Rt Hon John Glen MP, visited Tops Salisbury to discuss concerns within the Early Years sector on Friday 27th January 2023.
John Glen, MP, met with Cheryl Hadland, Managing Director of Tops Day Nurseries, to discuss the issues being faced in the Early Years sector.
Tops Salisbury, based onsite at the Salisbury District Hospital, are part of a nursery chain with over 30 nurseries across the South and Southwest. John was given a tour of the nursery and was shown the different room set ups and resources since his last visit; John even got to meet the nurseries chickens.
During his visit, John was introduced to, Sam one of the parents at Tops Salisbury, who also works for the NHS, John listened to Sam’s concerns and got to hear first-hand the type of challenges the local community have to face. He also met with Sam’s daughter, Genevieve, who attends Tops Salisbury and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 3. Genevieve explained to John how her specialised medical equipmentworks and how the nursery has supported her through this journey and have ensured all staff are trained in knowing what to do.
This visit was also a great opportunity to raise any concerns within the Early Years sector, Cheryl and John were joined by Andrew Dearsley, Financial Director of Tops Day Nurseries, to discuss the issues they had.
Cheryl and John Glen discussed:
- Tops Day Nurseries Queens Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development).
- The underfunding of early years provision and parents by the government, which was about half what it should be (Governments own figures) and has failed to keep up this year again despite living wage, national insurance, health insurance, inflation and utilities all increasing again this April.
- One of the results of the underfunding is not being able to pay for and retain the top-quality nursery teachers that the children deserve, and which is the best investment this country can make. There is now a national shortage of nursery teachers which is reducing availability of nursery places, and damaging the quality of education.
- The importance of apprenticeships from starting to degree level for early years staff.
- Immigration and requirements for opening up the workforce for skilled migrants which is currently difficult due DofE processes for checking foreign qualifications and very slow processing at the Home Office.
- Means testing for funding for early years places and funding to enable all children to attend for 30 hours.
- The local authorities not applying for relief on business rates for day nurseries despite notice to do this from the Department for Education and other local authorities now doing this. Wales and Scotland already refunding business rates, schools have rates refunded.
- The land and water pollution being caused by water companies allowing sewage into the environment, and the one-use plastic and micro plastics now in our food chain causing infertility and disease in humans and injuring and killing birds, whales, turtles, dolphins.
- The nurseries using bamboo toothbrushes and washable nappies.
- Air pollution, which is causing asthma and lung disease in small children.
- The nursery EV and charging points.
- Dairy milk provision for early years children being unsustainable, whereas fruit and vegetables would be more universally beneficial in terms of the children’s health, would reduce obesity and discrimination against those in the population who are milk intolerant.
- Waste costs of disposable nappies being 4% of the domestic rates bill for everyone plus £1000 per nursery p.a.
- The positive impact that Tops Day Nurseries has on children and their families lives in Salisbury, good and outstanding teaching, healthy safe environments.
Making childcare more affordable for parents and paying early years staff more can only be good for everyone, even short term more parents and grandparents could return to work thus paying more tax/receiving fewer benefits and taking pressure off employers with vacancies. Long term the benefits are vast through the children flourishing with a good start.Cheryl Hadland
It was good to meet the dedicated staff and pupils at Tops to discuss early years education and care. It is crucial we give every child the best possible start in life.John Glen MP
Tops Day Nurseries offers care and education for children from 3 months – school age, all year around for extended opening hours, as well as having an afterschool and holiday club for school age children. For more information, please call 0801 699650 or email: email@example.com