New Research Childcare policy not improving child development

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

“We urgently need to decide what childcare is for in this country because, at the moment, it simply isn’t clear.  You’d be hard pressed to argue that most ‘free’ entitlements were designed to encourage child development, particularly when they fail to target those children who really need support and, like other recent childcare policies, clearly benefits more affluent families.
“The vast majority of settings are rated either good or outstanding, but we have long argued that the sector’s success in Ofsted ratings and parent surveys masks the scale of crisis we face. The fact is that the continued delivery of high-quality provision is almost impossible given the scale of underfunding and the challenges it creates, especially in the recruitment and retention of staff and the accessibility of places in deprived areas.
“The early years sector boasts a professional and dedicated workforce that’s equipped with world-leading curriculum in the EYFS. If the next government is serious about child development, then they need to think beyond what works at the ballot box and start putting our youngest children first. That doesn’t just mean increasing funding levels, it also means they being certain about the support they’re offering and how it targets those who need it most.”


About the Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 members and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is