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PACEY policy - March

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

Inspection proposals: tell us what you think

From September 2019, Ofsted will change the way it inspects early years settings in England when the common inspection framework (CIF) is replaced by the education inspection framework (EIF). Ofsted has published a draft EIF, along with a draft early years inspection handbook. It is now consulting on these proposed changes until 5th April 2019. To find out more about the proposals, read PACEY’s guide.

We want to know what you think, and what support you might need. Please take our short online survey.

Gender stereotyping in the early years

New research from the Fawcett Society has revealed that exposure to gender stereotypes as a child causes harm in later life. In new polling, 45% of people said that when they were children, they experienced gender stereotyping as they were expected to behave in a certain way. Stereotyping in childhood has wide-ranging and significant negative consequences for both women and men, with more than half (51%) of people affected saying it constrained their career choices and 44% saying it harmed their personal relationships.

In response to its findings, Fawcett has launched a new project on 'Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood'. Over the next two years, it will bring together an expert commission of academics, campaigners, early years educators, parents, politicians and retailers to talk about how we can tackle stereotypes across the whole of the country. Fawcett will then be sharing best practice in early years settings and schools.

MPs call for early years revolution

A group of cross-party MPs in the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee is calling for an “early years revolution” to improve support and services for children in England in the first 1000 days of life. In a new report, the MPs recommend that the Government produces a long-term strategy for the first 1000 days of life,  setting demanding goals to reduce adverse childhood experiences, improve school readiness and reduce infant mortality and child poverty.

New guidance for parents on the childcare service

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published new guidance for parents on how to challenge a Childcare Service decision. It is aimed at parents who have applied for Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours childcare and disagree with HMRC’s decision. Parents must fill in an online form and send it to HMRC no later than 30 days after they received the original decision. Short extensions may be available in some cases. For more information, go to the guidance.

More new research on the cost of childcare

The flurry of research on the cost of childcare continues, with the publication of Coram Family and Childcare’s Childcare Survey 2019, and the Department for Education commissioned Early years providers cost study: 2018. PACEY’s chief Executive, Liz Bayram, has commented on the findings.

Wales

Childcare Offer for Wales

The Welsh Government have provided guidance on queries raised by the sector about the rate paid for the Childcare Offer for Wales and additional charges that may be charged by settings to parents. The subject of additional charges and the interpretation of the associated guidance has been a topic of conversation over the last few months.   It is however important for providers to be fair and consistent in their approach- ensuring they have the same model for additional charges for all families regardless of whether they are being funded through Childcare Offer or are paying privately.

PACEY Cymru have produced some examples to show how charges could be applied in practice so support childminders in Wales specifically on this complicated issue. These have been shared with Welsh Government too for their agreement. Please email paceycymru@pacey.org.uk to request a copy of these examples. 

You can also contact us with any other issues around the Childcare Offer you may have. We are interested to hear from those who have decided not to deliver the offer as well as those who are doing this. We are able to share any trends or wider issues with Welsh Government and partners to support the further roll out of the offer.

DBS issues in Wales

We are aware of ongoing issues in relation to DBS checks I Wales and the barriers that are arising for many childminders specifically. This is around the requirement to travel to a regional CIW office and the limited availability of appointments. PACEY Cymru have shared these issues with CIW and will be continuing to lobby for a change in relation to this in coming months to work towards a solution. We are drawing together case studies to support our lobbying work. If you have anything to share on this issue please contact us on paceycymru@pacey.org.uk.

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