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Sam Gyimah open letter

The childcare minister Sam Gyimah has published an open-letter to schools outlining Government reforms making it easier for schools to offer nursery provision, including places for two-year-olds. 

PACEY chief executive Liz Bayram comments:

"Whilst we recognise that school-based childcare offers valuable support for some families, government must ensure, through equitable funding and support to other types of childcare settings, that parents' ability to choose the childcare most suited to their child remains. We know many families will not want their two year old in a school, no matter how high quality the care offered. We also know, from DfE's own research, that most primary schools don't plan to provide early years care.

“PACEY remains concerned that an over focus on school-based care and easing of regulation for schools could potentially undermine the sustainability of other types of childcare. Ultimately this may mean a real risk of removing the choice parents currently have.

"It is good to see the government's focus on encouraging partnerships between schools and private, voluntary and independent childcare providers. Delivering this in reality will be challenging. More needs to be done to support  schools and childcare settings to value each other's contributions to children's education and wellbeing and make the practicalities of working in partnership easier. Part of this is maintaining the level playing field between schools and other EYFS provision.

“These proposals will do the opposite, by allowing schools to provide for two-year-olds within their overall Ofsted school registration. Some important questions still need answering. What will this change mean for child:adult ratios and qualification requirements in this provision? Will the school inspectors have the early years experience to assess two year old provision? Ultimately the standards required of school based provision will need to be the same as for early years settings, to help parents to recognise quality and make an informed choice.”

(News image copyright Chrysoulla Kyprianou)