Crisis in early years provision
Drastic and urgent government action is needed to resolve shortcomings in early years education, according to the Children’s Alliance. Nursery provision is facing the biggest funding crisis in its history, forcing a record number of nurseries to close their doors – there has been a 50 per cent increase in closures in the last year alone.
Now the Children’s Alliance has partnered with early development ed-tech company, Babbu, to shed light on the crisis and how it might be resolved.
Some key demands of The Role of the Family in Early Years Education report are:
1. Government must provide funding for every region to access high-quality digital initiatives, allowing parents and families to encourage early years learning at home as well as outside the home.
2. The role of carer and secondary carer (such as grandparent or extended family caregiver) must be recognised as an integral part of the parenting process.
3. A government-accredited and approved register of digital early learning platforms is needed to support parents and children in the first five years.
4. A more targeted approach is needed to parent/carers as key enablers of a child’s learning. Bespoke training should be offered to health visitors/midwifes along with Early Childhood Education setting professionals, with the aim of boosting confidence and independence within the home.
5. Government should establish a formal review of early years provision, tackling inequalities and gaps that impact on children and families.
6. Childcare and early education provision needs continuous scrutiny in relation to rising costs.
7. The government should invest in an early education system that works for all, with all political parties prioritising early years education and childcare at the next general election.
Sue Atkins, award-winning author, and BBC, ITV and Disney's parenting expert provided a forward for the formal report. She says: ‘Families play an essential role in the earliest years of children’s lives. If families are enabled to prioritise their children’s wellbeing during this critical period, they will provide a strong foundation for their later happiness, healthiness and achievement. Currently, support for families is very fragmented across the UK and often fails to reach the very families most in need of it.’