Director of Fun Foundations: we have “been really well supported by our local authority”
The government decision to close schools and nurseries as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has proven controversial in recent days, with leading scientists voicing concerns that the decision may not have enough impact to merit the level of public inconvenience. The Parliamentary Review spoke with Amy Ferguson, founder and director of Fun Foundations, on the impact of coronavirus on the childcare sector.
The introduction of the furlough scheme, in which the government will pay up to 80 per cent of employees’ wages to the sum of £2,500 is something Ferguson deems unhelpful. She said: “When furlough was announced we felt relieved at some support from the government. Although a new process and slightly complicated, we felt that it would help us maintain our staffing. Unfortunately, it was announced last week that all staff will still accrue leave when on furlough. If we furlough twelve staff for up to six months that would mean liability of approximately 276 days of leave as we also have to cover anybody that is on leave due to ratios.
“This would be impossible to sustain so we have to make the decision to make redundancies. We originally knew that there would be some as the business will not grow during the crisis and all know that we had 25 per cent of our children due to leave for school in September. We have had to double the number of redundancies to six.”
In spite of problems with the government’s furloughing scheme, Ferguson said that Fun Foundations have “been really well supported by our local authority. They have been in contact regularly and have kept us updated in all changes that Welsh Government have made, of which there have been a few. We have also already received our grant. The application process was super-efficient and payment reflected how well they have dealt with the crisis.”
Her comments follow the government praising the work of the early years sector, noting that: “We appreciate the selfless dedication that childcare staff demonstrate in their work every single day. During this difficult time, we are asking you to go further still so that we can collectively address the challenges we face. You are vital to the country’s response to this crisis, and we offer our full support and gratitude during this difficult time.”