Alliance criticises lack of early years focus in Labour's education recovery proposals

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

"While it is positive that Labour's post-Covid education proposal emphasises the importance of giving children opportunities to play and socialise, and supporting their mental health, it is disappointing that, much like the government's own recovery plans, there is so little focus on the early years.

"While the proposed overall spending on the early years is significantly higher than the government's current education recovery commitments, it still only appears to account for less than 1% of Labour's overall spending plans. As such, while increasing the Early Years Pupil Premium to primary levels would be a welcome first step, much bolder, more ambitious action is needed if we are to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the education of our very youngest children.

"We know that the first five years of a child's life are absolutely crucial for their long-term development, and our own research shows that the pandemic has significantly disrupted the early learning of young children across the country. We urge politicians from all parties to remember just how vital this period of education is: the early years should be at the heart of recovery plans, not an afterthought."



  • A survey carried out by the Alliance in March 2021, which received over 1,300 responses from early years professionals, found that:

    • Half of early years providers think the gap between poorer children and their peers has widened since the start of the pandemic.
    • Six in 10 say fewer children across all backgrounds at their setting are now reaching expected levels of attainment compared to before the pandemic.
    • Eight in 10 say that the government is not doing enough to support early years providers to tackle the impact of the pandemic on learning and development of young children.
  • Of the £1.7bn committed to the government's Education Recovery Programme to date, £10m (0.6%) has been allocated to pre-reception early years settings.