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.
PACEY/Voice report calls for urgent action on Early Years Teachers
PACEY teamed up with Voice, the union for education professionals, to survey course leaders and current and former students about early years graduate qualifications. Our research found widespread agreement that Early Years Teacher Status is not working. We are calling on the Government to take urgent action to improve the pay and status of Early Years Teachers.
Impact of the early years on life chances
An all-party group of MPs in the House of Commons Education Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact that the early years of a child's life have on their life chances. The inquiry will focus primarily on the role of early years settings. The deadline to submit evidence to the Committee is Friday 1st June 2018.
Drop in childminders continues
Ofsted’s termly statistics on childcare and early years providers show another slight decrease in the number of registered childminders, and an increase in the number of non-domestic providers. A majority of providers (94 per cent) continue to be good or outstanding, and the gap between non-domestic providers and childminders has narrowed by one per cent. PACEY is calling on the Government and local authorities to make the funding sustainable for childminders to deliver the free entitlement; to actively encourage childminders to be part of local delivery plans and to improve parental awareness and understanding of childminding provision.
30 hour update
The Department for Education (DfE) has released statistics on the number of 30 hours childcare codes issued and validated for the spring and summer terms. For the summer term, as of 7th May, 92% of codes have been validated. The total percentage of validated codes for the spring term was 93%. However, there was a gap of 13,165 between the number of codes validated and children in a 30 hours place. In the autumn term, this gap was 8,080. PACEY is calling on the DfE to investigate the reasons for the disparity.
PACEY’s evidence on 30 hours was quoted extensively in a report from the all-party House of Commons Treasury Committee, which called for increased funding for providers and more childcare support for parents over 20 in training. Other recent reports from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have also argued that the 30 hour entitlement is seriously underfunded and having an adverse impact on quality.
For all 30 hour-related queries, visit our spotlight page.
Baseline assessment update
The DfE recently announced that it will be developing a new baseline assessment for the reception year, in the face of opposition from many in the sector, including PACEY and other members of the More Than a Score coalition. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been chosen to create and deliver this new assessment, which will be introduced in autumn 2020.
Childminder deregistration update
In Wales, we have published information providing an update on Childminder De-registrations in Wales following the previous report we published in 2017. The findings from this found a continuation in the decrease of the number of registered childminders with a 2% drop within the last year alone. However, the report also highlighted the positive actions that have been undertaken by PACEY Cymru in partnership with key stakeholders to support the sector.
Related children advocacy
The issue around childminders accessing Childcare Offer funding for related children is ongoing, though positive progress has been made with support from members, media, other childcare organisations and some Assembly Members. PACEY Cymru have submitted a response to the consultation on the Childcare Funding (Wales) Bill, and though the issue is outside of the remit for the Bill have used this as a vehicle to reinforce our views on this. PACEY Cymru will also be giving evidence at the Senedd to the Children and Young People Committee on the Bill and we will provide an update on this in the next month.
FAQs on DBS checks
PACEY Cymru have previously shared information on changes to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks in Wales. Following a meeting with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) in the face of confusion around the changes in DBS Checks in Wales from April, we have received confirmation on a number of issues and have shared this on the PACEY website as a Frequently Asked Questions page. Please contact us by email if you are having issues in relation to DBS as we can provide guidance to individuals to firstname.lastname@example.org.