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.
England and Wales
Childminding inquiry and survey
This month we launched our Inquiry into Childminding in the 21st Century, to help us understand what more could be done to make childminding a more attractive career to both join and remain in. Over the summer, we are holding discussions with a wide range of different childminding stakeholders. We have commissioned the University of Plymouth to conduct a survey aimed at everyone who cares about the sustainability of childminding. This includes current, former and prospective childminders, as well as, crucially, local authorities and other organisations that work closely with childminders. Please fill out our survey today, and send it to everyone you know who cares about the future of childminding.
New early years ministers
After the announcement of Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister, there has been a cabinet reshuffle and a number of ministerial changes at the Department for Education (DfE), including the departure of Nadhim Zahawi MP and Damian Hinds MP. Nadhim Zahawi has been replaced with Kemi Badenboch MP as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families. Her roles and responsibilities have been confirmed on GOV.UK, and includes 30 hours and early years policy. PACEY welcomes both ministers into their roles and we look forward to working with them.
Ofsted fees consultation
The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a consultation on a proposed increase to the application fee and annual fee paid to Ofsted by early years providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register. Any changes will come into force from April 2020. The consultation is also asking what principles should underpin a revised Early Years Register fee model to be introduced from April 2021. The consultation closes on 9th October, and PACEY urges you to respond, and share your views with us.
Early Years Census results
The DfE has released its annual statistics on take-up of the early years and childcare entitlements for two-, three-, and four-year-olds, also known as the Early Years Census. It found that four out of five eligible children are taking up 30 hours. However, the proportion accessing a 2-year-old place has fallen by 4% (68% now compared to 72% last year). A majority of PVI settings (87 per cent) and childminders (64 per cent) are currently delivering both the universal entitlement and 30 hours funding.
Latest Ofsted statistics
Since last term, there has been another significant drop in the number of registered childminders, bringing the total number to 39,000 – 700 less than last time. A majority of providers (95 per cent) continue to be good or outstanding, the same proportion as the previous period.
Hungry Little Minds campaign
The DfE has launched Hungry Little Minds - a new campaign that encourages parents and carers to adopt positive activities and behaviours to boost children’s communication, language and literacy development. Parents can access tips and activities from and also search for activities in their area using a new postcode finder service.
Practitioners also have a key role in encouraging and empowering parents. To support this, PACEY has launched a series of #smallthings short videos that you can share with parents, designed to give them ideas and hints to help them explore ways of learning at home.
Reminder: the new Ofsted framework is coming
The Education Inspection Framework (EIF) will come into force for all early years providers from 1 September. Visit PACEY’s EIF spotlight page for all the latest information, advice and support.
Latest CIW statistics
Since April, there has again been a small drop in the number of registered childminders in Wales. CIW have reported the latest figure stands at 1831. Our Inquiry into Childminding in the 21st Century , as noted above, will provide evidence on the reasons for the continuing decline. CIW have also been speaking to PACEY Cymru about the implementation of ratings for childcare and play settings in Wales.
National Assembly for Wales Consultation
The Children, Young People and Education Committee is undertaking a short inquiry on children’s rights in Wales to review the impact of the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011. It will consider, amongst other things, evidence of whether the Measure has led to improved outcomes for children and young people. The closing date for anyone who would like to respond is the 20th September.
National Minimum Standards Review
The Welsh Government have now published the report on the review of the National Minimum Standards (NMS). It involved analysis of the relationship between The Childminding and Day Care (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 and the NMS, engagement with stakeholders across the childcare and play sector and examination of the approaches adopted by other UK administrations to assessing the standard of childcare and play provision. The review also considered the relationship between CIW’s Inspection Framework and the quality schemes operated by individual local authorities and the childcare and play organisations. The key emerging issues and recommendations can be found through the link above.
We continue to work closely with Welsh Government and part of our work going forward will be to support them in addressing the issues raised.