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Essential but undervalued: Early years care & education during COVID-19

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Hardy, K., Tomlinson, J., Norman, H., Cruz, K. , Whittaker, X. & Archer, N.
Publication Date: 
23 Feb 2022

Excerpts from introduction

This project was funded by the ESRC as part of the UK Research & Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19. The aims of the study were to:

• Explore how the pandemic has disrupted the early years education & childcare sector across England and Wales

• Understand how providers and parents are managing these disruptions and what this might mean for the safety and sustainability of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)

The project was made up of four work packages: nursery managers and childcare practitioners; childminders and nannies; parents and grandparents; comparative policy framework case studies. Two waves of longitudinal data collection took place.

Surveys were collected between JanuaryMarch 2021 (Wave 1) and August-October 2021 (Wave 2). Participants were asked about ‘a typical week in December 2020’ (in Wave 1) and ‘a typical week in July 2021’ (in Wave 2). For the qualitative data, interviews took place between November 2020 and February 2021 (Wave 1) and July and October 2021 (Wave 2). In the first wave, discussions focused on the first 9-12 months of the pandemic, and the second wave, which was approximately 6 months later, focused on the time that had elapsed since the first interview, capturing long-term or enduring trends. I