This week has seen the launch of all parties’ election manifestos and it’s been interesting to see how high up the list childcare has come for the 3 main parties. Yesterday, the Tories probably gave us the biggest surprise when they pledged to double free sessions for 3 and 4 year olds to offer 30 hours per week for ‘working families’. However, the devil will be in the detail – the current offer is universal, so not linked to whether you work or not. Will any extension be the same, or will it somehow be ‘means tested’. Will the funding mess be sorted out, as the current system is completely unsustainable – any increase in under-funded hours will undoubtedly see nursery closures.
This press release from the NDNA outlines the very real risks to the sector. The usual maxim seems to apply in this instance – they’re all as bad as each other!