Famly Briefing
#35 - December

All the important nursery news, none of the fuss.

This month, the Famly Briefing, much like the rest of the country, is focusing on the upcoming general election.

We’ve got a breakdown of every main party manifesto, along with some pretty fascinating figures from CEEDA and the Early Years Alliance on how the different party’s pledges will match up to the funding shortfall. In the videos below, you can also hear from the Alliance’s Neil Leitch on what he thinks about the promises being made.

But that’s not all that’s going on in the world of early years this month. We’ve also got analysis on some fascinating reports, a bunch of interesting child development studies, and some of the best opinion pieces we found in November. So read on!

1. What do the manifestos say about early years?

The sector is once again making headlines as each party makes their childcare pledge to try and woo the parent vote.

Below, you’ll see our breakdown of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green offers. Hot off the press is a report by CEEDA, analysing how far each party’s pledge will go to reducing (or increasing) the funding gap, currently placed at £556 million. It reveals:

  • The Conservatives Manifesto offers no increase in rates, and with their pledge to increase National Living Wage, the shortfall is likely to rise by almost £300 million, up to £824 million.
  • The Labour Manifesto pledges an increased offer and increased rates, which at full rollout is likely to decrease the shortfall to £80 million.
  • The Liberal Democrat Manifesto offers more hours, for more children, from an earlier age, but also comes with increased funding. Their estimated shortfall would be £314 million, although a phased introduction and annual reviews to the rates could soften this.

With that in mind, here is our analysis of the main party pledges:

Party
Offer
Funding rate
Workforce
Also…
Conservatives
– No change
– 15 hours for some 2-year olds
– 15 hours for all 3-4-year-olds
– 15 additional hours for working families of 3-4-year-olds
– Over 38 weeks
– No change
– Current average 2-year rate: £5.27
– Current average 3-4-year rate: £4.66
– National Living Wage increase to £10.50 by 2024
– £250m a year for three years plus a further £250m for “Wraparound childcare”
– A review of business rates
Labour
– 30 hours for all 2-4-year-olds
– 38 weeks a year
– Increased rates
– Average 2-year-olds reate: £7.57
– Average 3-4-year-olds rate: £5.19
– All money will go straight to the provider
– National Living Wage increase to £10 by 2020
– Transition to graduate-led workforce
– Recruit extra 150,000 early years staff
– Introduce national pay scale with 10% pension contribution
– 60 extra hours per year at subsidised rates decided by income
– £1 billion to fund Sure Start centres
– Replace Ofsted with new local bodies
– Extend maternity leave to 12 months
Liberal Democrats
– 35 hours a week for every 9-month to 4-year-old
– Over 48 weeks of the year
– Increase rates
– Average 9-24-month-olds rate: £7.86
– Average 2-year-olds rate: £7.21
– Average 3-4-year-olds rate: £5.32
– All early years settings required to have training programme
– Long-term – all settings to have one graduate-level worker
– Annual review of funding rates
– Replace Ofsted with new HM Inspector of Schools
– Triple EYPP to £1,000
– £1 billion for children’s centres
– Raise paternity from 2 to 6 weeks
– Replace business rates with land-value levy
Green Party
– 35 hours a week from 9 months
– No information
– No information
– Keep children in play-based early years until 6
– Replace Ofsted with collaborative local system
– Replace business rates with land-value tax

Nursery World have also covered what the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru have pledged in their manifestos for childcare.

+ There’s been lots of campaigning going on around the election. The Early Years Alliance have reopened their Fair Future Funding campaign, where you can fill in a short form that will send a personalised letter to your local MP. The NDNA have published their early years manifesto. And Early Education are joining with 140+ other organisations to put #ChildrenAtTheHeart of this general election.

2. 500 settings closing every month

Ofsted have revealed that more than 500 early years settings closed every month on average between April 2018 and March 2019.

It’s yet another worrying sign that the years of underfunding and a dire recruitment situation are taking its toll on the sector. The news was followed up late in the month by the announcement that Great Yarmouth Community Trust is going into liquidation, taking with it eight nurseries and two other educational facilities. The trust had been supporting up to 450 families and employed 136 staff.

+ After some excitement that last month’s ICO ruling would finally mean that we’d see the DfE’s funding calculations, an appeal by the government is likely to kick the issue into the long grass. The government had been told they’d have to reveal the data on November 14 but the appeal will now drag on well into the new year.

+ Researchers at the London School of Economics have revealed that only “high-quality” provision has a measurable impact on outcomes, and that expansion of provision via funding does not prove very successful at improving child development.

3. 97% of nurseries are still good or outstanding

Despite the furious pressure that so many of you face in this sector, you are still delivering for the ones that matter the most.

This month, Ofsted revealed that yet again 97% of nursery providers have been judged as good or outstanding, while childminder numbers continued to decrease despite an overall slight increase in childcare places being offered.

At the wonderful Nursery World Business Summit last week which I was luckily enough to attend, we heard a fantastic talk from Pennie Akehurst, who ran through analysis that showed it may be a harder journey to Outstanding on the new EIF. Keep a lookout for our interview with her coming out in the new year.

4. How can we attract more men to the early years?

Men in the Early Years (MITEY) have released a guide for settings on how to recruit more men into early years education.

The guide calls on early years settings to take active measures to recruit more men, with their advice including:

  • Keeping a check on sexist workplace banter
  • Holding open days specifically targeting male recruits
  • Promoting vacancies to both fathers and mothers who have children in the setting
  • Ensuring that you’re using gender-neutral job titles such as ‘early years practitioner

+ Lifting Limits have released a report with advice on how to challenge stereotypes in the early years. In it, they note that practitioners are generally great at not reinforcing stereotypes but it’s really important to challenge unconscious gender bias in your setting, in particular around different types of play.

+ Save the children have announced that they’ll be increasing paternity leave in their business to three months.

5. The month in child development

Here are the studies worth paying attention to from the last month:

6. Ceeda release their annual report

Ceeda have released their Annual About EY report, which contains almost 62 pages of facts, figures, and information about the state of the early years sector.

It’s a great report if you ever need to refer to some concrete figures to talk about many of the issues facing the sector. It’s a compilation of original research and figures released throughout the year by various bodies including Ofsted and the DfE.

7.Opportunity areas with increased funding as EYPP is slashed

The opportunity areas programme which gives funding to 12 areas across the country, has been given an extra £18m in funding to run until 2021.

The programme aims to support social mobility in some of the most disadvantaged areas of England by focusing on improving educational outcomes, careers advice, and attracting teachers.

At the same time, EYPP has seen it’s funding slashed by 40%, according to a recent report. The money is made available to settings in order to help narrow the attainment gap.

8. This month’s interesting reads.

Each month, we want to try and use this spot in our briefing to share the best stories, ideas, and opinion pieces that didn’t quite fit into any of the other big news topics.

For more inspiring and intriguing articles, head over to our new Facebook community Always Learning, where almost 1,000 early years professionals share articles, videos, news and guides that interest them. This month:

10. In other news

+ Nursery owner and contributor to the blog Roopam Caroll, got the opportunity to challenge Prime Minister Boris Johnson live on the radio – and we’d say she did a pretty good job.

+ The Cyril and Pat book by Emily Gravett has won the inaugural BookTrust Storytime Award for under-fives.

+ Looking for an outing this weekend? The Wellcome Collection in London is running an exhibition on play until 8 March 2020.

+ I loved this adorable list that Suzanna Lindfors posted on Twitter – of the creative spelling her daughter used to make a list of ingredients for her sister’s birthday buffet.

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