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NEWS: General election build-up

Labour pledges to keep the entitlement scheme whilst Lib Dems call for national special needs agency. 

Labour 

In an interview with BBC’s Newsnight at the end of March, Labour’s shadow education secretary, Bridgette Phillipson, suggested that Labour would review the funded entitlement scheme. Phillipson said the party was not committed to the £4bn plan and Labour has commissioned a review of childcare led by former senior Ofsted figure Sir David Bell last October. 

Phillipson has also said that “Only Labour will reform our childcare system and deliver the accessible, affordable early years education that will give children the best start in life.”

Since then, Labour's Shadow Minister, Nick Thomas-Symonds has confirmed that Labour are backing the expansion and told the BBC Radio times that “The entitlement that parents have been promised, we will not reduce if we are privileged to form the next Labour government”. 

The Labour Party has yet to give an update on the review of Childcare that they announced in October 2023. Their long-term plan for early years is published on their website. 

“Early Years: the best start in life. Childcare is important not just because it helps parents to work, but to give every child the best possible start in life. That is why Labour will improve the quality of provision, and work with local authorities to boost the availability of childcare in places where provision is inadequate. At the same time, we will develop vital communication and maths skills early so that every child can find their voice and build the foundations for a brilliant education.” 

Liberal Democrats 

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, this week has proposed setting up a national agency to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).  

Sir Ed, who is a carer to his disabled son said: “Parents of children with special educational needs across the UK are facing a postcode lottery. 

“The Conservative Government has woefully underfunded both schools and local authorities, meaning that many parents simply can’t get their children the support they deserve. 

“That is unacceptable. No child, or their family, should have to wait so long or fight so hard to have their needs met. 

Sir Ed Davey announced the policy during a visit to a charity in Essex yesterday. He called for the Government to reduce the amount schools pay towards the cost of a child’s additional SEND support – currently £6,000 per child. 

PACEY policy work  

At such a crucial time for the sector, PACEY is working hard on behalf of our members to improve working conditions for Childminders:    

  • Continuing to urge housing associations, social landlords and developers in England to allow childminders to work in their rented properties that have restrictive clauses in contracts which stop them from working in their homes. 

  • Making sure Childminders play a pivotal role in the Governments wraparound scheme.

  • Campaigning for related children to be included under the funded entitlement scheme.  

  • Challenging DfE and local authorities where funding has been unlawfully withheld. 
     
  • Highlighting the issues of moving Childminders from tax credits to Universal Credit impacting their income and working with DWP to treat Childminders differently.