The early years agenda survey covers the five policy areas of funding, qualifications, schools, childminder agencies and Ofsted.
It asks practitioners to indicate whether or not they agree with a variety of Government decisions and plans on these topics, including the introduction of early years teachers and early years educators, the removal of ratios for out-of-hours providers, proposals to inspect only a sample of registered childminders, and making Ofsted ‘the sole arbiter of quality’.
It also invites respondents to describe the most positive and negative aspects of working in the early years sector.
The results will underpin the Alliance's forthcoming early years manifesto for Government, a plan of action for the future of the sector which will form the centrepiece of the alliance’s annual member event in Birmingham on 6 June.
The manifesto will be based on three principles:
- The needs of the child must always be at the centre of all decision-making.
- Policy should be based on an extensive body of evidence rather than the personal views of government ministers or other policy-drivers, such as Ofsted.
- Consulting with the early years sector should be the first step of policy development, not the last.
The Alliance's chief executive Neil Leitch urged as many practitioners as possible to take part in the survey.
‘As the UK general elections draw closer, the political focus on childcare and early years continues to intensify,'he said. 'We’ve seen promise after promise and pledge after pledge made to parents about improving the availability and affordability of childcare, but due to a continued lack of any meaningful consultation with the sector, many of these policies are unrealistic, unsustainable and simply unworkable.
‘We believe it’s time that practitioners professionals with the knowledge, experience and passion for early years are placed at the centre of the early years debate.’
- The survey can be found here