Half of nurseries open to children of COVID-19 key workers, study finds


Around half of nurseries in the UK are staying open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children, a new survey suggests.

Just 12 per cent of children are currently attending nursery. Picture: Adobe Stock
Just 12 per cent of children are currently attending nursery. Picture: Adobe Stock
Latest figures from the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) reveals that half of 2,570 early years providers polled said they had managed to stay open during the coronavirus crisis.

These nurseries would usually be educating and caring for almost 140,000 children are now looking after 16,236 children - about 12 per cent, the survey shows.

The government announced schools and nurseries would close to all children except those of key workers and those classed as vulnerable to slow the spread of the disease, known as COVID-19.

Almost three quarters (70 per cent) of nurseries are not charging parents any fees for children who do not attend during the period of closure. 

NDNA said that nurseries in the UK on average receive only 38 per cent of their income from government funding, however, some 17.5 per cent are having to charge parents or ask for voluntary contributions of up to 25 per cent so they can pay their overheads, the survey shows. 

Reasons given for asking for contributions include:
  • Funded childcare payments only covering a fraction of their costs
  • Cash flow issues caused by delay in government support schemes
  • Fixed costs such as rent, mortgages and utilities
  • Lack of insurance coverage for COVID-19 
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the NDNA, said: “Our new research illustrates how difficult life is for our nurseries in the UK as they try to help the national response to COVID-19. 

Read the full article from CYP Now here.

Author: Fiona Simpson, Children & Young People Now