the early years sector have been asked to go above and beyond for children and to support working families. Ministers have to recognise the scale of what they are asking, support the sector and ensure nurseries can survive this lockdown.”

NDNA will be meeting with the Childcare Minister today and the Government’s scientific advisers later this week to press for more information on the evidence behind this decision and to make the case for more support to nurseries.

Sign the petition for England nurseries here and the petition for Wales nurseries here. 

See all NDNA coronavirus support for nurseries here