As part of Childcare & Early Education week, we asked Diane Wycherley, our Director of Early Years Quality, some questions about some of the current problems facing childcare today.
What are the issues we are facing with funding in the early years?
“The underfunding of the early years is crippling. The current level of funding we receive does not cover the team, building or resource costs to provide top quality early years education on its own. We are forced to gain extra funds from other means to offset the huge gap of funding and the actual cost of providing early years education. One of the negative impacts this has is on staffing, we’re in a staffing crisis as people are leaving the sector all together to work in supermarkets for more salary than what they would receive working in the early years, and this is one of the main issues that stems from lack of funding”.
Why do we need more funding in the early years?
“More funding will help increase our credentials as early years educators, we are not seen as teachers who support children to grow, flourish and explore. Our teams are paid so little for the hugely important role and responsibilities they hold, educating the youngest people in our society. Good quality early years education has the biggest impact on a child, their brain develops up to 90% by the time they are 5, and as early years educators we are supporting the critical growth of their neuropathways for language, attitude, behaviour, motivation, life skills, social and emotional functions but this is not reflected in the funding rate we receive.
We are education professionals who can shape future generations, proven in so many other countries who place early years as a priority agenda providing the support, resource and funding it needs as they understand the impact it has in later life.”
What do you want to see change following the events of the APPG Childcare Week 2023?
“I want the sector to be heard and respected and the early years education policy to be reflected upon with voices and professionals of the early years sector. We need better pay to encourage more people to work in the early years and to entice those who used to work in the early years to re-apply, so that they can continue a job they’re passionate about.”
How can parents get involved and highlight the funding issues in early years?
“One of the key ways in which parents can get involved and highlight the funding issues is by sharing their own experiences and stories. By sharing their struggles and successes, they can help to make the case for increased funding in the early years. Ways to do this include, posting to social media or writing their concerns to their local MP”.
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