Alliance launches post-election early years manifesto for government

18th May 2015

The Pre-school Learning Alliance has today published the Early Years Agenda, a post-election manifesto for the new Conservative government.

The manifesto focuses on three key areas of policy — funding, schoolification and Ofsted — and outlines the Alliance’s key calls to action to the new government.

It is underpinned by two key research documents — the Early Years Agenda: Interim Report, a full summary and analysis of the results of a landmark practitioner survey carried out by the Alliance; and Counting the Cost, an independent study into the free entitlement scheme, commissioned by the Alliance and conducted by independent research consultancy Ceeda.

Key calls to government include:

  • Working with the Alliance to undertake a full, in-depth review of the free entitlement funding system, including a large-scale analysis of the cost of delivering funded places
  • Introducing a statutory requirement on local authorities to collect annual data from local providers on the cost of delivering free entitlement places
  • Scrapping the proposed baseline assessment and reinstating the EYFS Profile’s statutory status
  • Implementing measures to monitor school-based provision for two-year-olds and ensuring it delivers age-appropriate care and learning opportunities to the children attending
  • Bringing early years inspections in-house
  • Implementing paid-for re-inspections, as legislated for by the Children and Families Act 2014.

The manifesto is underpinned by three key principles:

  1. The needs of the child must always be at the centre of all decision-making
  2. Policy should be based on an extensive body of evidence, not the personal views of government ministers (or other policy-drivers, such as Ofsted)
  3. Consulting with the early years sector should be the first step of policy development, not the last

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“We believe that it’s time that sector professionals set the early years agenda. For far too long, we have been faced with ill-thought-out early years policies that put economic concerns above the needs of the child; policies that have been rushed through with little to no consultation with the sector. It’s time for this to change.

“This manifesto is the result of more than a year’s work: scrutinising government legislation, gathering provider views and commissioning in-depth independent research into key areas of early years policy. Our calls to action are sensible, practical and achievable ways in which the government can support the sector in building and sustaining an affordable and, crucially, high-quality childcare system for those families that need it.

“We look forward to working with the new government to implement the changes necessary to ensure the long-term success of the early years sector.”

For further information or to interview, Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance please contact:

Shannon Hawthorne

Pre-school Learning Alliance

T: 020 7697 2503

E: Shannon Hawthorne


Notes for editors

  • Practitioners can request a free hard copy of the Early Years Agenda by contacting Information Services on 020 7697 2595 or


  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:

More press releases