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Extended Services: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 131206, tabled on 17 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the closure of wraparound and holiday childcare services on the ability of key workers to attend work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

12 January 2021

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and so does not routinely collect data on the number of providers in operation.

However, ensuring sufficiency of childcare provision for critical worker parents and carers remains a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare providers, and other providers of out-of-school activities, can continue to remain open for the children of critical workers during the current national lockdown to allow critical worker parents or carers to work or to search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.?? Vulnerable children and young people can also continue to access wraparound childcare and other out-of-school settings during the national lockdown. The guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out of school settings during the COVID-19 outbreak will shortly be updated to outline the measures providers should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible if they continue to offer face-to-face provision during the national lockdown. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Schools may also continue to open up or hire out their premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, that offer provision to children of critical workers and/ or vulnerable children. We have also ensured that schools that operate their own breakfast and after school clubs can continue to run wraparound provision for those attending school full-time. Doing so, will support critical workers to undertake their jobs, and help to safeguard the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. We are encouraging schools that can, to maintain their wraparound childcare provision for this reason, and we will be publishing guidance to support them in doing so shortly.

The department has engaged and met with representatives from the wraparound childcare sector on a regular basis, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 and protective measures on the sufficiency of childcare provision, and will continue to do so. In addition, our Real-time assessment of community transmission (REACT) teams , comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places for the children of critical workers, and for vulnerable children and young people during the current national lockdown.