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Social Mobility Commission recommends extending 30 hours to more disadvantaged families

The Social Mobility Commission has released a ‘State of Nation 2018-2019’ report, highlighting inequality in Britain. The report looks at early childhood, schools, universities, further education and work revealing that social mobility has been stagnant for the last four years.

The report calls for the extension of eligibility and update of the 30 hour childcare offer so that parents who are only working 8 hours a week can access the funding rather than the current 16 hours.  

The key findings include:

  • The most disadvantaged families are least likely to be aware of or benefit from 30 hours.
  • Much of the childcare workforce is poorly paid with 45% of child care workers are on benefits or tax credits.
  • By age 6 there is a 14% gap in phonics attainment between children entitled to free school meals and those more advantaged.
  • By age 7 the gap widens to 18% in reading, 20% in writing and 18% in mathematics.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) said:
“It's good the Commission has recognised the 30 hours offer is failing disadvantaged 3 and 4 year old as well as many qualifying two year olds and is right to highlight that underfunding of these government funded early education places has to be addressed if we're seriously going to tackle social mobility in this country.

We’re also pleased they're looking at the EY workforce but disagree it’s just about getting more 'talented people' into the sector. We’ve amazing people working in EY delivering high quality care and learning on a shoestring. But with low pay, no status and limited career progression too many are forced to leave the job they love. If funding is improved EY settings can invest more in their staff. Currently EY practitioners can often earn more working in retail. They face social mobility challenges alongside many of the children they care for. "

Read the full report.