Coronavirus: Pre-school Education

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 6th January 2021.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling parent and child groups for pre-school age children to continue during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Reducing social contact is the most important factor in driving down transmission. However, the Government knows that rules about social distancing are difficult for everyone, especially those with young children.

Support groups for new parents can continue to be held, as can support groups for new parents in community settings, such as a place of worship, community centre or hall, or library, that are essential to deliver in person. These groups can continue with up to 15 participants where the purpose is to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. Where these are held in Ofsted registered settings, they should follow Government guidance on COVID-19 for early years and childcare providers which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

Informal groups, such as those organised by a parent, need to comply with the gathering and household mixing rules. In practice during the period of national restrictions this means these groups should only meet virtually.

When national restrictions apply, in determining the limit of 15 participants, children under the age of five are not counted towards the limit.

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