06 July 2020
The Minister for Education has approved £65,000 of funding to be paid to nurseries which provided care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children during the lockdown.
Senator Tracey Vallois took the decision, based on expert medical advice, to close most schools, colleges and nurseries from Monday 23 March to try to contain the spread of Covid-19. However, the Minister subsequently requested the partial re-opening of some nurseries and schools to help critical workers and vulnerable families with the childcare and education of their children.
To reflect the costs that were incurred to nurseries during this period of restricted re-opening, Senator Vallois has now confirmed that she will be making supplementary payments to cover expenses such as PPE and deep cleaning.
A flat rate payment will be made based on the size of the nursery; small nurseries will receive £5,000; medium nurseries £7,000 and large nurseries £9,000.
Explaining her decision, Senator Vallois said: "I am grateful to those nurseries that were able to open to provide this important support and also very aware of the impact this had on the staff and the sustainability of their business. Could I also offer my sincere thanks and recognition to each and every one of the staff who most certainly put children and families first and continued to work whilst feeling anxious and concerned about their own health and well-being.
"I am aware that increased costs were incurred by this group as a direct consequence of re-opening. Accordingly, I am pleased to confirm that I will be making supplementary payments to these nurseries to cover the incremental costs incurred during this phase of restricted opening.
"My sincere hope, as we progress through the stages of our Safe Exit strategy, is that nurseries along with schools, childminders, nannies, wraparound care providers and all that represent the early years sector will be able to bounce back to provide the strong delivery of care that existed before the pandemic."
Belinda Lewis, from the Committee of the Jersey Early Years Association, said: "We welcome the support of the Minister for Education and also her endorsement for the critical role the nursery staff played in supporting young children and their parents at the height of this pandemic.
"We are very proud of our workforce and their continued dedication to the children in our care."