Head of Tadpoles Nursey School: “in many cases our Early Years settings will no longer exist once this crisis is over”
Claire Dimpfl is the head of Tadpoles Nursery School, a private nursery school in Chelsea. Speaking with The Parliamentary Review, she discussed her current approach towards continuing early years education during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the government announcement to close all schools and early year settings during the coronavirus pandemic, Dimpfl introduced a plan to maintain the employment of her staff.
She said: “We realise that in many cases our Early Years settings will no longer exist once this crisis is over. Financially they will not survive.
“At Tadpoles, we began to work on and devise a programme that we could deliver remotely should we be forced to close and therefore instead of furloughing my 22 staff we are working hard to continue to deliver the Early Years curriculum remotely.”
Dimpfl continued, detailing the way in which she will cooperate with the parents of pupils throughout the pandemic. She noted that: “While in isolation, many parents will be using online programmes and screen time for their young children far more than they usually would and we need to be aware of and prepare for the effects of this in the long term too.”
The government’s relaxation of Universal Funding Entitlement has done little to quell Dimpfl’s concerns regarding operating costs amid the pandemic.
She notes: “The government have announced ‘relaxed’ rules on the Universal Funding Entitlement but seem to be unaware that in most private nurseries, this does not even cover half the costs and never has. I have enquired with my bank regarding a loan and a small business grant but have not heard back as yet – I am sure that they are swamped.
“We are working extremely hard as a team to ensure the ongoing education and care of all of those at Tadpoles and most of our parents are appreciative of this – the implications of those not paying their fees however, does have an adverse effect and we will need further financial assistance - we will survive this but there are other nurseries who are not so fortunate and I doubt that they will.”