Scottish and Welsh elections: Call for improved funding tops the list for early years and childcare manifestos

Annette Rawstrone
Monday, April 19, 2021

Funding is a key issue in both of the National Day Nurseries Association early education manifestos, ahead of Scottish and Welsh elections in May.

Members of two of the UK's parliaments - Holyrood in Scotland and the Senedd in Wales - will be chosen by voters on Thursday 6 May
Members of two of the UK's parliaments - Holyrood in Scotland and the Senedd in Wales - will be chosen by voters on Thursday 6 May

The manifestos focus on improving the funding system for childcare places and the right support for the early years workforce to enable them to continue to support children’s development.

NDNA Scotland’s manifestoGetting ELC Right for Scotland’s Children outlines the concerns that nurseries have as the cost of delivering early learning and childcare (ELC) continues to rise, yet funding does not keep pace. Families are forced to navigate the complex landscape of funding and financial support for childcare places.

It calls for four urgent steps to get ELC right for Scotland’s children, families and nurseries:

  • The right funding for childcare places
  • The right funding system - a single childcare account for families
  • The right support for the ELC workforce
  • The right future for business rates.

The NDNA calls on the next Scottish Government to:

  • fully cost its plans for funded ELC and ensure funding is increased to cover the cost of providing high-quality care and learning
  • work with NDNA to create a family-centred Childcare Passport for ELC funding
  • continue to support ELC providers and their workforce through investment for upskilling and training the workforce across the private and voluntary sector
  • commit to extending the 100 per cent rate relief for registered childcare businesses - so nurseries can invest in children.

 

Wales

NDNA Cymru’s manifestoGetting Early Years and Childcare Right outlines the difficulties that both the childcare sector and families encounter, as funding rates flatline but delivery costs rise.

It calls for four urgent steps to get early years and childcare right for children, families and nurseries in Wales:

  • The right funding for childcare places
  • The right funding system – a single childcare account for families
  • The right recognition for the value of the early years sector
  • The right future for business rates.

The NDNA calls on the next Senedd to:

  • fully cost its plans for childcare and ensure funding  increases annually to cover the costs of nurseries providing high-quality care and learning
  • work to put the child at the heart of its childcare policy by creating a family-centred system for support. NDNA’s Childcare Passport would create a one-stop shop for all government funded hours, Tax Free Childcare, and Universal or Tax Credit payments, alongside contributions from parents. Families could then direct these payments straight to the childcare providers of their choice
  • continue to support all types of childcare providers to deliver the best possible early childhood care and education through curriculum delivery, support for workforce development and maintaining investment
  • commit to extending the 100 per cent rate relief for registered childcare businesses - so nurseries can invest in children.

 

NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku highlights how the pandemic has thrown a ‘spotlight’ onto the early years sector, bringing wider political and social acknowledgement that nurseries are fundamental to society, but the sector continues to struggle financially.

‘Nurseries care for and educate our youngest children, preparing them for a life of learning, happiness and success,’ she said. ‘They can give all children a good start in life – high quality early education is the biggest factor in reducing the attainment gap.

‘They also enable parents to work and study, becoming the fourth emergency service during the height of the pandemic, allowing key workers to carry out their crucial frontline work.

‘But as a result of years of underfunding of Government-paid childcare places, nurseries are under threat like never before. They are struggling to cover costs, which continue to rise, while attendance levels are still lower than before Covid struck.

‘As a result of lockdowns and the national depression caused by the virus, nursery workers are supporting more children with challenging backgrounds and problems at home. Practitioners need urgent support and training themselves, while childcare businesses need financial backing to help them survive this difficult period.

‘Children are our future, we must invest properly in their lives.’

More information

NDNA has also put together resources for nursery members including letters to parents and parliamentary candidates explaining its manifesto asks and a round-up of childcare pledges from all the major political parties in each country. Go to: www.ndna.org.uk/elections2021

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