Children's Centres: Teachers

Education written question – answered on 8th March 2011.

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Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Liberal Democrat, Mid Dorset and North Poole

To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will estimate the number of Sure Start centres which will no longer employ both a qualified teacher and a staff member with early years professional status following the phasing out of this requirement.

Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather The Minister of State, Department for Education

holding answer 16 December 2010

The Department for Education does not collect this data. Decisions on staffing in Sure Start Children's Centres are a matter for local discretion.

We have removed the overly prescriptive requirement for all Sure Start Children's Centres in the most disadvantaged areas to provide full day care. We have also removed the associated requirement that this provision be delivered by both a Qualified Teacher (QT) and an Early Years Professional (EYP), so that children's centres may chose to employ just one of a QT or an EYP.

In the past, children's centres in the most disadvantaged areas were required to provide full day care, i.e. 10 hours a day, five days a week, for 48 weeks a year. However, the National Audit Office Memorandum for the Children, Schools and Families Committee, December 2009, suggested that in some areas, when demand for full day care is low, money intended for other Sure Start services-like family support and outreach to vulnerable families-is subsidising the provision of early education and care.

We expect children's centres to continue to play a critical role in early education and care, including providing and encouraging take-up of free nursery education for two, three, and four-year-olds and additional hours where there is demand. Furthermore, we know the quality of early education is a key driver of good outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged children. So, where children's centres offer early education, it is crucial that this is of high quality.

The Government remain committed to investing in the quality of the early education and child care workforce, and will develop proposals to support this later this year. The recent local authority and school funding settlement provides for the ongoing support and development of the workforce. Continued national investment in the early years workforce includes the funding of places on the Early Years Professional Status programme and the New Leaders in Early Years programme which began in November.

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