A third of nurseries in the most disadvantaged areas may be forced to close down permanently due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report has warned.
The report from the Sutton Trust found 34% of early years providers in the most deprived areas are unsure about their future, compared to 24% in the least deprived.
Nearly seven out of ten (69%) expect to operate at a loss over the next six months, while 42% expect to make redundancies
The Trust is calling for a £88m package of support for the early years sector, in line with the support announced for schools in June. This includes a one-off boost to Early Years Pupil Premium funding for the next year and transition funding to protect early years providers in the coming months.
Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: 'The coronavirus crisis is having a devastating impact on the early years sector, with many nurseries and pre-schools facing closure. This will inevitably have a long-lasting impact on children’s early development. Parents will struggle to find a place for their child. This will affect their ability to go to work.
'Now is the time, when the world has been turned upside down, to prioritise support for children and families. Crucially the government must introduce a package of support to protect early years providers and enable them to stay solvent.'