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Childcare bubbles – what’s allowed in tier 2 lockdown?

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With half-term for most schools set to start next week, and with news that London, Essex, York, Chesterfield and parts of Surrey, Derbyshire and Cumbria are to join tier 2 lockdown from midnight Friday, parents are scrambling to find information about whether their childcare arrangements will be affected. 

The good news is, according to the government guidelines, informal childcare arrangements are still possible despite the new tier system. Families are allowed to form “childcare bubbles” with relatives to help look after children so parents can continue work.

There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups. This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.

The following people can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens:

  • registered childcare providers, including nannies
  • people in your support bubble
  • people in your childcare bubble

What is a childcare bubble?

According to the government’s website, a childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must always be between the same 2 households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.

The Freelance Informer previously reported on the trend of parent podding and how educational support bubbles were being created for working and self-employed parents with children.

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