Competing UK nursery operators have joined forces to tackle the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes as nurseries, schools and universities across the UK have closed in an attempt to contain the virus and the early years sector has called for further help from the government amid the crisis, which could force some operators to shut their doors permanently.
Amid the crisis, some early years providers and schools remain open to care for children of key workers.
During the first meeting on 19 March, the UK Childcare COVID19 Crisis Working Group discussed how to manage a nursery with only a small proportion of children attending, the lobbying efforts to help the early years sector during the pandemic and the inconsistencies in the approach of insurers in covering nurseries.
The group, which consists of more than 15 nursery providers and industry bodies, was formed to connect the sector amid the crisis to share experiences and advice, for example around insurance, policy and emergency relief measures, and approaches to navigating through the pandemic.
Sarah Steel, managing director of the Old Station Nursery, who facilitated the working group, said: “During this really difficult time we are all doing what we think is best and what will work, but need friends and colleagues to turn to for a sense check and some reassurance that we are on the right lines.
“We all want to do the best for the children in our care and for our amazing staff teams, so I think this forum can facilitate many conversations and will be really useful – both internally and externally.”
The group unites leading nursery operators Bright Horizons, Busy Bees, Kiddi Caru, Old Station Nursery, Fennies, Kids Planet, Seymour House, Toad Hall, Poppy and Jacks, Childbase, Snapdragons, Three Little Birds, N Family Club, All About Children, Kido and Tops Day Nurseries, as well as The Early Years Alliance and the National Day Nurseries Association.
The forum, which will plans to convene regularly, is chaired by London-based education consultancy firm Cairneagle Associates.
Date published: 27 March 2020