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Achieving 2 year old meeting

PACEY attended Achieving 2-year-olds: National Network Meeting on 6 June 2013 in London. It was a very successful day where we met lots of local authorities at our stand and discussed how we can work in partnership with them to provide support and training to childcare professionals and support them in the delivery of the free entitlement for 2-year-olds.

Speakers included Tom Jeffery, Director General Children’s Services and Departmental Strategy, David Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of Foundation Years: Early Education and Funding Division, and keynote speaker during the event was Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare.

Speaking about the challenges around meeting the Government targets for the 2-year-old offer, Truss was clear that the newly established rates of funding for delivering 2-year-old places would mean an additional premium of around £475 a year on the average hourly cost of a childcare place - a premium which it was hoped would attract more qualified childcare professionals, to ensure that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children most at need would benefit from a higher level of quality care. She also mentioned that the rate of 2-year-old funding was intended to move to participation funding from 2015.

Truss used the opportunity to reiterate her aims set out in More Great Childcare, including the need for a higher standard of qualification for new entrants into the childcare workforce, in the form of the Early Years Educator qualification, the content of which she stated would be annouced soon.

She also discussed at length the reasoning behind the current consultation on local authority responsibility. Truss was clear that it is not her intention to cut local authority support for the early years, simply to remove certain statutory responsibilities relating to monitoring. It was clear that the Government agenda is for local authorities to focus less on Quality Improvement (which she implied that Ofsted would be more involved in providing), and more on ensuring sufficency of childcare provision and supporting providers in areas of deprivation. 

Local authorities were also reminded that childminders are currently under-used with regard to delivery of funded places, and that they would be key to delivery on Government targets. Home-based settings represent an ideal respite for the most vulnerable children, giving them an opportunity to experience what an encouraging home environment should be like.

Find out more about PACEY's Quality Partners membership or call 0845 880 0044 for more information.