The House of Commons Education Committee has published its new report, Support for Childcare and the Early Years. The report follows the Committee’s inquiry into the range of problems and challenges facing the childcare sector in England, which was formally launched in December 2022. Ahead of the inquiry launch, Education Select Committee chair Robin Walker MP had cited a ‘cross-party hunger to fix childcare’, taking into account what government could do to address rising costs and the need to raise the ‘esteem, affordability and quality’ of early years education.
The newly-released committee report highlights the underfunding of early years entitlements, which has left providers unable to invest in development and training, and the lack of parity between early years staff and those in other educational settings in terms of pay, career development and recognition. The report also calls on the government to develop a comprehensive Early Years Strategy with a strong focus on workforce development.
Responding to today’s announcement, Community Union’s National Officer for Education & Early Years Helen Osgood said:
“Community Union welcomes the House of Commons Education Committee’s report. It clearly and robustly shows that there is a crisis in our early years sector.”
“We appreciate the attention that the Government is giving to the sector. However, it is imperative that the Government puts in place a robust infrastructure that includes support and funding for the early years – which still isn’t there yet.
“If the Government gets this right in early years, then it will save a whole lot of money within the education system as children make their way through it.
“It is vital that the Government puts in place a robust workforce plan for the early years to ensure that the training and development opportunities for workers within the sector are there, and that nurseries can afford to pay their staff properly and invest in them.
Their workers are their biggest asset – it can take up to two years to properly train a worker in the early years sector. That’s why Community Union’s Early Years Charter is so important, it will deliver real change and help for parents, children and workers within the sector. But only if the Government steps up and takes notice.”
In June, Community Union launched its Early Years Charter, which called for increased funding for early years settings to adequately cover costs of service provision, as well as improved wages for staff in recognition of the specialised work they do and to support recruitment and retention into the sector. You can read the Charter in full here.
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Community is proud to be the union for early years workers, representing nursery workers, childcarers, and nannies. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.