Updated from DfE Early Years Stakeholder meeting

10th February 2021

Today, Childcare.co.uk attended a Department for Education Early Years Stakeholder meeting to discuss current early years issues.

Disappointingly, despite calls from the entire early years sector, including childminders, nannies and PVI settings, for in-house rapid testing and access to priority vaccinations, the DfE were unable to provide any information and timescales as to if or when this will happen.

Whilst community testing is in place for some providers in some areas, this is only accessible if providers can take time off work and frequently stand in queues, often for hours.

The DfE could not give any indication as to when the testing or vaccination situation for the early years sector might improve. The feeling is that we could be waiting months, not weeks, for a resolution.

The hold-up is allegedly with the Department for Health who are prioritising vaccine accessibility by age, not profession in the first phase.

Meanwhile, the DfE state that best practice guidance has been sent to local authorities, to support improved accessibility to testing for early years staff.

Our view is that if the DfE are really committed to raising morale and retaining early years provision for the future, they need to do much more, much faster.

We will continue to campaign and lobby for more protection and support for all early years workers and settings and will keep our members updated on the ongoing situation.

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