State-funded nurseries cut services due to COVID funding crisis, report says
Government-funded nurseries face a crisis that threatens their survival, according to a survey by leading unions and charities.
One third of nurseries maintained, financed and controlled by local authorities, reduce staff and services due to coronavirusand the uncertainty about the funding they will receive in the next school year, according to the survey.
They lose an average of £ 70,000 in income, but have to spend an additional £ 8,000 for the additional costs related to COVID, according to the survey from Early Education, NAHT, NEU and UNISON.
But as they are managed by the local authorities, the nurseries maintained are not eligible COVID-19[female[feminine relief programs that help the private sector. And unions say they have had little to no access to the additional COVID funds provided to schools.
“What has happened is that there have been incentives to support schools and to support the private early childhood sector, but the sustained sector fell into the gap and as a result we were challenged financially by the fact that a large portion of our COVID costs “were not paid for by any incentives,” said Cathy Earley, principal of Greenacre Community School in Bootle.
She said the work she and her staff did during the pandemic went far beyond the classroom.
“We were a lifeline and we picked up on situations families found themselves in. So if the families would isolate themselves and have no one to do the shopping or could not get a Tesco delivery we would help with that, sometimes single parents isolating themselves with their families were alone. And sometimes we were the only voice on the end of the phone. “
The maintained nurseries are located in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country. Beatrice Merrick, Executive Director of Preschool Education, insists that a reduction in their services would have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable children.
She said: “The preschools that are maintained have a really unique role, they specialize in early childhood with a much higher level of expertise among their staff, so they have a special role to play in supporting children with special needs. special education and disabilities.
“And very often, they support children that other local settings don’t have the expertise and facilities to accommodate.”
She added: “If the preschools weren’t there, these kids might not have another place to go.”
Lucy Kavanagh’s two young children have free places in a well-maintained nursery, which allowed the young mother to attend college and embark on a career as a midwife.
“If I didn’t have access, I would have to drop out and I wouldn’t be able to go to college. It would have an impact on the lives of my children, ”Lucy told Sky News.
“Even in a time when it was lockdown and I wasn’t in college, I was able to send my kids, so I was very lucky, because if I had the kids in the home with me while still zooming online, as a team, doing my college job. I just couldn’t have done it and I wouldn’t have had the grades to go to college either.