Alliance expresses disappointment as early years recovery spending programmes are confirmed

The Early Years Alliance has commented on the on the details of the Early Years Education Recovery Programme, which have been confirmed by the Department for Education today.

The programme, which is part of the wider Education Recovery Programme and has been allocated £153m in funding, will comprise of:

  • A Stronger Practice programme, including:
    • online training to upskill practitioners and improve their knowledge of child development;
    • access to mentoring support targeted at settings most in need; and
    • an EY innovation programme to provide opportunities for settings to explore innovative practice
  • An expansion of the Professional Development Programme 
  • A review and reform of Level 3 qualifications
  • An expansion of SENCO training to increase the number of staff in group-based providers, and childminders, with an accredited Level 3 SENCO qualification
  • Expanded numbers of places for initial teacher training in EY, to increase the supply of qualified graduates to the sector
  • Programmes to train early years practitioners to support parents with home learning.

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

“While we welcome any increased funding on early years training, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the early years recovery programme funding has been used to pay for professional development support that the sector should have already been receiving from government.  

“Though we know that qualified, well-trained early years professionals play a key role in supporting children’s early learning, many of the programmes outlined do not seem to have a clear link to specifically supporting children’s educational recovery after months of lost learning. If this programme is to have a genuine, tangible impact on those children most impacted by the pandemic, then that needs to be its focus – but this is not clear from the details released so far.

“What’s more, while the £153 million in funding is an increase from the £10m of support originally announced, it represents just 3% of total education recovery spending, which now sits at almost £5 billion. If the government is genuinely waking up to the value of supporting the early years, then it’s clear that much greater investment into supporting education recovery in our sector must be an urgent priority.”