The number of 2-year-olds eligible for 15 hours of free
childcare a week from a local provider will double from 130,000 to
260,000 in less than two weeks. But local authorities aren’t
An investigation by CYP Now has revealed that many authorities
are not prepared for the increase in free childcare places for
2-year-olds, and more than half will be unable to provide all
disadvantaged 2-year-olds with access to free childcare from 1
Of the 131 authorities that responded to the
investigation, 53.44 per cent said they won’t secure enough places
before the deadline.
That’s a shortfall of 34,854 places from the
report. And it could be even larger as councils have not yet rated
1,499 of the earmarked settings.
Liz Bayram, PACEY chief executive,
"These findings are rightly concerning; as
we know that high quality childcare provision is crucial in helping
children, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to have the
best possible start in life.
“PACEY is clear that more can be done to
tackle this gap in provision. We need to see greater recognition
from government and local authorities of the early learning
opportunities that all high quality childcare settings provide,
including registered childminders who continue to be
under-utilised. Not all disadvantaged 2-year-olds are best placed
in school-based nurseries and we are concerned there is a growing
focus on schools as the only solution. There also needs to be more
effort to help parents recognise the choice of high quality
childcare available to them, and to ensure this is accessible.
“At the moment, for instance, some local
authorities do not adequately recognise the role that childminders
play, with many of these settings having difficulties accessing the
necessary free entitlement funding and so limiting choice for
parents. And of course it is also important to ensure appropriate
funding levels that cover the full cost of delivery so settings can
invest in quality improvement.”
Read the full story from CYP Now here.