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NEWS: Liberal Democrats manifesto promises flexible, affordable and fair childcare

Yesterday (10 June) the Liberal Democrat party launched its new manifesto which includes several actions to make early years and childcare provision “flexible, affordable and fair” for parents and carers.  

The manifesto sets out specific actions to “restore childminding as a valued part of the early years system” by: 

  • Replacing the three different current registration processes with a single childcare register,  

  • Commissioning a practitioner-led review to simplify regulation, reduce administrative burdens and attract new childminders while maintaining high standards. 

Increasing funding: Review funding rates to ensure they cover the cost of delivery for providers 

Extra hours: close the attainment gap by giving disadvantaged three-and four-year-olds an extra five hours provision per week (the same for two year olds “when public finances allow) and increase the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1000 per year 

Workforce strategy: Develop a career strategy for staff in nurseries, including a training programme with the majority of those working with children aged two to four to have a relevant Early Years qualification or be working towards one. 

SEND: Including a specific emphasis on identifying and supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities in the new training programme for early years staff. 

Ofsted: Reform Ofsted inspections and end single word judgements 

Parental pay and leave: increase maternity pay and shared parental pay, increase paternity leave and make these day-one rights at work (including for adoptive parents, kinship carers and self-employed parents.  

Read the full manifesto

Helen Donohoe, Chief Executive at PACEY comments: 

‘’We welcome the pledges that the Liberal Democrats have made today towards an ambition for flexible, affordable and fair early years provision and childcare. In particular it is refreshing to see the restoration of childminding as a vital part of early education and childcare given prominence. 

Our sector is nothing without the people who work in it and so we also welcome the commitment to a career strategy for the workforce. Likewise, we are deeply concerned about fair access to early education for all children and as such the commitment to children with SEND and to increasing the pupil premium are to be plauded.  

Like all promises during a general election these are broad and lacking in detail in terms of delivery. As with all political parties we will be happy to work with those that form the next government to ensure our sector gets the investment and long terms strategic vision that is desperately needed.’’