Covid-19: Information for parents and carers about childcare settings during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated: July 2020

If you are a parent or carer, and you need advice or support about this, please email or call 0300 500 80 80

Many parents use childcare services for their children under the age of 5. As with schools, childcare providers were asked to close on 20 March 2020, apart from caring for vulnerable children and children of parents who are in critical jobs.

In May, the Government announced that they were asking all Early Years Providers to re-open to children from 1 June

We understand there is still some parental anxiety and confusion about this so we have prepared this factsheet to help.

Information from the Department of Education for parents and carers is also available: Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can more children now attend school and childcare settings?

Children attending nurseries and childminders were able to return from 1 June, and from 20 July early years providers can return to their usual practice without limiting group sizes.

The Government have said: We want to get all children back into education because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know it is good for children’s mental wellbeing to have social interactions with other children, carers and teachers.

What does the Government say about the latest scientific advice?

  • The prevalence of the virus has fallen.
  • The NHS Test and Trace system is up and running.
  • The scientific evidence shows that coronavirus (COVID-19) presents a much lower risk to children than adults.
  • Early years settings are on average much smaller than schools, allowing a less restrictive approach to mixing than in schools.

If my child is eligible, is it compulsory for them to attend early years provision?

Attendance in nurseries, childminders and other early years providers remains optional, but we strongly encourage you to take up a place for your child. You can check if your child is eligible for any of the free childcare entitlements, worth on average £2,500 a year to parents of 2 year olds, and up to £5,000 a year to parents of 3 and 4 year olds, on the Childcare Choices website.

How will risks to children, teachers and families be managed?

There is guidance and support both from the Government and locally to childcare settings on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings. From 20 July, early years settings will no longer be required to keep children in small, consistent groups within settings.

Approaches we are asking providers to take include:

  • carrying out a risk assessment
  • making sure that children do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus
  • promoting regular hand washing and promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach
  • cleaning more frequently
  • minimise mixing within settings e.g. where they use different rooms for different age groups, keeping those groups apart as much as possible.

How will attending an early years setting help my child’s development?

Nurseries, preschools and childminders are wonderful places for children to learn and have fun with friends, which supports their development and their overall wellbeing. Attending childcare can be an exciting and joyful experience for children and can also help provide a routine as they develop their social skills.

Early years education is an important stage for children where they can flourish and get the best start in life. If you have any questions you can email us at

For more information:

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