Childcare: Standards

Department for Education written question – answered on 28 March 2023.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential impact on the quality of childcare of a greater child to carer ratio.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government remains committed to supporting the childcare sector and providing flexibility to providers, to help more working parents access childcare. On 15 March 2023 the government announced a significant new investment in childcare, worth over £4.1 billion by 2027/28. The government also announced changes to staff:child ratios for 2 year olds from 1:4 to 1:5.

The department trusts that childcare providers know their children and their staff best. We fully support practitioners to make the correct decision on ratios, ensuring they meet the individual needs of their staff and children. The proposed changes to ratios would continue to be a statutory minimum requirement for settings, but providers can continue to work to tighter ratios if they decide that is best for the children and staff at their setting. A full response to the consultation can be found here:

Alongside the consultation, the department ran a survey of early years providers to establish the likely impact of the changes on the quality of provision. This survey has been published here:

To support staff and leadership, the department launched a new National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership in 2021. This provides training and support for early years practitioners to develop expertise in leading high-quality education and care, as well as effective staff and organisational management.

The Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well. As of March 2022, 96% of all childcare providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register were judged either good or outstanding at their most recent inspection. The department will continue to work with Ofsted to monitor this.

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