The Labour party manifesto brings in a new policy on early education and childcare. It extends the government’s 30 hours of free childcare programme to the parents of all two-, three- and four-year-olds and improves the training of childcare workers. How new or radical is this policy? Can it deliver?
In my new book Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: A memoir of work in childcare and education (Routledge) I explore the changes in early education and childcare policy over the last 50 years, from the point of view of someone working in the services and trying to change them. On 6 November, a conference at the UCL Institute of Education, Looking Back, Looking Forwards, will take the debate further.
When I began as an early years teacher in London 50 years ago, there were three (more…)
Antonia Simon and Charlie Owen
A large body of research evidence shows that good quality childcare makes a big difference to children’s start in life. However, according to new research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, many children do not have access to childcare of a sufficient standard to achieve good developmental outcomes.
Children, especially those under three, the study argues, often do not receive childcare from highly qualified staff. This is important because evidence from research such as the IOE’s Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education programme (EPPSE) indicates that higher staff qualifications contribute significantly to a preschool setting’s quality. The implication is, therefore, that youngsters who miss out on top quality staff are likely to fall behind youngsters who don’t.
But could the problem relate to childcare workers’ shockingly low pay? (more…)