Third of schools piloting twos scheme concerned about making provision work

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A third of schools piloting provision for two-year-olds have reported problems with sources of funding and concerns about future financial sustainability, Government research has found.


The majority of schools in the pilot said they were able to support the learning and development, as well as the emotional needs of two-year-olds

The report, commissioned by the DfE, presents initial findings from a survey of 49 schools currently trialling provision for twos. The research by the National Children's Bureau and Frontier Economics examines approaches to developing places for twos during the current academic year.

It reveals that 34 per cent of the schools surveyed had found it 'not easy' to identify and allocate sources of finance for twos. Thirty-seven per cent were concerned about the sustainability of offering places.

The main reason for offering places was 'to increase the school readiness of two-year-olds to improve outcomes'. The majority of schools said they could support the learning and development and emotional needs of twos.

Thirteen schools said they were finding it difficult to develop their workforce to provide experienced and trained staff.

Eight in ten schools had started to deliver places, with the majority doing it themselves and almost all provision based on the school site. Just one in ten planned to work with private providers or children's centres.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, 'The Government has been so eager to push ahead with its plans to place two-year-olds in schools - despite the continued opposition of parents and providers - that it has neglected to fully consider whether these plans are workable in practice.

'The sector's calls for increased funding for the scheme have been ignored by Government, and yet here we have schools citing the same concerns.'

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said the survey indicated that schools have the potential to provide childcare. 'As trusted services, many parents want schools to support them with their childcare arrangements. As with all support for twos, it will need to be of the highest quality if disadvantaged children are to benefit.'

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