Leading nursery management software firm Connect Childcare has conducted a survey to assess the confidence among Early Years (EY) childcare providers about reopening their setting on 1 June.
Of the 634 respondents, it has emerged that only 13% of EY practices across the UK are confident to safely open their doors again next week – with 27% also stating they don’t feel confident in managing their workforce.
In addition, 61% stated they were unconfident or unsure about bringing employees back from furlough, and only 19% were confident about organising staffing ratios.
In response to the Government declaring EY settings will open in June, and extending the country-wide furlough support – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – until October 2020, Connect Childcare is launching StaffPlan, a personnel management tool designed to help nurseries navigate their staff returning to work post-lockdown.
Commenting on the survey results and new product release, Chris Reid – CEO of Connect Childcare – said: “When the Government announced the reopening EY childcare services, we decided to conduct our own research into how the sector is feeling about resuming some form of ‘normality’.
“And the numbers show that there is definitely a concern for safety from across the board.
“Before COVID-19, the industry was already feeling the pressure from underfunding and depleting staffing levels, but now it has additional challenges to face. Nurseries are responsible for ensuring their settings run as smoothly and safely as possible, and the numbers indicate they’re in need of greater direction and support to make the transition less daunting.”
Connect’s StaffPlan tool enables practice managers to manage complex staffing requirements from a single, centralised record in real time – without the need for multiple spreadsheets.
“The survey results show the great uncertainty nursery settings have around effectively managing their practices in June. We want to help make their return to work as headache-free as possible – equipping them with the insights to see where employees are needed, based on ratios, plus who is available and what their current circumstances are.”
Other findings from the study revealed 39% of those surveyed are fairly confident or confident about looking after children in line with the Government’s updated guidance.
“Staff will also be able to set their own suitability requirements and preferences – including favoured site, qualification levels, children familiarity and employees hourly rate – giving greater transparency over their people and reducing the need for contracting more expensive agency workers,” Chris added.
Other findings from the study also reported that 60% of practitioners are not confident or are unsure about managing the physical and mental wellbeing of their workforce.
To support childcare providers during this time, Connect is offering StaffPlan free of charge until 31 October 2020.
For a full breakdown of Connect Childcare’s survey results, please find out more here.