The Family and Childcare Trust has published a review of the Government’s 10-year childcare strategy, Next Steps for Early Learning and Childcare, published in 2004. The report concludes that the strategy is no longer fit for purpose and fails to address the needs of young children and their families a decade on.
The report subsequently makes a series of recommendations based on the four broad aims of the 2004 strategy – choice and flexibility, availability, quality and affordability – in a bid to bring childcare policy up to date. Regarding the quality of childcare, the report recommends that the Government should ensure:
• All early years staff are qualified to Level Three and all settings should be graduate-led;
• The creation of a permanent workforce development fund to support improvements in staff qualifications;
• That funding of free early education places should be to lever up quality, with providers’ funding linked to achieving quality standards; and
• Local government should be responsible for quality improvement in their area and build local early years quality networks to support providers.
The reported concluded that the Government should commit to a new childcare strategy, and that they should set up an independent review of childcare funding.