NDNA Scotland has taken a snapshot survey of nurseries across Scotland as they are allowed to reopen from today.
Scotland, unlike England did not reopen its nurseries at the beginning of June but is carefully starting the process from today onwards. From the experience we have witnessed in England and Wales, there is always a drop in usual occupancy levels at the beginning but this is to be expected.
Overall, there are still massive concerns about the lack of funding across the sector. The survey indicates that a large number of nurseries will not reopen today.
Initial findings so far from NDNA Scotland’s snapshot survey:
- 91 responses received representing 148 nursery sites across Scotland
- 44% of settings have not reopened today but will remain closed until a future date
- 74% expect to operate at a loss for the coming three months
- 20% expect to just break even over the coming three months
- Across all sites that will be open, estimated occupancy is 40%
- 86% of respondents say that having to manage bubbles will impact on their staffing and that these requirements are making things less sustainable for providers in the long run.
Speaking about the reopening in Scotland, NDNA chief executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE said:
‘Today is an important date for providers and parents across Scotland. We know that for those re-opening their settings or welcoming more children back, staff teams will have put a lot of work into their preparations.
‘The number one priority for any nursery and childcare provider will be the safety and well-being of the children and their staff. They will have put lots of new measures in place such as new screens and hand sanitiser stations, and will ensure social distancing when parents drop off and pick up their children.
‘Working with smaller cohorts or “bubbles” of a maximum of eight children is another measure that’s been introduced. However, many providers still have concerns about whether they can re-open even though they are allowed to and a major question is whether than can make these small groups work. Managing these bubbles of eight means that providers are working at staffing levels which cannot be sustained.
‘Initial feedback from our snapshot survey this week so far suggests that a massive 74% will run at a loss over the coming three months with 20% only able to break even. This situation is clearly not sustainable for childcare businesses and could leave parents without places in the future if providers are forced to close.’