On Saturday 31 October the Prime Minister announced New National Restrictions, lasting from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Within the guidance, the government confirms that it will not be closing early years settings, schools, further education (FE) colleges or universities and sets out the following measures for early years childcare:

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare for the duration of the national restrictions:

  • early years settings and childminders remain open, and parents can continue to use these settings as normal
  • parents will be able to access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services in the home
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, which allows single adult households to join another household

Settings should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in guidance.

During the announcement on 31st October the Prime Minister announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended until the end of March 2021 (up to 80% of current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500). Early years providers’ access to the CJRS remains as published. The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended.

Business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to local authorities to enable them to support businesses more broadly.

On the subject of the extended CJRS, Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: “Extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of March is good news for employers because its replacement was due to be a much less generous scheme.

“However, the concern for nurseries is how to make sure they have the staff they need to be able to stay open. As we start to look to next year, our members are worrying about what the funding arrangements will be for the spring term and beyond. As the average nursery continues to have fewer children than usual, it’s vital that the government gives certainty that settings won’t lose out on funding because of the pandemic. This clarity is needed now and can’t be left until the last minute.

“Childcare providers are having to find higher operating costs to keep their nurseries safe, but lower demand has decimated their income. NDNA has been lobbying for transitional funding and a longer term review of rates that reflect actual costs.”

The full guidance on how the new national restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) impact education, childcare and children’s social care settings as published on the official government website can be found here.

The new national restrictions from 5 November (in full) can be found here.

 

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