Steve McCabe – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Steve McCabe on 2016-09-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department’s funding of free early education of the conclusions of the report of the Family and Childcare Trust, Driving High Quality Childcare: the role of local authorities, published on 11 August 2016, on the proportion of local authorities which use such funding to encourage graduate-led care.

Caroline Dinenage

We recognise that high quality childcare improves children’s long-term educational outcomes and helps close the gap in attainment between the most disadvantaged children and their peers. We want to enable all children, whatever their background and individual needs, to access high quality early education. Investment has an important part to play in achieving continued improvements in quality. We have committed over £1 billion more per year by 2019-20 to fund the early years entitlements – this includes £300 million per year from 2017-18 for a significant increase to the rate paid for the two, three and four year old entitlements.

We know that high quality childcare has the most significant impact on those from disadvantaged homes. Therefore it is important that funding is targeted at those areas and children who need it most. This is why we propose an additional needs factor in the early years national funding formula, on which we are currently consulting. This will channel funding towards local authorities with a higher relative proportion of children with additional needs.

Whilst we know funding plays a role in the quality of childcare, we also recognise the importance of the early years workforce in improving quality and delivering better outcomes for children. That is why we are committed to publishing an early years workforce strategy. The Government currently delivers early years initial teacher training places in England. We fund eligible graduates to undertake the training, and provide student bursaries. Information about training routes is available on the Get into Teaching website at: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/