Alliance calls for funding uplift in response to Queen's Speech
By Rachel Lawler
The Alliance has called for a "significant uplift" in funding for children under five as the government highlighted support for the early years in the Queen's Speech on 12 May.
The speech made reference to the introduction of measures to support children in their early years, and also to address learning loss as a result of the pandemic.
In her speech, the Queen said: "Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years. My Ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high quality education and is able to fulfil their potential."
The measures proposed include promoting 'Family Hubs', digitising the Red Book and "developing a modern, skilled workforce", as outlined in the government's The Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days, published in March 2021.
In response, the Alliance has called for increased funding to help providers support children and families.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "While we warmly welcome the reference to new early years measures in today’s Queen’s Speech, it remains to be seen what these will look like in practical terms.
"The government has made clear its intention to provide greater support to new parents and children in the first 1,001 days, but if we are ever to close the disadvantage gap and make sure that all children are given the best possible start in life, ministers must also commit to ensuring that early education providers are given the funding they need to deliver affordable, sustainable, high-quality care and education over the long term.
“Many early years professionals remain deeply concerned about the impact of the pandemic on young children’s social and emotional development. As such, it’s vital that the measures announced today include a significant uplift in the amount of recovery funding afforded to under-fives – the majority of which attend PVI settings – if we are to offer every child of the pandemic the same chance to succeed as those born at any other time."