PACEY has submitted evidence to the Department for Education as part of its call for evidence on the cost of providing childcare in England.
The Government is currently reviewing funding ahead of the expansion of free childcare to 30 hours a week for 3-and 4-year-olds of working parents. It has already committed to increase the average rate paid to providers.
PACEY has long called for a review of the level of funded early years education (EYE) places so that it addresses the current shortfall and fully supports a diverse, high quality childcare offer for families.
PACEY members have told us that they are concerned not just about the level of funding, but also about a range of additional barriers many of them face in delivering the EYE entitlement, including inflexible payment procedures and red tape. For many childminders, the ban on claiming the free entitlement for related children is also a significant barrier.
In our submission, which incorporated a wide range of views and feedback from PACEY members gathered over the past year, we also set out a list of measures which we believe will facilitate the delivery of the entitlement, including:
- More competitive hourly rates
- Improved payment and administration systems
- Better information to increase demand
- A removal on the ban on claiming the free entitlement for related children
In addition, we have repeated our calls for a regular assessment of childcare provider finances and a workforce strategy that supports everyone working in childcare and early years to continuously improve their skills and supports pathways for career progression.
The results of the review are due to be published in November when the Childcare Bill is back in Parliament.