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.
Related children campaign
New research from our Building Blocks survey has highlighted that tens of thousands of registered childminders in England are missing out on vital income because they are not permitted to offer free places to any related children. This is contrast to their colleagues in nurseries and pre-schools in England – and other childminders in Wales. Around 38 per cent of childminders in England surveyed currently have at least one child in their setting related to them. A slightly higher proportion of childminders – 40 per cent – said it was likely that a related child will attend their setting in the future.
PACEY 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.
PACEY in Parliament
PACEY has submitted evidence to the House of Commons Education Committee on the impact that the early years of a child's life have on their life chances, our Chief Executive, Liz Bayram, gave evidence in person to the Committee on 12 June (click here to watch a recording of the Inquiry proceedings). Our submission outlines some of the key evidence on the impact of early education on life chances before looking at some of the implications of the current landscape, and our recent research into specialist early years graduates in particular. We noted that as the Committee undertakes its work, early education in England is under serious threat.
Childminders, Related Children and the Childcare Offer in Wales
Following lobbying on the issue of childminders being unable to access Childcare Offer funding for Wales for related children, and a call for change from PACEY Cymru, Welsh Government have today confirmed revised guidance.
PACEY Cymru are delighted to share that Welsh Government have today confirmed that from September 2018 a change in policy will be made for the Childcare Offer to allow registered childminders to receive funding for the care of a child who is also a relative but who does not live with them.
The lobbying work we have undertaken, supported by members in Wales and other partners, alongside the support from some key Assembly Members has ensured a great outcome for childminders in Wales and will support improved emotional outcomes for children, parental choice of provision and childcare sustainability. We are pleased that Welsh Government have listened to the strong views shared on this issue. They have recognised the vital role that childminders have in supporting the success of the childcare offer.
PACEY Cymru at the Senedd
Claire Protheroe, National Manager for Wales for PACEY Cymru, gave evidence to the Welsh Assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee at the Senedd on the Childcare Funding (Wales) Bill in May. The Bill is specifically around the eligibility model but PACEY Cymru and Cwlwm partners used the consultation and the session to raise other areas of interest linked to the Childcare Offer for Wales that includes the issue, at the time, facing registered childminders around accessing funded for related children and being able to deliver funded Foundation Phase provision. With one issue now resolved we are turning our attention to this issue in coming months and continuing to lobby for change to provide equality of opportunity for childminders, children and families.
Information on the new curriculum in Wales
An informative short video has been developed by Welsh Government to highlight the key points around the development of a new curriculum for 3-16 year olds in Wales that will be available from January 2020 in settings and schools in Wales. The information on the web page and in the video tells you everything you need to know about the changes that include a focus on digital competence.