Coram Family and Childcare News

Early years organisations have criticised the Government for its response to a recent Petitions Committee report on the impact of Covid-19 on parental leave and childcare. The committee's report, published in July, made several recommendations on steps the Government should take to support new parents, including extending parental leave and pay for families by three months during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring that the childcare sector has sufficient funding to provide the care needed for parents to return to work, both in the short- and long-term. However, in a response published on Wednesday, the Government stated that it is ‘still not persuaded that there is a need to extend entitlements to paid Maternity Leave at this time’ and hopes that ‘employers will encourage their staff to make full use of the suite of entitlements to time off work that is available to them’. Read more on Nursery World

A new item in The Independent features the collaborative report recently published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies in partnership with Coram Family and Childcare, Frontier Economics, the University of Birmingham and the University of Surrey. The study found that while childcare settings were allowed to open to all children from the start of June, by the start of summer holidays demand for childcare places remained 70 per cent below pre-crisis levels.

Monday night’s episode of BBC Panorama, ‘Fighting for an education’, was a hard-hitting look at how SEND children and their families are being failed by the system. It highlighted cases of children across the country being denied the education they are entitled to, others where families have been denied assessment for extra support, other children wrongly assessed, and families offered money to move to other areas.

Following the Panorama episode, The Guardian has published an editorial on special educational needs and calls for councils to receive more funding to support children with SEND. Amid signs that thousands of pupils at special schools may not be able to return to school this Autumn, teachers and parents fear they have been forgotten about. The piece calls on Gavin Williamson to increase funding: “By creating a new system and not funding it properly, ministers put councils and families in an impossible position. Now Mr Williamson must take the case for new funding to the Treasury and find ways of providing more active oversight.”

The Telegraph reports on a new global survey by Save The Children which has revealed the devastating impact of the pandemic on the education of children from poorer backgrounds, with eight in ten children surveyed saying they have learned little or nothing while schools have been closed. Meanwhile violence at home doubled, with the reported rate at 17% compared to 8% when the child was attending school in person. The pandemic is also “widening the gap between rich and poor” according to the survey which was conducted with 25,000 children and caregivers across 37 countries.

Fatigue, headache and fever are the most common symptoms of coronavirus in children, with few developing a cough or losing their sense of taste or smell, researchers have found, adding to calls for age-specific symptom checklists. While a third of the children who tested positive showed no symptoms – adding weight to other work showing many infections are asymptomatic – the team say those who did showed a different set of symptoms than adults. Read more in The Guardian.

A new study from National Audit Office finds that poorer children are twice at risk of obesity than their well-off peers. The 60-page study warns: “It is not clear that the Department of Health and Social Care’s current programme will be able to make the step change needed in the timescale available.” The study cites a Government estimate that obesity costs the NHS £6.1billion a year – soaring to £27billion when the cost to wider society was taken into account. Britain has one of the highest child obesity rates in Western Europe with a fifth of 10- to 11-year-olds are obese. Read more in The Daily Mirror.

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