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NEWS: Nuffield Foundation review calls for reform of early education and childcare

Today (20 October) The Nuffield Foundation published its latest review into early education and childcare titled ‘The role of early childhood education and care in shaping life chances’.

This review; which PACEY contributed to the development of; looks at the expansion of early years and childcare provision over the last 25 years and how the policy decisions made over that time have impacted early childhood and children’s future outcomes.

The authors suggest that whilst it is positive to see an increase in the number of children under early years and childcare provision, the current early years and childcare system is ‘confused and fragmented’.  They call for a fundamental review of the sector and the development of a coherent strategy: something that PACEY and others working in the sector have long been calling for too.

Today’s publication echoes PACEY’s main priorities for an early years strategy, including:  

  1. A reform of the funding system and improve the take-up of entitlements, working harder for those families who would benefit from this most
  2. Improved integration of wider children’s services to work more efficiently for children and families
  3. Building the early years workforce, who are currently underpaid and undervalued

The full report can be found here

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:

“It is positive to see an increasing coalition of voices calling on Government with a single ask: to develop a clear vision for the early years and childcare support for families; one that has children at the centre.

“This was promised in the Queen’s Speech at the start of the year. Now, with the Government’s Spending Review due to be announced next week, we echo the Nuffield Foundation’s call for a complete review and reform of the funding system. It is currently not working effectively for the children and families who rely on it, nor for the registered childminders, nurseries and pre-schools who deliver it.

“Without urgent action to address these shortfalls we will continue to see low take-up of entitlements with too many children missing out on early education and parents missing out on the chance to find work or training. We know the sector is facing unprecedented challenges in recruiting and retaining the qualified staff it needs. This is the result of years of under-investment exacerbated by the pandemic. When you can earn more working in retail than providing early education, things must change.”