Shadow early years minister Tracy Brabin MP is inviting nursery owners, staff and childminders to take part in a survey looking at the potential impact of the 30 hours of funded childcare on settings ahead of the introduction of the policy in September.
Ms Brabin told Nursery World that since being appointed shadow early years minister last week, she has been inundated with e-mails and phone calls about the 30 hours.
She said, ‘I firmly believe that free childcare is a good policy in principle, the manifesto I recently stood on committed to extending free childcare to two-year-olds as well.
‘I say this only to show that I want the policy to work. However, it is with regret that a high proportion of all the e-mails and calls I’ve received aren’t heralding the 30 hours as a welcome step, instead they often express deep concern and anxiety about what is going to happen in September.
‘Whether it is parents worried they can’t get their eligibility code from the Government website, nurseries worried about remaining viable or concerns from the sector that the financial squeeze will result in a drop in standards.
‘I’m going to be honest; I’m very concerned by what I am hearing. I’m also realistic about where we are, the September introduction is just around the corner and the end of August application deadline is even closer. Added to that, Parliament is about to go on its long summer break, which means I won’t be able to get answers from Government ministers until after the policy has been introduced.
‘Time isn’t on our side so I’m asking for your help. You deliver vital childcare day in day out so I want to hear your story.
‘Whether you’re enthused by the opportunities the 30 hours brings or staying awake at night concerned your nursery will go out of business – I want to hear from you. Your perspective will help me do my job and scrutinise the Government when required. Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey, in as much or as little detail as you like, and tell me your story.’
- To take part in the survey click here