As the Conservatives look to form a new UK Government, PACEY will be highlighting the focus it believes is needed to ensure the availability of high quality, sustainable childcare and early education for children and families across England and Wales.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, responds:
“With Brexit negotiations starting in less than a fortnight, ministers must not underestimate the implementation challenges of rolling out their current commitment to provide 30 hours of funded early education in England and the continued development of the Childcare Offer in Wales. This must be the focus before moving on to new policy commitments. Funding levels for providers in many areas in England must be increased in order for this policy to be sustainable, and statutory guidance should be revisited to provide greater clarity for providers and local authorities. In Wales, confirmation of the funding rate for the pilots and more detail on implementation are required swiftly, as delivery begins in September.
“Our overriding plea is that the UK Governments appoint childcare ministers quickly and focus on getting 30 hours right first in both England and Wales, before moving on to new manifesto priorities such as childcare in primary schools in England. A pledge that doesn’t recognise that the vast majority of places are currently delivered by private and voluntary-sector providers, including childminders and that school can only ever be part of the solution.
"Most important of all, we need better partnership working between the sector and the new Conservative Government in England, so current commitments to 30 hours and workforce strategy are delivered before moving on to new promises. This will go some way to giving all children a strong foundation for the future, help close the attainment gap and ensure – in post Brexit Britain – that the next generation has the skills and knowledge it needs to help us all succeed.”