Partnership working is key to building high quality and capacity to deliver 30 free hours’ childcare, says NDNA

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Press Release

There would be enough childcare places to meet demand for free places if all providers worked together to play their part, says NDNA in response to figures from Family and Childcare Trust.

Family and Childcare Trust’s annual Childcare Survey published today shows a concerning increase in local authorities reporting gaps in childcare provision.

National Day Nurseries Association Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, said: “This reported reduction in  provision could be resolved by using up capacity in private and voluntary nurseries. According to our own survey published last week, average nursery occupancy is at 72%. Therefore there is sufficient capacity within nurseries which could be used for funded places if providers’ costs were covered by Government fees.

“Our survey showed that only 45% of private and voluntary nurseries were likely to offer 30 funded hours per week next year. Now we hear that more local authorities are already reporting reduced availability for three and four-year-old places of the existing 15-hour entitlement.

“Nurseries are keen to offer more funded places, but need to know the funding given through local authorities will cover their delivery costs, so they can maintain high-quality early education and make sure their settings are sustainable.

“All types of childcare provision need to work together to make sure funded childcare works for families. It’s vital we make sure the 30 hours pilots from September test a variety of funding solutions to make sure that the full roll-out in 2017 can take place.”

Nurseries are working hard to keep the cost of childcare as low as possible for parents, which is reflected in the low fee increases in line with inflation. But bigger increases in fees are likely over the next few years due to the impact of the National Living Wage and knock-on effect of continuing underfunding of free places.

Purnima added: “We made a number of recommendations in our recent annual survey report to Government to resolve funding and staffing issues. We urge Government, local authorities and childcare providers to work together to make these promised reforms a success.”

NDNA’s own Annual Nursery Survey 2016 found the average nursery made an annual loss of £34,000 on the funded places they currently provide.

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One thought on “Partnership working is key to building high quality and capacity to deliver 30 free hours’ childcare, says NDNA

  • January 9, 2018 at 9:40 am
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    The most obvious (and most flexible childcare) is the childminder. In my area some are now retiring and some given up. I have worked as a childminder for most of my working career and am turning children away. I have no problem using the 30 hours as parents need them. I do have a problem referring my ‘turnaways’ elsewhere. Nurseries do not always open early enough and can run rigid hours, which chalk up extra hours in charges the parents do not need. Many parents also prefer the personal touch.
    The childminding population is decreasing. This I think is due to a host of reasons such
    as smaller houses and therefore less space for families to consider working in, as well as more people renting, which can be problematic. The availability of grandparents, who can take early retirement with a private pension, and the setting up of more early years group and out of school club settings can give parents enough support for them to choose to go out to work. There is also a wealth of help to pay for childcare for those on lower pay. This support was not available, when I needed to work with three young children.
    Sometimes I wish I had gone to teach in school – I miss the impending very nice pension I would have had! However, I would also have missed the variety of working days I have enjoyed and the great feeling of achievement, when a child goes off to school with a flying start. I would also have missed the satisfaction of my teaching methods being graded as Outstanding. I would love to see more childminders provide good learning foundations in collaboration with group settings ie sharing funded hours on a full daily basis, rather than fobbing off the childminder with the bits at the beginning and end of the day, which the other settings can’t provide. Most group settings I approach do not respond – until they want help with the transfer to school paperwork! As we work with only a small group of children in a face to face situation, we are well placed to move children on in their learning and in some ways can provide a more consistent approach to learning.
    I am never surprised to see childminders omitted from discussions on such subjects as funding -this valuable service is itself being served a great disservice and may not be around for much longer. I would advise other qualified teachers, to look at childminding as a worthwhile career – but sort yourself with a pension first!
    PS If nurseries worked with childminders they could increase their occupancy – they could be missing a valuable opportunity here.

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