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New report highlights the need for better standards of childcare

High-quality childcare plays a critical role in mitigating the effects of poverty on children, a new report published by the Family Childcare Trust and Joseph Rowntree Foundation argues.

Entitled Creating an anti-poverty childcare system, the report states that children often do not have access to childcare of the standard needed to improve developmental outcomes and calls on the government to take preventative steps in early life to reduce the risks of poverty.

It recommends moving to a fully graduate-led workforce, replacing the 2006 Childcare Act sufficiency duty with a fully funded entitlement to childcare programme for pre-school children and removing parental contribution for childcare entirely for families living in poverty.

The report also suggests that standards of childcare can be improved by re-prioritising existing spending and introducing a sustainable programme of investment over the next ten years. It insists that, although poor quality care is rare in the UK, outcomes will only be improved if we accept nothing other than extremely high standards across the board.

Commenting on the report, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “We welcome the publication of this comprehensive report, which provides not only a coherent analysis of the UK’s childcare system, but also makes a number of pragmatic recommendations on how children’s life chances can be improved through early care, education and intervention.

“At a time when there is such a strong focus on early years education and care, we hope that government policymakers read this report, and its findings, carefully and take its recommendations seriously.”