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NEWS: MPs debate changes to early years ratios and financial analysis published

MPs debate changes to two-year-old ratios

On Monday 14 November, MPs attended a Westminster Hall debate to discuss the Government’s plans to reduce ratios for two-year olds in group settings in England. The debate was called following an online petition set up by The Oliver Steeper Foundation which gained almost 110,000 signatures opposing the Government’s plans.

We heard MPs outline the overwhelming opposition from families, practitioners and early years experts with concerns around child wellbeing and safety, quality of provision and additional pressure on an already-stretched workforce. Many MPs echoed PACEY’s call for a long-term strategy for the sector that focuses on the main challenges around funding, pay and morale in the workforce.

Claire Coutinho MP, the new Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing said that Government is carefully considering the responses to its consultation into ratio change, with safety and quality “at the heart”. PACEY will share the Government’s consultation response once this is published.

You can watch back the debate on Parliament TV or read PACEY’s Twitter thread for an overview.  

Read PACEY’s full response to the Department for Education’s consultation into regulation change.

New report predicts 'moderate' impact on affordability

New analysis published this week by Frontier Economics uses economic modelling to predict whether the Government’s proposed ratio change for two-year-olds would result in lower costs for parents.

The research outlines that although some parents could benefit from a moderate reduction in fees (with significant variation in how much each parent might save) this is highly dependent on some major hurdles: whether settings would actually implement the new regulations; and whether any cost savings would be passed on from providers to parents. The research highlights that settings might use cost savings to alleviate financial pressure and ensure future sustainability, rather than reducing fees. Overall it suggests that Government explores a different approach to improve the affordability of childcare and early years provision.