Over the past three months, childminders from across England have been giving their views on the true cost of providing childcare and the Government’s proposed 30 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds of working parents. Nearly half (40%) of the responses to the Government’s funding review consultation came from childminders.
In October, twenty PACEY members from all corners of the country travelled to London to meet with the funding review team at the Department for Education (DfE). The focus of the meeting was on the particular costs of running a childminding business. Childminders also had an opportunity to explain to policymakers how the 30 hours policy might affect them. The funding review team were impressed by the contribution from PACEY members and complimented them on their dedication and commitment to their work.
The success of the PACEY roundtable was also mentioned in a live interview broadcast recently by the charity 4Children with two officials from the Department for Education on the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours entitlement. In the broadcast, the DfE reiterated that childminders will be essential in delivering the government’s childcare policy. Officials said they are now actively looking for examples of providers working together to provide parents with a ‘blended seamless offer’ that fits around their working needs.
The Government has already committed to increasing the average rate paid to providers and childcare minister Sam Gyimah has now confirmed that the Department for Education with a team of consultants from Deloitte, will report back their findings from the review on 25 November, alongside the government's spending review.
A series of pilots to test the rollout of 30 hours is due to begin in September 2016, and the Government has asked for local authorities to volunteer to be ‘early implementers’. The DfE is advising interested childcare providers to contact their local authority to see if it has applied to be an early implementer.
The Childcare Bill has now moved from the House of Lords to the House of Commons. PACEY is continuing to work with government and opposition MP to raise concerns about adequate funding for the entitlement and other issues including the barriers that childcare providers face in delivering the free funded hours and the impact of the extension of the entitlement on disadvantaged children, as well as those with disabilities and special educational needs.
As always, PACEY will endeavour to keep you up-to-date on all developments related to the funding review and 30 hours policy. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.