Alliance comments on Labour Party 'Big Conversation on early years' launch

Commenting, Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief executive, said:

"We absolutely need to talk, and keep talking, about the early years. We know the first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their long-term development, and yet when we talk about education, we only talk about schools, colleges and universities. We know that strong early years provision, staffed by qualified professionals, has a dramatic impact on life chances, and yet when we talk about attainment, we only talk about GCSE and A-level results.

"The shocking loss of more than 12,000 early years providers in just five years, and the potential loss of thousands more, is clearly the result of the sustained underfunding of the sector – which itself is a result of the continued failure of government to put the early years at the centre of its education agenda.

"A conversation about how we can provide the best education, care and support for our under-fives and their families is long overdue, but this simply must include an open and honest discussion about the true cost of providing these services.  It is only with proper investment that we can ensure that all children, regardless of background, can continue to access the quality early education and care that they deserve."