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NEWS: New report makes concerning proposals for early years and childcare sector

A new report from the Free Markets Forum (a project of the Institute of Economic Affairs) titled 30 Ideas for 2030 outlines a collection of recommendations for Government reform.

The report makes several concerning recommendations on childcare and early education in England:

  • Removing the state’s involvement in the early years and childcare system: including removing the ‘free’ offer for families to access 15 hours of childcare
  • Deregulating the sector: removing the requirement for settings to have adult:child ratios, qualification requirements and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Reforming childminder requirements: looking at registration, regulatory inspection and training requirements.

PACEY previously responded to a separate IEA report calling for similar policy changes in the early years sector to address the cost of living crisis.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:

“Is it April Fools Day already? This report includes nothing to reassure families or the people working in early years and childcare. What makes the IEA think it is sensible to deregulate the sector caring for children under five? Are they less deserving than children over five who benefit from Ofsted inspection and regulation of schools?

“Their ideas do nothing to help families with affordability and access to high quality and safe provision for their children, it would only leave more parents unable to work as it proposes the funding so many families rely on is “removed”.  

“We need policy makers to end this relentless focus on nothing but deregulation; take time to understand the challenges facing childminders, nurseries and pre-schools who are educating children and supporting their families; and to recognise that long-term underfunding of these services is the main issue to resolve. Without significant investment these services will not be there to support economic growth nor, most important of all, to give children the best start in life.

“Next week PACEY is meeting with the new Minister for Schools and Childhood. We will once again put forward our proposals for change, based on our members’ feedback and experiences. These are proposals that we believe will actually make a difference now and help secure the future of our sector, keeping children’s safety and wellbeing at the centre of these plans.”