4children has said the government’s commitment to improve childcare could “transform the early years profession” after proposals were published today.
More Great Childcare is based on the Nutbrown Review and takes forward many of the proposals put forward by Professor Cathy Nutbrown. As a result, the government aims to:
- Improve the status and quality of the workforce, including the introduction of Early Years Teachers and Early Years Educators
- A change to staffing ratios, particularly where high-quality providers are concerned
- Improve the regulatory system, putting the emphasis on children’s outcomes, progress and learning
- Give greater choice to parents, which would ensure they would be able to access a wide range of childcare options to suit their needs.
Commenting on the launch of More Great Childcare Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Children, said: ““4Children welcomes the priority that the government is putting on childcare with a clear commitment to improving the quality of the workforce. The Nutbrown Review was a thorough and insightful piece of work and it is positive that so many of the recommendations are being taken forward today. If fully implemented this has the potential to transform the early years profession in this country and in doing so ensure that more children are able to get the best start in life.
“Parents throughout England agree with government that ‘more great childcare’ is needed. We know that the shortage of affordable and accessible childcare is the biggest barrier to parents returning to work and holding down their job. Parents also agree that childcare needs to be the highest quality and want the peace of mind that their children are being well looked after, and their development needs are being met, by well trained and qualified staff. Parents will be anxious to understand what the proposals will mean for the number of staff that will be available to care for their children and will want to know that any changes are explicitly linked to achieving the highest quality.
“However, this costs money and reforms to the professional will – and should – lead to higher wage expectations. This is money that cannot come from parents who are already finding childcare costs a real strain. Where local authorities are able to pass more money on to providers that will of course be welcomed but it is unlikely that this will entirely fill the gap. Similarly, changes to ratios are unlikely to square the circle – particularly for the younger age groups.
“One of the key tests for any reforms will be the extent to which they are capable of achieving the Government’s stated aim of reducing inequality and promoting social mobility. In order to do this they need to achieve their goal of increasing the overall amount of high quality childcare, especially in deprived areas. This is a long standing challenge for which there is no quick fix. We believe that Government will need to be more radical offering financial incentives for outstanding providers to set up in deprived communities.
“We look forward to the further consultations that will follow from today’s announcement which offer childcare experts and parents alike an opportunity to have their say on this important subject. These are complex issues and it is vital that we take the time to get it right.”