Children: Day Care

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th October 2021.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) support the sustainability of the childcare sector and (b) facilitate access to affordable and high-quality early years providers.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Early years are a vital part of a child’s education, enabling them to develop the cognitive, social, and emotional skills that set them up for life.

To facilitate access to affordable and high-quality early years provision, we have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past 3 years on the government’s early years entitlements. This financial year the department is investing £44 million for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers.

The department is also investing £180 million on education recovery in the early years, to support the youngest children’s learning and development.

With regard to sustainability, despite the reduction in the number of children in the age range for early years provision, the number of childcare places on Ofsted’s early years register has remained broadly stable since August 2015, at around 1.3 million places.

Ofsted also has regard to the early years foundation stage framework in carrying out its inspections and reporting on the quality and standards of early years provision and, overall, quality in this sector is very high with 96% of all childcare providers on Ofsted’s early years register judged either Good or Outstanding at their most recent inspection, the highest level ever.

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