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 inspection framework finalised
Ofsted has published the final version of the new education Inspection framework (EIF) and Early years inspection handbook, which will come into force in September 2019. PACEY was pleased to see some of the recommendations in our submission to the EIF consultation have been adopted.
To help you prepare for the changes, we have just published a guide that is free for members, and we will continue to produce more resources in the coming weeks. In addition, Ofsted has written a new blog for us explaining what it means by cultural capital. Earlier this year, it provided a useful blog on what the education inspection framework will mean for the early years.
Childminder numbers still falling
The latest Ofsted statistics have shown that the sector has lost another 1000 childminders in the past term, bringing the total drop since 2012 to 31%. The decline is due primarily to a lack of new childminders registering, rather than to more people leaving the profession. The reasons for the lack of new people joining childminding are complex and multi-faceted. This is why PACEY has commissioned the University of Plymouth to do a study to analyse and document the factors influencing the childminding decline in England and Wales, so we can share independent evidence with policymakers and formulate credible, evidence-based solutions to the problem. We are also working to change the public image of childminding, for example through our new #notababysitter campaign.
Joint call for more investment in the early years workforce
PACEY has joined forces with a number of leading organisations in the childcare and early years sector including Save the Children, Coram Family Childcare, the National Association of Headteachers, and Early Education to call on the Department for Education (DfE) to invest in high quality childcare and early education. We have written a joint letter to the Government urging it prioritise the sector and its workforce in the upcoming Spending Review to ensure that all children get the best possible start in life.
End music licenses for nurseries
Back in 2017, PACEY secured a concession for childminders so that they do not have to purchase an annual music license unless they have a separate room in their house that is only used for childminding. Recently we wrote to PPL and PRS for Music to ask them to extend this concession to group settings. PACEY believes it is unjust that early years settings in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector should have to pay this annual fee when they are delivering government-funded early education.
Related children campaign
PACEY’s campaign to end the ban on childminders providing funded places to related children is still going strong! If you haven’t done so, please write to your MP using our template letter to explain how this ban has affected you and other childminders and families you know.
As usual, a great deal of childcare and early years-related reports have been published since our last policy blog. Here are the ones you should know about:
- The Social Mobility Commission’s annual State of Nation report calls for the extension of eligibility and update of the 30 hour childcare offer so that parents who are only working eight hours a week can access the entitlement.
- A very worrying new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that real wages for childcare workers and retail workers are likely to converge by 2021. If this happens, there will be even fewer incentives for people to join and stay in the sector, despite their higher qualifications.
- The Department for Education (DfE) published two reports on childcare and early years providers: one on providers’ finances, and another on providers’ engagement with 30 hours.