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Petition Issue urgent guidance and voucher scheme to save baby & toddler activity sector

Baby and toddler groups are crucial for the wellbeing of new parents who are desperate for them to return after lockdown. Providers are struggling to reopen due to conflicting guidance. We call on government to issue targeted guidance and a voucher scheme for this overlooked sector.

More details

So far guidance has covered adult groups and children’s groups, but not 'parent & baby' activities. The advice is conflicting and class sizes unviable, especially with babies included in headcount. Bespoke guidance will enable businesses to return and save new parents from extended isolation.

In addition, smaller covid safe classes will be unaffordable for many parents, while Children's Centres remain closed. A voucher scheme would aid this sector's recovery and support postnatal mental health.

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Government responded

This response was given on 14 August 2020

Government has issued guidance to enable the reopening of community activities including baby and toddler groups and made available a range of financial support available to support businesses.

The Government remains committed to improving perinatal mental health services for new mothers and their partners. Since April 2019, new and expectant mothers have been able to access specialist perinatal mental health community services in every part of the country. Community health services have continued to provide support during the pandemic through greater use of digital and remote technologies, prioritising higher needs families.

Baby and toddler groups are important community facilities crucial to the wellbeing of new parents. Activities for young children and their families, such as baby and toddler groups, can operate provided they follow relevant government guidance, including guidance for community facilities which are now able to open for the provision of services for children and young people. Guidance on which premises and businesses are legally able to open can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close.

Baby and toddler groups should also have regard to, and where relevant, ensure they are following government guidance on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities. Ofsted registered early years providers should ensure they are following DfE guidance for early years and childcare providers, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Information on the range of support the government has made available to businesses can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Further information on business support for registered early years providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Given the guidance and support that has already been made available to enable community facilities and businesses including baby and toddler groups to reopen, the Government does not believe it is necessary to issue guidance or set up a voucher system specifically for the baby and toddler sector.

Department for Education

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