Around a quarter of early years providers still closed, research suggests
Monday, June 15, 2020
Around a quarter (24 per cent) of nursery and pre-school settings remained closed in the week beginning 1 June, despite the Government giving the go-ahead for opening early years provision to all children, a report by independent sector analysts Ceeda has found.
The most common reason given for settings remaining closed was depressed demand (47 per cent), followed by concern about health risks to staff (29 per cent) and children (23 per cent).
The data was collected from 451 nursery and pre-school settings. Of the 76 per cent of those that opened, occupancy averaged 38 per cent with the number of children attending averaging 24.
PVI Nursery and Pre-school Operating Status week commencing 1 June
The picture was similar for childminders with slightly less than a quarter (23 per cent) not opening during the week commencing 1 June out of a total of 387 childminders giving feedback. Of the 77 per cent that opened average occupancy of 36 per cent was very similar to that reported by nurseries and pre-schools. Due to the nature of provision, child numbers were considerably lower and averaged 3.43 across all open settings.
More than half (57 per cent) of childminders that remained closed were chiefly concerned about risk to their own, or their family’s, health. For 44 per cent of these it was due to underlying health conditions. There was also concern about the potential risks for children attending the provision (40 per cent).
Childminder operating status week commencing 1 June
Ceeda noted that financial barriers to opening were evident for childminders. More than two-fifths (45 per cent) of childminders remaining closed felt that reopening was currently financially unviable.
Early years settings were also asked to report the incidence of positive Covid-19 tests for staff and children attending in the week commencing 25 May. No positive tests were reported in the nursery, pre-school or childminder settings surveyed.
The study forms part of the About Early Years research programme. It is funded by the Early Years Alliance, CACHE, Connect Childcare and Bertram Nursery Group, and is supported by Nursery World, PACEY, NDNA, LEYF and other leading sector organisations. It continues from the lockdown series and forms part of a wider programme of work, including research with self- employed childminders and setting owners.
- To take part go to: https://www.aboutearlyyears.co.uk/covid-19-panel/