Alliance comments on Labour’s children’s centre expansion plans

8th February 2015

Commenting on Labour plans to increase the provision of childcare places through children’s centres, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“It’s vital that all children, regardless of background, have access to high-quality childcare and so we broadly welcome plans to increase the availability of childcare places through Sure Start children’s centres. However, it would be short-sighted to suggest that such an initiative would not require additional funding from government.

“Research has shown that the free entitlement offers for two-, three- and four-year-olds are already substantially underfunded. As such, this longstanding issue would need to be tackled before any requirement on children’s centres to deliver childcare could be imposed.

“It’s also important to remember that children’s centres offer more than just childcare - they are a vital source of information, advice and support for parents and families. Any plan to expand the use of children’s centres would therefore need to take in account the need for adequate funding not only for high-quality childcare provision, but also the improvement and sustainable delivery of family information services.”

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Notes for editors

  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  2. Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  3. For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website: www.pre-school.org.uk

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