The Childcare Minister, Sam Gyimah MP, addressed representatives of the early years at the Nursery World Business Summit yesterday to applaud the achievements of the early years sector and to set out his vision for what he called ‘a golden age of childcare’.
PACEY members, staff and volunteers have been meeting with the funding review team over the autumn to discuss the costs of delivering childcare. The Childcare Minister has now announced that the results of the funding review will be delivered alongside the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 25 November. He also reiterated his promise outlined in a policy statement last month to support a workforce development strategy.
He told attendees of the Nursery World Business Summit: “Because the workforce is the biggest asset in the childcare sector, having the right people with the right skills and being able to deploy them in the best ways will make a huge difference to outcomes.”
The Minister attended a roundtable early this month alongside leaders of early years organisations. In his speech yesterday he reiterated his commitment to work with the sector on developing the strategy to support workforce.
Responding to Sam Gyimah’s speech, Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, said:
“We welcome the Minister’s commitment to support the early years workforce and his recognition that registered childminders have an important role to play in delivering the 30 hours.
"Our Building Blocks research highlighted that the workforce is at tipping point, with one in five unsure whether they will be working in childcare in the next year. For government to achieve its ambitious target to double the free entitlement for three- and four-year olds, it must take bold steps to support childcare professionals to stay and progress in their profession.
"The investment in the 30 hours offer must include support for practitioners to continuously develop the skills and knowledge they need to do the best for the children in their care. We look forward to sharing our ideas with the Minister on how the sector can work together with government to achieve this.
“We know that PACEY members face a range of barriers in delivering the current free entitlement. For many, the level of funding is too low but they also struggle with inflexible local authority procedures; delayed payment and, for our childminder members, the reluctance of some local authorities to make it clear that parents can use their entitlement with registered childminders. For childminders the current ban on accessing the entitlement for related children is another significant barrier to participating in current delivery.
There has been a huge increase in the quality of childcare offered to families over the last few years, with 85% of providers now rated good or outstanding. This high quality, which we know has the greatest impact in closing the gap for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, can’t be threatened by underfunding or expansion of free childcare that doesn’t put support for practitioners to continue to improve at its core.”