National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) welcomes the announcement of the pilots to test 30 hours of funded childcare which should look for solutions to its challenges.
The pilots, announced today, will take place in eight local authority areas with a further 25 early innovator areas testing specific areas of delivery.
These will enable children of working parents aged three and four to access 30 hours of funded childcare each week during school term time.
NDNA’s Chief Executive Purnima Tanuku OBE said: “We have stressed all along that for this initiative to be successful, all the funding must reach the childcare providers. This important issue must be examined within these pilots as a priority.
“If sufficient funding does get through to the frontline, the sector will be able to deliver the high quality early education that parents and children deserve. The forthcoming National Living Wage which will increase the average nursery payroll by 10% from April needs to be factored in when looking at the investment needed to make this work.
“We are pleased that, alongside the main pilot schemes, there will be early innovators in 25 council areas picking up on specific aspects such as caring for children with special educational needs and disabilities. This is a particular challenge for the sector to ensure that the provision is meeting the level of need for each child and is funded appropriately.
“They also need to look at capacity for delivering this ambitious plan and the difficulties facing nurseries regarding recruitment and retention of qualified staff.”
NDNA has campaigned for eligibility testing to be simplified to make sure parents can easily access and understand it and providers are not hampered by unnecessary amounts of administration.
Purnima added: “There is a strong case for merging all the funding streams into one pot in the form of an online account for each child. We would like to see this idea embedded in the pilots and developed before the 2017 national roll-out.
“As the voice of the sector, we look forward to working with the pilot areas and the Department for Education in developing this into a feasible initiative to benefit all working parents across the country.”