Commenting on the report by EPI and the NDNA, COVID-19 pandemic and the early years workforce, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“This report does not come as a surprise to the NEU. When primary and secondary schools were closed earlier this year in January due to the pandemic it was clear from the scientific evidence and advice from SAGE that nurseries should also have been closed, except for key worker and vulnerable children, to help prevent the continuing spread of the virus within society. As a result of ignoring this advice many settings had to close completely and staff were put at risk unnecessarily.
'Existing financial pressures made worse by the pandemic and the volatility surrounding funding during the pandemic has now pushed many settings over the edge and it is not surprising that the sector is raising the alarm. As the report indicates, lack of sufficient funding from the Government will lead to many nurseries closing.
'Access to good quality early years education vastly improves future educational attainment and the life chances of those pupils and can significantly improve social mobility. Government needs to ensure sufficient funding and resources for maintained nursery schools and the early years sector to ensure every child has access to good quality early years education. Failure to do so is jeopardising the education of millions of children."