Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Brent Council's lead member for education shares union concerns over opening of early years settings

Following this weekend's letter to Brent Council from the National Education Union  LINK expressing strong fears about the safety of fully opening early years settings, Cllr Tom Stephens made the following statement:

I fully share the concerns which have been raised, by the NEU, GMB and others, about the Government’s position on the opening of early years settings. The Government has failed to set out the scientific basis of closing primary schools to face-to-face teaching whilst keeping early years settings open. 

The decision to fund early years settings based on attendance this term also needs to be urgently reversed. Settings should be given the funding they need to sustain them throughout this crisis, based on their 2019 attendance. These twin issues have put early years settings under a period unprecedented pressure and confusion.  

Guidance on the opening of these settings is set nationally and not locally, and is a matter for each relevant governing board. 
Given this, Brent Council is regularly and actively engaging with unions and schools to support them in developing robust risk assessments and management arrangements, as we have done throughout this crisis. 

The council will continue to support settings in developing these. Given the current context, this is the best way of navigating these issues in a way which supports schools, staff and children.

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