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Nurseries will close without more support during coronavirus
Early Years Alliance says government’s protective measures do not go far enough

Coronavirus : Parents shocked as nurseries demand full fees despite being closed during pandemic.

Cash-strapped families hit with bills of hundreds of pounds a month – even though children now have to stay at home.

Nurseries that have demanded cash-strapped families continue to pay full fees, despite being closed to all but children of essential workers, have been accused of trying to profit from the coronavirus crisis.

Parents expressed shock after early-years centres told them they must continue to make full payments – often running to more than £1,000 a month – or risk losing places when they fully reopen.

The demand constitutes a double hit for many families where at least one parent has had to reduce work hours in order to look after toddlers now forced to be kept at home.

Lack of childcare ‘forcing key workers to stay home’.

Key workers say they are being forced to take time off work because they do not have access to childcare.

Schools, nurseries and childminders were told to close their doors last week to all except vulnerable children and the children of key workers, such as NHS staff and delivery drivers.

But many nurseries say staying open for such small numbers of children has not been financially viable.

They also say staff need better protection from the coronavirus.

The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) estimates around half of nurseries have completely closed for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

But for key workers who need childcare, the closures have meant having to take time off to look after their children.

Lack of childcare 'forcing key workers to stay home' - BBC News

Coronavirus : ‘I was asked for £430 a month for my shut nursery’

When Farrah Sharif, 30, was told she would have to continue paying 80% of her two-year-old son’s nursery fees to hold his place in the coming months, she was confused.

Like millions of other parents she had already taken him out of their east London nursery because of government guidelines, so she didn’t feel she should pay anything.

"We asked them whether they would be applying for the government’s worker retention scheme and the other financial support, but they were really unclear.

“Lots of parents complained and they said they would drop the fees by another 40%, but we still didn’t feel that was right. So we said we would pay for March and then review the situation.”

To her surprise the nursery emailed her back and said it was taking her son Zayn off the register, suggesting she had been ungrateful.

“I was really upset, I felt my son was being penalised for something beyond his control,” she says.

Since 21 March, UK nurseries have only been allowed to serve the children of key workers, leaving many almost empty and forcing some to temporarily shut.

But some parents are still being asked to carry on paying some or all of their monthly fees as a retainer to hold their child’s place, with bills stretching to more than £1,000 in some cases.

Coronavirus: 'I was asked for £430 a month for my shut nursery' - BBC News