PACEY's new Building Blocks report captures the views of over 2400 childcare professionals and almost 200 parents. It clearly shows that childcare services are at a tipping point. Over a quarter of the childcare professionals we surveyed are less confident about their business than they were 12 months ago. They are not planning to grow the number of childcare places they offer families and are unsure if they will be in the profession in 12 months' time.
This is at odds with government plans to grow the number of early education places, so that working families can access 30 hours of free early education by 2017.
PACEY welcomes government investment in additional early education hours. It will help families struggling with the cost of childcare and we are keen to ensure this public funding commitment supports quality care for young children.
We know the current cost of providing a free early education place is not covered by the fee most providers receive from their local authority, so we are looking forward to contributing to government's planned review of early education funding
PACEY also knows that many childcare professionals are not receiving the support and training they need to deliver this quality care. Our report confirms childcare professionals are grappling with reduce local support, huge increases in the cost of undertaking training and a lack of accessible courses.
Despite this almost all the childcare professionals we interviewed had invested their own limited resources in keeping their skills and knowledge up to date. All so they can deliver the high quality care that children deserve and rise to the demands of new responsibilities, like the new integrated review of all two year olds.
Our report shows that childcare professionals who undertake regular training and development are more confident, more sustainable and so likely to be in business for longer. We think government needs to recognise this and build on this investment, so many childcare professionals are already making. They can do this by setting out a comprehensive workforce development strategy that support childcare professionals at every stage of their career; by ensuring the fee paid for free early education covers the cost of its delivery, including development of staff, and incentivises quality improvement.
Most childcare professionals support the plans to increased early education for all three and four year olds. They know it will do a lot to help families manage the cost of childcare.
So we want to work with government to make sure that significant new investment delivers high quality places for our young children.