Alliance welcomes House of Lords report into affordable childcare

24th February 2015

  • House of Lords Affordable Childcare Committee’s final report calls on government to ‘address the under-funding of free early education places in the Public, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector’.
  • An independent report commissioned by the Pre-school Learning Alliance last year revealed that government funding for the free entitlement scheme currently only covers the cost of four out of every five places - leaving childcare providers to make up the shortfall.
  • Responding to the Alliance’s report last year, the Department for Education stated: “It is nonsense to suggest that childcare has been underfunded.”

Commenting on the House of Lords Affordable Childcare Committee’s final report, published today, which has called on the government to address underfunding in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) childcare sector, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance said:

“We warmly welcome the findings of this report and the acknowledgement that, contrary to the government’s constant denials, the childcare sector is indeed significantly underfunded and that this is an issue that must be addressed as a matter of priority.

“It is vital that all children, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are able to access high-quality early education — but quality costs. At the moment, the government is demanding a first-rate service on second-rate funding — and as a result, more and more providers are being forced to raise the cost of paid-for childcare hours to stay afloat. Neither providers nor parents should have to carry the financial burden of a scheme that the government claims to be adequately funding, and the Department for Education should never have allowed this situation to go on for so long.

“It is crucial that the government takes the findings of this report seriously and finally accepts that tackling free entitlement underfunding is vital if we are to build a sustainable, affordable and high-quality childcare sector. We hope that the DfE will work with the sector going forward and engage directly with those on the frontline in order to find a viable solution to this long-running problem.”

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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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