Emily Thornberry – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Emily Thornberry on 2015-11-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to increase the number of qualified staff working on early education settings.

Mr Sam Gyimah

The extended free childcare entitlement for working parents of three- and four-year-olds will provide eligible parents with 30 hours of free childcare per week. The government provides guidance in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which sets out the ratios within which providers must operate. We expect providers to recruit accordingly, and that the market will respond to demand in local areas. The childcare market has proven that it is adaptable as demonstrated by the increase of 230,000 places since 2009. The timetable for implementation of the extended entitlement ensures that the market has time to expand.

The quality of provision is central to ensuring benefits to children, and the main driver of quality in a setting is its workforce. The qualification levels of the childcare workforce has risen over recent years and we want the sector to continue to attract highly qualified staff with a strong aptitude for working with young children to deliver good quality childcare.

We are taking steps to improve the process for those training to become Early Years Educators and Early Years Teachers. In 2016, the government will review progression routes within the sector to determine what more can be done to enable good quality staff to maximise their potential and forge a successful career within early years. This will build on existing investments in staff training and development that have brought high performing schools and private, voluntary and independent providers together to share good practice and improve transition into school for young children.