New petition on early years funding
An Alliance member has launched a parliamentary petition calling on the government to increase early years funding.
The petition, which currently has over 1,000 signatures, was created by staff at Cholsley Pre-school in Oxon and says low government funding levels are making it “impossible to keep [childcare] settings going”, leading to closures.
Parliamentary petitions require 10,000 signatures before the government responds to them. If a petition reaches 100,000 signatures its subject is considered for debate in Parliament. Earlier this year, ahead of the increase to the National Minimum and Living Wages, a petition calling on funding to be increased in line with rising costs reached the 10,000 signature threshold and received a response from the government. Early years funding levels have remained frozen since 2017, creating a shortfall of £662 million.
If nothing is done, the situation will get worse
Rebecca Heal, who created the petition along with her colleague Faye Turner, said: “After reading an email from the Early Years Alliance about early years underfunding, it made us realise it's not just our little Pre-School at risk it's everywhere - and if nothing is done about it, the situation will get worse. So, we thought we would start a petition to reach out to people to spread the message and hope that everyone will get behind it.”
“It's very hard for us to keep going. We have to ask our parents for help and continually keep fundraising just to be able to support the children in our care. We want to keep our standards high and give our children the best starts to life - and we want the same for every setting.”
Always worth fighting for
Neil Leitch, the chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, encouraged the sector to get behind the petition. He said: "It says something about the extent of the crisis in the early years that this is the second petition in a year to call on the government to increase funding.
“The fact is that childcare delivery costs have risen – and continue to rise - significantly in the last twelve months but funding levels have stayed the same. That’s bad news for parents struggling to pay childcare fees but it’s catastrophic for a sector which has already seen thousands of providers close due to underfunding with many thousands more facing a similar fate.
“I know some people are struggling to motivate themselves against a government that doesn’t seem to listen - but I think this petition shows there’s still fight in the sector yet and giving children the best start in life will always be worth fighting for. We should all see this as another opportunity for providers and parents to let ministers know they haven’t gone away; they’re still concerned about underfunding and they want to see action.”