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Uptake of 2-year-old offer

The Government has issued figures on the uptake of the 2-year-old early education programme in its first month of operation. The figures show that around 92,000 disadvantaged 2-year-olds are accessing 15 hours a week of fully funded childcare.

The Government’s full press release is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/92000-2-year-olds-already-receiving-free-childcare

You can read the BBC's report of this story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24914145

Nursery World have also published a report, here: http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/news/1140463/figures-reveal-extent

 

Responding to the announcement, Liz Bayram, PACEY Chief Executive, said:

‘This progress is great news for children and families. PACEY applauds the fact that that, so far, 70% of eligible families have signed up to receive the free entitlement for childcare for 2-year-olds. High quality childcare is essential to helping give all children the best start in life, especially children living in disadvantaged areas.

‘However, PACEY is concerned that the government have already noted that, in some areas, they may not have enough providers rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding to cover all the children entitled to the 2-year-old offer, and will have to utilise providers who are graded as ‘requiring improvement’. PACEY has consistently argued that the ability to deliver the free entitlement should be limited to good quality providers to ensure that vulnerable children are getting the best possible quality of care.

‘This is of even more concern given the emerging evidence that individual childminders are struggling to access funding through this scheme, as Local Authorities seem to show a preference for nursery settings to deliver this care, even if those settings might not be good or outstanding.  Many families benefit from the flexible, home based, service that childminders offer, so ensuring parents can make a real choice about the type of childcare that is right for them could only help increase uptake even further.

‘We know that where strong effective working partnerships between Local Authorities and childminders are in place, families have access to broader options for their childcare. We want to see this best practice approach become standardised across the country, and are keen to work with DfE and Local Authorities to maintain the momentum in this programme, and deliver high-quality childcare to as many families as possible.’