MP Luke Pollard Visits Tops Stonehouse for Early Years Advocacy

Luke Pollard MP has praised Plymouth’s “top class” childcare providers on a visit to Tops Day Nursery in Stonehouse, following his debate in Parliament on childcare in the South West.   

Mr Pollard joined Sam Butler, Senior Nursery Manager and Morgan Johnson, Deputy Manager at Tops Day Nurseries Stonehouse, to speak with parents, staff and apprentices about the critical role of childcare and apprenticeships in the early years sector.

Earlier this month, Mr Pollard called a debate in Parliament on childcare in the South West, urging the government to improve parents’ access to affordable childcare and to provide more support to nurseries in the face of rising costs and recruitment challenges.

The visit aimed to underscore the importance of accessible childcare services and the invaluable contributions of Plymouth’s talented and hardworking childcare apprentices.

During Mr. Pollard’s visit he spoke to parents including, Jakki Burrows and Toni Berry, who also works as a 1:1 SEN practitioner at the setting. Mr Pollard emphasized the pivotal role of childcare in helping parents to get back to work and in supporting children’s holistic development.

All Tops settings will offer 15 hours of childcare from April 2024, extending to children from 9 months to 3 years by September 2024, and 30 hours for eligible children up to school age by September 2025.

Mr. Pollard spoke to Zsuzsanna Lazar, a Level 3 apprentice, working at Tops Stonehouse Nursery, and part of their sister company, Aspire Training Team, gaining insights into her roles and experiences.

Zsuzsi highlighted the significance of her apprenticeship in gaining practical experience and essential skills for her future career. Moreover, she offered suggestions for how the government can improve the apprenticeship experience.  

Luke Pollard MP, Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said:

Plymouth has top class nurseries like Tops, but too many are struggling to stay afloat because of spiralling costs and recruitment challenges.  

“I have been making the case in Westminster for the government to do more to support Plymouth’s nurseries as well as parents struggling to access affordable childcare.  

“I want to thank the parents, apprentices and staff at Tops for speaking with me about their experiences. Every family in Plymouth should have access to affordable childcare.”

Speaking after the event, Samantha Butler, Senior Nursery Manager said: “We thoroughly enjoyed having the visit from Luke Pollard MP, where we had positive conversations regarding apprenticeships and current funding difficulties that the early years sector face and the impact that this has on many settings, staffing levels and the effect upon our children and families.”

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