Welcome to PACEY’s regular policy update, which provides a summary of the latest policy developments in England and Wales concerning childcare and early years, and how we are representing your views to key decision makers.
New stats on funded places
The Department for Education (DfE) has published its annual statistics on take-up of government-funded early education and childcare. These reveal that that three out of four eligible children are taking up 30 hours. A majority of eligible two-, three-, and four-year-olds are accessing some funded early education in a “good” or “outstanding” setting. The DfE estimates childminder participation in the delivery of funded places has increased, with at least seven per cent of three-year-olds and six per cent of four-year-olds taking up their 30 hour place with a childminder. However, the percentage of eligible two-year-olds accessing a funded place has only increased one per cent this year to 72 per cent.
The DfE has also recently updated their suite of guidance on funded early education and childcare – you can read a summary of the changes here.
Draft ELGs published
The DfE has published pilot versions of the 'Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage' and 'Early years foundation stage profile 2018 handbook', which will be trialed in 25 Reception classes in England in September, along with draft Early Learning Goals (ELGs). The proposed changes are not final, and will be subject to a full public consultation in 2019. The final version of the EYFS Profile will not come into force until 2021. PACEY will be actively working to ensure members' views on the proposed revisions are shared with the DfE. If you have any feedback, contact the policy team.
Government U-turn on graduates
The minister responsible for childcare and early years, Nadhim Zahawi MP, recently announced he will not be taking forward the key commitments it made in its 2017 Early Years Workforce Strategy concerning Early Years Teachers. He has decided not to permit Early Years Teachers to teach in maintained schools. The DfE will also no longer be looking into developing a programme to grow the graduate workforce in disadvantage areas. Instead, it will be investing £20 million for CPD for practitioners in disadvantaged areas. Earlier this year, PACEY and Voice published research on Early Years Teachers and called on the Government to take urgent action to prevent the loss of more specialist early years graduates.
Childminder numbers still falling
Ofsted has published termly statistics on childcare providers and inspections in England. These show another one per cent decrease in the number of registered childminders and a slight increase in non-domestic providers. A majority of providers (94 per cent) continue to be judged as good or outstanding, with the gap between non-domestic providers and childminders narrowing by one per cent. PACEY has expressed its frustration that not more is being done to understand and address the issues behind the decline. You can read our comment here.
New safeguarding guidance
The DfE has published two pieces of statutory guidance and one piece of updated framework on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The revisions reflect legislative changes introduced through the Childcare and Social Work Act 2017.
Changes to disqualification by association
The DfE has decided to remove disqualification by association for staff in schools and non-domestic registered settings from September. The Government did not seek to alter the arrangements for childminders, who remain subject to disqualification by association.
Reminder: write to your MP
Did you know that childminders are not permitted to deliver any funded places to children related to them by blood or marriage? PACEY believes this is unfair, and is urging all affected childminders and their families in England to write to their MP and the minister for childcare, Nadhim Zahawi MP, to share their personal experience of this ban, and ask the Government to overturn it. Download our template letter, media pack and read our case studies at pacey.org.uk/related-children.
Capital Funding for the Childcare Offer in Wales
Welsh Government have announced funding for 2018-2021, to support growth and sustainability of the childcare and early years sector through a Capital Funding programme. PACEY Cymru, alongside Cwlwm partners, are working closely with local authorities, who will be submitting an application to this programme to ensure the needs of the sector we support are considered and to support the wider objectives of the programme. We will be sharing any relevant information with providers as this is confirmed.
As the Childcare Offer for Wales expands and grows, Welsh Government are keen to hear the views of providers on how the offer is developing and being implemented. Providers can share any thoughts they have on this by emailing TalkChildCare@gov.wales. PACEY Cymru are also keen to hear the views of providers, you can contact us thorough email on email@example.com or through the PACEY Cymru Facebook page.
From January 2019, ratings will be published from CIW inspections of Childcare and Play services. Silent ratings were originally introduced in 2016 and CIW will be publishing ratings for all day care services who have received a silent rating and for newly registered services. CIW have produced an Inspection Guide for Providers which explains the ratings in detail. A rating will be awarded against each of the four inspection themes on the Inspection Framework Wellbeing, Care and Development, Environment and Leadership and Management. The ratings will be Excellent, Good, Adequate and Poor.
It will be important, in future, for providers to be able to demonstrate what they have changed or done differently as a consequence of the ratings received. Further information on CIW inspections can be found in the members’ area of the website. PACEY Cymru will be developing further guidance for members around improving quality.