Well, the general election is finally over and we have a new all-Conservative government, who made the manifesto pledge to increase the number of funded hours for ‘working parents’ of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours per week. Childcare has already been mentioned in David Cameron’s outline plan for the next Queen’s Speech, so it seems likely that this will be high on the agenda of ‘family friendly’ policies and their drive to ‘make work pay’. The whole Early Years sector has been very nervous about the various pledges to extend the number of funded hours, as the system is currently totally unsustainable. Although the childcare minister, Sam Gyimah (staying in post in the new administration) said back last year that he thought there was ‘no problem’ with the funding system, David Cameron and Boris Johnson did announce in the last week of the election campaign that there would be a review of the funding for early years entitlement.
Sector representative, like the NDNA, will be campaigning hard to be involved in shaping any reform of the funding system, to ensure that nurseries do not continue to subsidise government policy and that a minimum rate per hour is guaranteed to providers. Do follow the debate and join the conversation – there is more information about the NDNA’s childcare challenge on their website www.ndna.org.uk.