NHS staff and critical workers are being asked to contact Swindon Borough Council if they are struggling to find suitable childcare provision during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Last week the Department for Education issued guidance to parents asking them to keep their children at home, wherever possible, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

Schools, and all childcare providers were asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children, including those that are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Parents who are classed as key workers and who have not been able to secure childcare to enable them to carry out their critical roles should get in touch with the Council’s Education and Childcare teams as soon as possible.

There are more than 350 early years and childcare providers registered in Swindon ranging from childminders, preschools, nurseries, schools and holiday clubs. All are regulated by Ofsted to ensure the highest level of care will be provided for children aged from 0-14 years old.

The Council has been working with a number of these providers over the last week to ensure there is provision overnight and at weekends, including bank holidays.

Many providers have changed their registered opening hours to ensure Swindon’s critical workforce can continue to do their vital roles, while ensuring children are safe.

Councillor Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Education, said: “I would like to thank all our schools and childcare providers for their support in caring for the children of our key workers over the past week. It is very much appreciated and is allowing frontline staff in professions such as the NHS and social care, to continue to provide incredible support for those that need it.

“If there are any key workers who are still looking for suitable, safe childcare provision please get in touch with our Education and Childcare teams, who will be only too happy to help.”

Any parents who are not in a position to be able to safely leave their children at home should email the Council at: earlyeducation@swindon.gov.uk