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PACEY Policy - November

England

New research on the childcare and early years workforce

PACEY published the second report from our Building Blocks survey, Focus on the workforce. It analyses key issues affecting the childcare and early years practitioners, including job satisfaction, experience, qualifications and training, working conditions, finances and future plans. We found evidence of downward trend in qualifications levels for childminders, with an increase in those with no qualifications and a drop in those with a full Level 3. There is also a widening qualification and training gap between more experienced practitioners and those who joined the sector in the past eight years. The report makes a series of recommendations to government and local authorities revolving around three areas: ensuring the childcare entitlements are funded sustainably; improving qualification levels and career pathways; and raising awareness of childminders. PACEY’s Policy and Research Manager, Susanna Kalitowski, spoke about the findings at a panel debate on the workforce at the Nursery World Business Summit 2018.

Earlier this month, the Department for Education (DfE) published its 2018 survey of early years and childcare providers, which includes a separate fees survey for the first time. The survey found a decrease in the number of providers and 22,000 fewer people in the workforce since 2016. The fees survey revealed that providers’ private rates are substantially higher than the rate they receive for delivering the funded entitlements.

No changes to Ofsted registration policies

Contrary to speculation on social media and elsewhere, Ofsted has not changed its registration policies vis-a-vis EY2 forms or DBS checks. Ofsted expects childminders to consider the risks visitors pose, bearing in mind the regularity and nature of their visit, and to know how to keep the children in their care safe from harm. As a general rule, anyone with unsupervised contact with children will require an EY2 form and DBS check. Read more on our website.

Renewed focus on the home learning environment

Education Secretary Damian Hinds recently hosted a summit bringing together nearly 100 businesses, charities and public organisations, including PACEY, on the home learning environment (HLE). This area forms a plank of the DfE’s 2017 social mobility plan, with the aim of ensuring more disadvantaged children are able to experience a language rich early environment. PACEY is working to ensure proposals being developed recognise the work registered childcare settings already do as part of the EYFS framework.

We are pleased to announce that PACEY has been awarded a grant deliver our Together for Twos programme, working with disadvantaged families to support them to better understand how accessing early education will support their child. As part of this, we will give parents the chance to meet local childminders and use their two-year-old funding to experience the unique support childminders can offer. The programme will work in partnership with Job Centre Plus to inform more parents of how childminding can meet their childcare needs and, in doing so, encourage some to consider childminding as a career. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels to find out more about this exciting project.

EYFSP results show limited progress

The DfE published its annual summary of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) results in England, which summarise and describe children's attainment at the end of the EYFS (usually during the last term of Reception). This year’s results show very little progress, with only a 0.8% increase in the proportion of children achieving a good level of development, and no improvement in narrowing the gap between all children and the lowest attaining children. The mean average total point score for the lowest attaining 20% has remained at 23.2, the same as in 2017. The percentage inequality gap has also risen slightly. 

Wales

CIW related news

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) have published their annual report for 2017-2018. The report highlights the increase in the number of childcare and play inspections over the twelve months, up by nearly a third from the previous year, to 1492.  However the number of childcare and play services regulated by CIW has fallen from 4321 in 16-17 to 4137 in 17-18 and the decline is seen across all services. This correlates to the previous report by PACEY Cymru around childminder de-registrations and is a worrying trend. PACEY Cymru are using this evidence in our discussions with Welsh Government. 

It also notes the work, that is ongoing, to develop and improve digital services including moving towards online registration for all registered services. More on this in relation to childcare and play services will follow in the New Year. 

Cwlwm silent ratings survey

Thank you to all of you who responded to our Cwlwm survey on CIW silent ratings. The survey had the following key findings:

  • 108 responses across the childcare and play sector in Wales.
  • 89 per cent stated that the reasons for the silent ratings were clearly explained to them.
  • 76 per cent stated they agreed with the silent ratings given.

We had extensive feedback on what settings were doing differently as a result of the ratings. All the findings have been collated and shared with CIW to support the further development work in this area.

Foundation Phase Nursery Provision (FPN)

Following the publication by Welsh Government of the Foundation Phase Nursery provision: guidance for local authorities PACEY Cymru have approached each Local Authority in Wales to clearly understand their position on the funding of FPN.  The guidance states that Local Authorities should:

  • take into account the need for partnership working with the non-maintained and the maintained sector to secure the most appropriate provision
  • work with providers in settings and schools to ensure they are aware of the benefits and requirements of delivering FPN
  • ensure there is flexibility and choice of the settings available to parents to ensure that a child is able to access the most suitable FPN provision, in maintained or non-maintained settings, in their chosen area.
  • with their partners, look at the way they commission and deliver FPN in both maintained and non-maintained settings, its accessibility to families, staffing and quality so that children can maximise the value it provides. FPN can and should be delivered in any settings that can evidence the necessary quality.

We know historically that there have been barriers to childminders being able to access this funding and we are hoping that this new guidance leads to a change in position.  This is an important time for this to be re-considered given the links between Foundation Phase funding and the Childcare Offer for Wales.  We have had a small number of Local Authorities come back to us requesting to meet or for further information and will continue to promote the service that childminders specifically can offer around this.  If as a registered childminder in Wales you have any views on this or wish to support our work please contact us by email on paceycymru@pacey.org.uk.

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