Commenting on today’s Budget, Community Assistant General Secretary (Voice Community education and early years section) Deborah Lawson said:
“For the education and early years sector, this is a Budget remarkable more for what it didn’t include than for what it did.
“While we welcome the extension of the furlough scheme, the lack of investment in our children and young people and those who work with them is shocking.
“The Government seems to have forgotten that without schools being open for their children, thousands of NHS and other key workers and parents of vulnerable children would not have been able to work. Without nurseries being open to all children, they and even more parents would have been unable to work.
“Education and early years professionals have been on the pandemic frontline, educating and caring for our children, including those at home. They have worked extra hours, but their pay has been frozen and they were not prioritised for the vaccine.
“The private voluntary and independent early years sector is a critical part of this country’s infrastructure – the foundation of both early education, and economic continuation and recovery – but is at risk of financial collapse. Once again, it has been ignored by the Government.
“The sector needs both immediate financial support and long-term investment from government to save it.
“It also needs a national career and pay structures for the dedicated and beleaguered workforce.
“At the other end of the education sector, further education will play a key role in economic recovery, but after decades of underfunding and being treated as the poor and lower status relation, comparted to other areas of education, FE, and those who work in it, need a massive investment of funding and resources.”