Out of school and holiday clubs to resume from 4 July

Formal childcare and wraparound care for school-aged children including provisions held in community centres, libraries, playgrounds and social clubs can begin to reopen a week on Saturday after Boris Johnson announced the two metre social distancing rule would be reduced to two metres apart "where possible" or "one metre plus" elsewhere. Some early years leaders have welcomed the reopening of holiday clubs and wraparound care, calling such provision a "lifeline" for working parents. However, others have called on the government to offer more support to childcare providers facing financial hardship and at risk of closure due to the pandemic. 

Purmina Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: "The guidance for early years acknowledges that young children cannot socially distance from each other but relaxing the 2m rule should help manage staff and their staff rooms. "For many childcare providers, the fact that they can offer wraparound and holiday childcare provision from 4 July is something we have been pushing for and could make the difference between these businesses remaining sustainable or having to close their doors for good." She added: "NDNA has been lobbying the government for clarity on wraparound care as many nurseries have been offering this throughout lockdown for critical workers' children.

"It's also a lifeline to working parents who can go back to their usual working patterns and work through the long summer holidays." Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance said the changes are "likely to have little impact on the challenges facing the early years sector". He added: "Although childcare providers are required to keep children in small, consistent groups, and to minimise the interaction between these groups, they were never expected to keep children two metres apart.

"As such, while current government guidance on group sizes remains in place, nurseries, pre-schools and childminders will continue to face restrictions on the number of places they are able to offer.

Add to this the fact that many providers are facing a significant reduction in the demand for places from parents, and it's clear that the childcare sector is likely to struggle financially over the coming months.

"There is no doubt that ensuring the safety of children and staff has to be a priority - but it is also vital that government recognises the pressure that providers who are following government guidance are facing at the moment, and provides the necessary financial support to ensure that they can stay in business."

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