Not enough good quality provision for 2 year-olds


Despite the Government’s pledge to offer nursery care to 260,000 of England’s most disadvantaged two-year-olds from September, a report last week highlighted that there is insufficient  “good quality provision” to provide the places.

The report, commissioned by the Sutton Trust and conducted by Oxford University, highlighted a shortfall of places for the current 92,000 children that already qualify for the funding, before the increase of 168,000 children planned for later this year.  As a result, the government are being urged to delay the roll out until the number of Good or Outstanding nursery places increases.

This is set amongst a backdrop of falling Ofsted grades across the industry.

The report states, “The importance of ensuring good quality provision cannot be overstated. Worryingly, our review suggests that much current provision is not yet fit for purpose, risking the success of the programme in achieving its stated aims.”

The Government requirements insist that only places in nurseries rated by Ofsted as “good” or “outstanding” should be offered under the scheme, however if there is a shortfall, places at nurseries with lower ratings can be used.

But the Sutton Trust education charity advised the Government to wait until it could guarantee good-quality care.

“Delaying the rollout would enable current good-quality provision to focus on catering for the most deprived 20 per cent of two-year-olds whilst allowing the time and funding to ensure that sufficient good-quality provision is available to meet the needs of the 40 per cent before this is offered as a legal entitlement.”

Liz Truss, the children’s minister, has said that the Government is taking steps to raise the quality, including developing an improved inspection protocol with Ofsted for nurseries.

“Support to disadvantaged parents and their young children is the cheapest and most important investment we can make in our society. Achievement gaps between rich and poor children are visible in children as young as 18 months, according to a Stanford University study. By the age of two, there’s a six-month gap in achievement. By the time a poor child is five, he or she will be two years behind wealthier classmates in terms of language development.

Investment in nursery care and other early intervention programmes like Sure Start doesn’t guarantee improved academic achievement, but the life skills promoted by quality early care last, and lead to lower rates of young offenders, and higher rates of staying in education.

I hope that when the Government looks at the Sutton report, it thinks big. Paying for mediocre childcare won’t bring about the changes we need. We need to invest in the future of our young people now if we are to avoid paying for their neglect later; I’d far rather fund nursery places now than beds in prison in a dozen or so years.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts below:



2 thoughts on “Not enough good quality provision for 2 year-olds

  • January 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I think the problem is not that there are insufficient good quality places available for two year olds. But that the funding is woefully inadequate so that lots of providers choose not to offer the places. The good quality provision is there, it is just not being made available to those wishing to take up a funded place. A funding issue not a quality issue.

  • January 27, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I am a childminder who lives in Bromley. As the government would like us to offer free funding I have now investigated the viability of offering this in my setting. I am aware that Liz Truss is supporting this and would like more childminders to offer the free places
    My question now is ‘why would I ?’
    Briefly this would mean offering a 3 hour slot for £3:11/hr. I would not be able to fill the hours around this and would therefore have a days pay of £9:33
    I would need to open a separate bank account to manage this funding. If I open a business account that will cost me £25 a month. Do I lie that this would not be for business ?
    There is only one lady working to support and process all the paperwork and money for all the childminders pre schools and day nurseries in Bromley. It will come as no surprise that the payments are not arriving on time
    These are just the main points that upset me
    I am working because I need to support and fund my family. I do not not see any incentive to follow through the governments scheme and feel very strongly that Liz Truss has not listened to our voices on this and many other topics


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