We are disappointed that the proposals in the consultation appear to largely focus on increasing capacity and reducing standards within early years settings, without adequate consideration of necessary safeguards or a child’s needs and learning. We are also disappointed in the lack of focus on ‘closing the gap’ between disadvantaged children and their peers and by the lack of reference to financial investment in the early years sector. This is essential to enable the sector to remain viable, to improve staff recruitment and retention, and to enable it to play its crucial role in minimising the effects of disadvantage. In ASCL’s 2021 Blueprint for a Fairer Education System
we call for “Sufficient resources [across all sectors] to deliver the education to which … all children and young people are entitled
Further measures must be taken to address the cost and the availability of childcare, and to include the quality and safety of provision and the recruitment and retention of staff. This must involve valuing the early years sector through better pay and increased opportunities for career progression.
Full response to consultation