In order to control the spread of COVID-19, early years providers were initially only open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
From 1 June, early years providers have been able to welcome back children of all ages and since 20 July, they have been able to return to their normal group sizes. This paves the way for more children to transition back to their early education and support parents to return to work.
The department has provided detailed guidance for early years providers to support them to welcome back more children and implement the required protective measures:
On 20 July, we announced our commitment to continue paying local authorities for the childcare places they usually fund throughout the autumn term. This means that providers who are caring for fewer children can continue to be funded at the same levels as before the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities will also continue to fund providers which have been advised to close, or left with no option to but close, for public health reasons. These measures give another term of secure income to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the early years sector has also been able to access a wider package of government support in the form of a business rates holiday, business interruption loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Full details of the support available can be found at: