One in six nurseries and childminders could close by Christmas if their income doesn’t increase, according to a new survey.
The survey by the Early Years Alliance of more than 2,000 nurseries, pre-schools and childminders carried out in early October found that figure could rise to one in four in the most deprived communities.
It also revealed that only a quarter of early years providers expect to make any profit between now and March next year.
The survey shows that occupancy levels have fallen by a fifth (21%) compared to this time last year, despite being allowed to open to non-key worker / vulnerable children since June.
And around two-thirds (65%) say that the government hasn’t provided enough support for the sector during the pandemic.
The Alliance has called on ministers to establish a £240m emergency fund to help early years providers through the winter months.
‘There is absolutely no excuse for the government’s continued indifference towards the early years sector,’ said Alliance chief executive, Neil Leitch.
‘It claims that children’s access to education during the pandemic is a top priority, and yet it is apparently perfectly happy to see thousands of early education providers fall by the wayside. It argues that safeguarding the economy is critical to the country’s recovery, but chooses to ignore the fact that there can be no recovery without a functioning early years sector providing the quality care that parents and families need.
‘Quality early years provision is a central part of our social infrastructure, and should be treated as such. It’s not too late for the government to show that it recognises the value of the sector – both to the young children who benefit from quality early education, and the parents, and particularly mothers, who benefit from accessible care – and make the investment needed to safeguard the many thousands of providers in desperate need of support,’ added Mr Leitch.
Photo Credit – Creative Magic (Pixabay)