Famly Briefing
#21
All the important nursery news, none of the fuss.

The summer days may be waning and the winter winds winding their way towards us, but chilly weather alone will never stop us from bringing you the stories that matter.

This month we have updates from the DfE’s own report on 30 hours, and some pretty shocking figures about nursery closures since the scheme came into place.

There’s news on Labour’s plans to increase funded childcare, a progress update on the campaign for the dropping of business rates and a whole host of studies and research to get your teeth stuck into.

1. The 30-hour legacy

Three reports that have been released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the 30 hours funded childcare scheme make for damning reading.

The Department for Education’s own report, made in collaboration with 12 local authorities produced some worrying figures. Including:

  • 62% reporting that their parent paid fee was higher than the funding rate they received.
  • 39% reporting a reduction in their profit or surplus.
  • 25% either moved from making a profit to breaking even or from a profit or breaking even to making a loss.
  • 2% of mothers reporting that they had entered work as a result, while 27% reporting an increase in working hours.
  • More than half of parents having to pay additional charges.

Here is the government’s official response to the survey, and a rundown of the responses from PLSA, NDNA and PACEY.

++ A PLSA survey has found that four in ten providers fear closure in the next 12 months. The survey of providers and parents also found that half of the parents are paying increased fees after the 30 hours offer.

++ A further survey by the NDNA has revealed that nursery closures have increased by two-thirds since the 30 hours funded scheme was introduced. In all, 121 nurseries have closed.

++ Education Secretary Damien Hinds isn’t worried. More councils are bowing to pressure on using the term ‘funded’ rather than ‘free’.

2. Labour pledge expanded funding

At their party conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced their plans to expand the 30 hours scheme under a Labour government. He pledged 30 hours of ‘genuinely free’ childcare to all two, three, and four-year-olds with no means testing.

Shadow Childcare Minister Tracey Brabin has vowed a funding rate of £7.35 during a speech at the Childcare Expo Midlands. They are proposing a tiered system of subsidised childcare, where the lowest earners will receive the most support. Here’s a roundup of the sector responses to the proposed plan.

3. Business rates: Two down one to go?

Welsh nurseries will be exempt from business rates as of April 2019. All childcare properties will receive 100% rate relief, with the government estimating this will save providers a total of £7.5 million over three years.

With Scotland already announcing the change themselves, the pressure has stepped up on England to offer the same respite to providers. You can sign the petition on business rates in England here.

4. Time to put nutrition on the agenda

This month, we’ve brought out another free guide just for you. This time it’s all about early years nutrition, and features expert advice from pediatric dietitian Lindsay Gilbert. It contains everything you need to revolutionise mealtime and encourage better attitudes towards healthy eating at your setting.

You can see all the other free guides we’ve produced and get your own copy of them here.

++ Using food as reward and punishment is widely regarded as a bad idea, but it’s been found that parents are prompted by fussy eating to do just that. It’s also been revealed that fussy eaters still grow up perfectly healthy.

5. The month in child development

There are so many fascinating studies and reports out this month we barely have space for them all. Here are the highlights:

6. The Airbnb of Childcare

A startup in Silicon Valley in the US has been dubbed the ‘Airbnb of childcare’ by helping licensed early years practitioners to launch childcare businesses at home. The Wonderschool app helps practitioners to get assistance with training, and otherwise help them to set up a business at home.

7. Is childcare failing the disadvantaged?

A new report from CEEDA has found that childcare access is falling in the most disadvantaged areas. The report found that the number of childcare places per head has fallen in the most deprived areas, despite rising in the least deprived.

The government has also released a report tracking the reduced take-up of the two-year-old entitlement. The report shows that a barrier to take-up is in part due to the reluctance to offer the two-year-old places because they are less ‘financially lucrative’.

8. Parents need to stop yelling

Here’s a great one to pass onto your parents. The New York Times with a brilliant piece on why parents yell at their children and the damage that it causes. ‘Yelling may be the most widespread parental stupidity around today.’

++ More than half of all men in the UK would like to be more involved in childcare.

10. In other news

+ The results are in. See the full list of Nursery World Award Winners for 2018.

+ The powerful story of a three-year-old who learnt to use a cane in time to start nursery.

+ Are you a naptime wonder? Childcare.co.uk has started advertising for bedtime nannies that put children to sleep for £50 an hour…

+ A nursery worker in the US was appalled to learn that a boy struggling with English was actually fluent in Klingon.

+ Struggling for ideas for your next nursery event. Maybe don’t follow in the footsteps of this Chinese nursery that hired a pole dancer for their first day back at nursery.

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