30 hours is continuing to be a heated debate within the early years sector including a story on Nursery World and most recently, an open letter to Prime Minister, Theresa May that was posted on the PACEY Facebook page. The letter, originally posted on the Facebook group 'Champagne Nurseries on Lemonade Funding' has sparked discussion, including recognition from Shadow Minister for Early Years, Tracy Brabin MP.
In regards to these issues, Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“It is a worrying time for all childcare providers. We know that the funding rate does not cover the cost of providing care in many areas which poses a risk to all childcare and early years businesses. With 40% of providers in the pilots reporting a decrease in profits, and the funding rate not covering the cost of providing care in some areas, there are significant challenges to implementing the Government’s 30 hours policy.
One main barrier is the continued use of the term 'free' . Providers will need to charge for extras (for food, and other services) in areas where the funding rate does not cover all of provider's actual costs. With rising costs looming including the national living wage, the sector needs to be supported with a sustainable long-term funding plan for all funded places, including 30 hours.
If action is not taken, we are going to see more and more high quality early years practitioners leaving the sector, which will have a devastating impact on parental choice and the quality of provision in England.”
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