Guest post: “There is a funding crisis in the early years, and parents are paying”
Chief Executive at the Early Years Alliance Neil Leitch writes about the shortage of government funding in the childcare sector and how you can get involved
Chief Executive at the Early Years Alliance
Posted on: Thu 06-Jun-19 13:33:29
(1 comment )
Unless you’re lucky enough to have family living near you, the chances are you are using or will need to use a formal childcare provider to care for your children when you go to work.
I’m sure many of you were delighted when ‘free’ childcare for three- and four-year-olds was extended to 30 hours a week for working parents, an offer that certainly takes the sting out of childcare costs when children reach that age.
But there is a funding crisis in the early years, which is why we need your help during our action week which starts on 10 June 2019. We want to make sure every MP in England is aware that there is at least a £615 million funding shortfall in the childcare sector and how it is impacting on you, your children, and your childcare provider.
The amount of money the government gives to childcare providers simply does not cover the free offers, and this has meant many of them have fallen by the wayside in recent years, with others planning to close their doors for good in the near future. Parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) already struggle to find suitable childcare because providers cannot afford to offer the extra care required for these children. You may have experienced the cost of private hours of childcare going up, or the introduction of charges for added extras when providers have been forced to claw back some of the funding shortfall.
Funding is not enough and insulting to the professionals who provide first-class care and education for my child. I want quality and sustainability, which are compromised by poor funding
Incredibly, government funding rates were set in 2015, based on figures from as far back as 2012 and frozen until 2020, despite rises in the national minimum and living wages, business rates, rents and other operating costs. It is a situation that has gone on for too long, causing damage to childcare providers and costing parents dearly.
Enough is enough. Help us send a message to your MP that you are no longer willing to subsidise the government’s ‘free’ flagship childcare offer and join the Fair Future Funding campaign action week.
We are demanding that the government takes action and funds childcare properly, and reviews funding levels every year to make sure funding keeps pace with rising costs. You can sign up to the campaign here www.eyalliance.org.uk/ActionWeek, and
write to your MP using the template letter. Your childcare provider might be organising activities for the campaign week, so make sure you find out what’s happening and don’t forget to join in on social media by following @EYAlliance on Twitter and Facebook and by using the hashtag #fairfuturefunding.
Parents have raised concerns about underfunding, with parent Claire saying: “Funding is not enough and insulting to the professionals who provide first-class care and education for my child. I want quality and sustainability, I don’t want poor funding that may compromise the quality my child should receive. I want my child to be valued and treated equally to those children that attend other types of settings, this is presently not the case and my private day nursery setting is under extreme pressure to continue to provide the standards they always achieve.”
Another parent Jim said: “Whilst the government continues to make claims about providing free childcare for all, the reality as we experienced it is quite different. The nursery we used faced closure, until parents accepted paying double the prior rate.”
Parent Laura added: “As well as having two young children I also serve on the committee of my local preschool. We are currently failing to provide adequate provision for children with special educational needs due to lack of funding. In a small village, there are no other options for these children. They are being failed before being given a chance.”
We have got a great chance to campaign this summer to get the government to deliver on fairer funding for childcare providers, to make sure parents can access quality, affordable childcare in the future. Don’t miss this opportunity to add your voice to the Fair Future Funding campaign.
Representatives from the Early Years Alliance will return to the post to answer some user questions
By Neil Leitch
What is baffling to me, is that whilst the funding crisis has occured in primary education, we now have several new and greater layers of pay scale implemented into schools. With the academies and MATs, there are now whole groups of CEO and support staff who are on the highest pay structures (which are levels of pay which did not exist just a few years ago). To my knowldge, which is of many schools, there has been no positive impact to the children's learning with the implementation of these roles and departments. What is clear, however, is that funding and autonomy is at is absolute lowest in my lifetime and yet we now have the biggest financial HR burden in schools which has occured in my lifetime. And this financial outgoing did not exist 5, 6, 7 years ago - and it has yet to produce anything constructive or real to improve how teachers foster learning in young children.
If you want to talk about nd protest underfunding. Fine. Good.
Why is everyone so quiet about the very expensive elephant in the room?
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