Labour plans for Early Years welcomed

Responding to Labour’s plan to create 100,000 new nursery places, Community Union’s Head of Education Policy Martin Hodge said:

“We welcome Labour’s commitment to addressing the challenges facing Early Years providers.

“The Early Years sector is in desperate need of additional capacity to meet the demand for places for children aged 9 months and over. We know that there is a significant gap in provision in some of the poorer areas of the country and making use of surplus space in school buildings has potential to work well. The fact that schools are already safe, secure sites helps with safeguarding, whilst some schools may wish to establish their own Nursery and Early Years provision.

“The problem we have to overcome is the fragmented nature of the education system, with LAs, private providers and MATs all having a role to play. We need to be clear about who is responsible for each part to ensure that private provision is not suddenly removed when the school needs the space.

“The whole sector – including schools, Early Years providers and workforce representatives – stands ready to work with an incoming Labour government to ensure that this policy is a success. That collaboration will be so important.

“As things stand we have a recruitment and retention crisis in the Early Year workforce, and Labour is right to have commissioned a review of the sector. Without reform – particularly on issues like staff pay and career structures – we will be unable to attract new workers to the field. Our nanny and childminder members will also want assurances about what structural changes in the sector will mean for them and their employment.

“What is absolutely clear is that far too many children fall through the gaps in the system as it stands, and it is vital that we ensure that education, social and health provision – especially for those with SEND and additional needs – is accessible locally.”

You can read more on Community’s Early Years Charter here:

Community is the union for education and early years professionals: representing teachers, headteachers, education, school support staff and early years staff. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for education and early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.

If you are a member of Community and need advice or support, please contact our Service Centre at or on 0800 389 6332.

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