Council to fund continued childcare for key workers over Easter holidays

By Ben Fitzgerald - 3 April 2020

Pre-school & Childcare

Key workers fighting coronavirus on the frontline will be offered free childcare during the Easter holidays and May half-term.

Swindon Borough Council is providing funding for 24 hours of childcare per week (6 hours a day or as flexibly as required) to help key workers carry out their essential work during the ongoing crisis.

The Council is providing funding to childcare providers to enable them to stay open when they will be needed most, while at the same time keeping childcare staff in employment.

Information will be sent to all parents with children still in school to inform them if their school will be continuing to provide childcare over the Easter holidays. If the school is not providing childcare the parent can speak to the Council’s Education and Childcare team to make alternative care arrangements.

Parents who are classed as key workers and who have not been able to secure childcare to enable them to carry out their critical roles should get in touch with the Council’s Education and Childcare teams as soon as possible.

As long as one parent is classed as a key worker under the Government definition the family qualify for childcare through local schools and other local providers. However, children should be cared for at home wherever possible to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Many schools and childcare providers have stayed open during this period to provide childcare meaning not only are children of key workers cared for but they are kept in small groups to prevent spread of the virus.

The Council has been working with a number of these providers over the last week to ensure there is provision overnight, at weekends, during the school holidays and bank holidays.

One nursery, the Nursery of Narnia in Stratton, has offered to operate 24/7, providing childcare for key workers who may work night shifts.

This comes after the Government announced that free school meal vouchers will be made available directly through schools. Headteachers have been approached directly by the Government and will be reaching out to parents of children eligible for free school meals to distribute the vouchers.

Councillor Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Education, said: “On behalf of everyone in Swindon I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for the vital work that keyworkers are carrying out to save lives in these very difficult times. We are grateful to our schools and childcare providers who continue to step up to provide support for Swindon’s key workers.

“We have been able to keep most of our school and childcare providers open in Swindon and are carefully following government guidance to keep everyone safe.

“If there are any key workers who are still looking for suitable, safe childcare provision please get in touch with our Education and Childcare teams, who will be only too happy to help.”

Any parents who are not in a position to be able to safely leave their children at home should email the Council at: earlyeducation@swindon.gov.uk

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