The Welsh Government has announced that the Childcare Offer will remain closed to new applicants until the autumn term.
The statement acknowledged that this will be disappointing for many families who wanted to access the Offer during the summer term. Furthermore, there will be another review of the position in August, with a view to reintroducing the Offer in September the Government deems it viable to do so.
It also stated that during the summer term, funded childcare for nursery aged children of key workers and vulnerable children will continue under the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme.
Speaking on the matter, NDNA chief executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE said:
‘The continuation of the funding of the Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (C-CAS) will be welcome news for many nurseries who are able to open for critical workers and vulnerable children. However the complexities of the funding can still leave some childcare businesses operating at a loss while delivering this important service.
‘The announcement from the Welsh Government that the Childcare Offer will not be continuing where children are unable to attend settings leaves these parents and providers with less than ten days to plan for the coming months. This delay has made a difficult situation worse for many settings.
‘Nurseries and other providers are gearing up towards wider reopening from 29 June but this announcement means some may lose funding over a week before that date. Providers are between a rock and a hard place where they might not be able to re-open but also lose out on support to remain sustainable.
‘Childcare businesses will be looking at months of reduced demand for places and increased operating costs as they bring in measures to keep children and staff safe. That’s why we need to see a transformation and recovery fund for the early years sector to help providers weather this storm and be there for families and children in the future.’