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Nurseries: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 58791, tabled on 11 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the need for nurseries to hire extra staff to comply with Government guidance on social distancing in order to reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

17 June 2020

On 24 May, we published a planning guide to provide information and support for all early years providers in England as they prepared to open for all children. This planning guide was co-produced with experienced senior leaders and sector representatives and is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-early-years-and-childcare-settings.

Unlike older children and adults, children in early years cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years, we have taken this into account. Settings should keep children in consistent small groups and work through the hierarchy of controls set out in our guidance, which include minimising contact and mixing.

If demand for places is higher than the setting’s capacity when measures to allow physical distancing between groups are in place, it may be necessary to have a temporary cap on numbers of children attending the setting. Solutions might involve working with the local authority to support children attending a nearby setting on a consistent basis.