What does a Tory government mean for the sector?

Last Friday I’m sure you were as shocked as we were when we woke up to discover that the Conservatives were on the brink of a majority, but what does a full Tory government mean for the childcare sector?

After a little search online we have gathered some of the thoughts out there from key organisations within the sector regarding the future of Early Years under the new government.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance released a statement saying:

“We look forward to working closely in partnership with the new government to achieve our joint aim of building an affordable, quality and sustainable childcare system”.

“It is now vital that the Conservative party ensures that its pre-election pledge to extend the free entitlement for three- and four-year-olds to 30 hours a week is properly funded, assuming they are to proceed with the plans. As such, we are calling on the new government to honour its commitment to review early years funding rates, and to fully engage with the sector to ensure that these rates do in fact reflect the true cost of delivering places.”

“It’s clear that an open, honest and collaborative relationship between the new government and the sector will be vital in ensuring the long-term success of the early years. The Alliance will continue to speak out on behalf of early years providers to ensure that they are given the support they need to deliver quality provision for children and families.”

Chief executive of PACEY, Liz Bayram, highlighted that the focus needs to be on the quality of childcare, ensuring it is at its highest at all times and that the professionals in this sector are recognised for their hard work.

“’With more investment in childcare to support working families a central theme of this election, PACEY has remained focused on ensuring that the dual importance of tackling childcare costs for families, and supporting high quality care for children is understood by all parties. This will continue to be our focus with the new Conservative government”.

“PACEY will push for greater recognition and status for all childcare professionals who remain poorly rewarded for the vital work they do. We will be looking to this new Government to put in place the support and investment the sector needs to continuously improve and, through this professional development, rise to the new responsibilities being placed on settings”.

“Not only does high quality childcare give children the best start in life and help families balance work and home life, it leads to a more sustainable childcare sector”.

“Our priority will be to move the debate purely from issues of cost and accessibility to ensuring that childcare quality takes centre stage. We know that childcare of the highest quality is what makes the most difference to children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

‘We very much look forward to working with our colleagues in the childcare sector, as well as those newly elected MPs set to work on this key issue, to talk to them about the fantastic work our members do every day – and how we can build a sustainable and effective early years sector”.

The National Day Nurseries Association highlighted that there is more investment required in the sector, expanding on the free provisions parents receive as the Conservatives have promised. They went on to say that the funding reform they have proposed is welcome news for the sector and that they look forward to working with the new MPs to ensure this sector thrives.

Our views? As long as the new government works with those in the sector and sticks to the promises they have made, there is a bright future. The promise of support for apprenticeships and providing a higher quality of education will help ensure that our children really do get the best start in life, but there is still a long way to go! Funding and capacity are key; the demand for places is much higher than what is available, and with the promise of expanding free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds, further details are needed on how this will be sustainable for the childcare settings themselves.  We urge the government to ensure that settings don’t lose out financially because of free entitlement. We’re also seeing a shortage in the number of staff qualifying for Level 3 qualifications, due to the GCSE requirements. The government needs to consider the impact this is having on the childcare sector.

Do you think the Conservatives will honour their plans for the sector?