Education Committee says government ‘has more work to do’ on landmark childcare reforms

3 mins read

Thursday 27 July 2023

Tags: Childcare and early years education, SEND support

The House of Commons Education Committee today published its report, Support for childcare and the early years (2022–23).

The report calls for mandatory training in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for all early years’ practitioners. It also recommends that sources of funding for additional SEND support must also be made easier and quicker for providers to access.

The cross-party MPs who form the Education Committee recommend the government:

  • Address the huge delays in the funding which helps early years settings support children with SEND – the SEN Inclusion Fund (SENIF) – and to review the application processes for providers. 
  • Ensure that SENIF issue funding that is truly reflective of the cost of delivering specialised care for children with SEN
  • Increase the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) to match that in primary schools and widening the eligibility criteria so that more children from very low-income families can access much needed extra support for any special educational needs.

Today’s report follows an inquiry by the Education Committee examining why childcare and early years’ education has become so expensive and the workforce issues facing the early years sector.

Giving evidence at the inquiry Contact’s Early Years lead, Mary Mulvey-Oates told MPs that having a well-trained early years workforce delivering early interventions can help create positive discussions with a child’s family about disability that focus on their strengths and opportunities.

She also drove home to the committee the difficulties parents experience finding a suitable nursery place and called for “greater simplicity and clarity” for parents and providers to access SEN inclusion funding.

Have your say on the government’s proposals for early years funding for under 2s

The government are looking for your thoughts on its proposals regarding their approach to funding early years entitlements for children aged 2 and under from April 2024 and how local authorities distribute the funding to their providers.

Last March the government announced that working parents of children aged between 9 months and three years in England will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare a week, for 38 weeks a year. This will be rolled out in phases with the plan that from April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds will be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare. From September 2024, this will extend to working parents of children aged between nine months and two years.

Tell the government your views

Contact’s early years advice

Take a look at our early years advice and information including childcare and support in early years education.