Nursery workers feel 'abandoned' says Professor Tomlinson
Professor Jennifer Tomlinson featured in a Guardian article on 28 January 2021 discussing the risks posed to early-years workers, who continue to work without PPE or priority to receive the vaccine.
The Guardian article highlights the paradox that early-years workers are simultaneously treated as both ‘indispensable and disposable’, as nurseries continue to remain open for all children, and staff work to provide care and education without PPE, access to regular testing or vaccine priority. The article reports that an estimated one in 10 nursery and pre-school staff have contracted Covid-19 since the start of December, some having died as a result.
The article discusses research undertaken in a major project involving Dr Kate Hardy, Professor Jennifer Tomlinson and Dr Xanthe Whittaker together with the University of Bristol, investigating the impact of Covid-19 on early years education provision. The project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and UK Research and Innovation reports on a ‘fractured and volatile early-years care system’ on ‘the brink of collapse’ – with the government only providing financial support for nuseries closures due to enforced isolation rather than staff health and safety concerns. Many private nurseries face closure due to falling attendance and the inability to pay for fixed costs such as rent and staff salaries.