Funding the children of cotton mill workers, whilst

Funding andchildcare continue to be high on the political agenda since the late 1990’s,when the state introduced free nursery funding for 4 year olds in the UK. Todaythere are many choices of childcare provision for parents in either the PVI or maintainedsector as demand increases and new government proposals are implemented.93% of the3-year-old population benefitted from some funded early education in January2017.96% of the4-year-old population benefitted from some funded early education in January2017,a decrease from 97%.

The numberof 2-year-olds benefitted from some funded early education in January 2017was 163,250,71% of the eligible 2-year-oldpopulation,this number has decreased by 2.2% reflecting a drop in birth rateduring 2014.These details and more statistics are available to view here Provision for children under five years of age in England,January 2017 (DfE 2017) Earlychildhood care in the UK emerged in the 18th century,  provided on avoluntary basis.

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First by Robert Owen (1771-1858), who established thefirst nursery school  for the children of cotton mill workers, whilsttheir families went to work. Owen’s ideas consisted of educating the childrenthrough unstructured free play, informal teaching and physical activities withchildren aged 1 -6 years, all of which went on to create the foundations for150 infant schools across the country.Yearsafter Owen’s first nursery was established,a significant event ‘The Passage of Education Act’ 1870 was passed, whichprovided a compulsory education for children aged 5-13 years.The acthighlighted the previous lack of facilities for early years children at age 5,and also removed them from the inadequate conditions of deprived housing anddangerous streets of the time. Moreover, in 1905,  it was realised thatadmitting young children below five was not adequate due to the inspectorscritical view of the repetitive and memorisation techniques used in the schoolcurriculum and as a consequence, early years children were excluded from theestablishments, it was then recommended that the early years age group hadseparate facilities and a different teaching method.Recenthistory In 1996, the conservative government introduced a pilot scheme in fourlocal authorities which provides parents with nursery vouchers worth £1,100 forup to three terms in part time education for a four year old child in private,voluntary or local authority nurseries.

 Duringthe period 1997- 2010, New Labour came into power providing a significantboost for early years children by increased public funding. Labour extendedfunding to all three year olds over 38 weeks in 2004.In 2006 the funding wasincreased again to 15 hours over 38 weeks. Nurseryfunding was given a boost again by the conservative government, this time forworking parents in 2017 with the full roll-out of 30 hours funded childcare toeligible working parents. In 1998, the Labour government launched the  NationalChildcare Strategy ‘Meeting the Childcare Challenge.’ (DfEE)  aiming toprovide better outcomes and sustainable childcare for children up to14. It also aimed for more parents to take up training by using thequality childcare that they could access, increasing parental employment andtherefore, reducing inequality.

 Numerous policies and initiatives followed, such as the 2004policy paper ‘Choice for parents, the beststart for children: a ten year strategy forchildcare’ which set out the governments vision to ensure that every child getsthe best start in life and to give parents more choice for a work-life balance.The strategy recognised the changing patterns of employment and parents to bein control of the choices they make in balancing work and family life. ‘The Childcare Bill’ (House of Commons) introduced in 2005, the main aims of the bill were to ensure high quality,affordable and flexible childcare for children up to the age of 14. The billhad a focus upon local authorities taking responsibility to shape and supporttheir local childcare market by responding to the needs of families in linewith the main aims. ‘The Childcare Bill’ used evidence from the EPPE project to show how the newpolicies outlined in the bill would have a beneficial effect on families andhighlight the importance of quality preschool provisions.

‘The Childcare Bill’ wasamended further in June 2015, it aimed to support eligible working parents byentitling them to 30 hours free childcare for children the term after they turnthree up until the child starts full time in a reception class.  The current Childcare Act 2016 recently updated to secure theentitlement for working parents of 30 hours funding for three-fouryear olds replaced the Childcare Act 2006 ,which was a significant milestone in legislative framework for the childcaresector mainly focusing on children aged birth to five years The aim of whichwas to transform the early years services and childcare provision .Thechildcare act 2006 sits within a framework of changes to children’s serviceswhich was started by the ChildrensAct 2004 and Every Child Matters programme achange for children (2004), the developments in policies and legislationovertime have highlighted the early years sector and the changes in society.

An excellent start must be an priority if children are to achievepossible outcomes and high quality early years provisions will result in betterresults for children and their families. The Childcare Act 2006 takes forwardkey commitments from the Ten Year Childcare Strategy, published in December2004. Following a pilot scheme in 2006, which trialledfree educational funding on more than 13,000 disadvantaged two year olds, sincethe rollout in 2013thereare now more eligible children (160,000 as of January 2017) 68% (2016) ,71%(2017) accessing high quality education.Recent statistics show anincrease in two year olds accessing provisions in schools in January2017,there were 11 per cent of two-year-olds in nursery schools and classes, upfrom 3 per cent in 2014 (DfE).

The funding available at Ofsted registeredchildcare settings which are rated good or outstanding for families that aredeemed disadvantaged. Moreover, by helping children who would not normally haveaccess to high quality education at an early age, there is an impact upon the socialand cognitive out-comes of the child, which is said to create a positive impactupon the families lives, well-being and parent –child relationships.Thetwo year old free educational hours also links to other benefits such as:·        Every Child a Talker (ECaT)·        HealthyChild Pathway programme.·        Narrowing the gap (2007)·        Narrowingthe gap in outcomes (Early Years 0-5) ·        Child Poverty strategy2014-2017 , following the 2010 Child Poverty Act  Thechild can have up to 570 hours in a year. Most commonly it is either 15 hours aweek for 38 weeks, or 12 hours a week spread over 50 weeks. Thisentitlement may change to be beneficial to more two year olds, followinga consultation which began 4 December 2017.

Under the newproposals, the government is looking to extend the current offer to benefitaround 8000 more disadvantaged two year olds,the proposals outlined in theconsultation include introducing a new threshold of net earnings for familiesof £15,400 per year.Thegovernment understands the importance of expanding access to high qualityeducation is essential, to give every child the best start in life and areinvesting £6 billion by 2020.                                       The views of parentswho have accessed the two year old funding offer. From 2006 all 3 and 4 year olds in England have been entitledto 15 hours of free childcare education .Theirentitlement starts the term after their third birthday with the hours to beused over 38 weeks of the year, this is the equivalent to 570 hours.

Familiesusing funded hours must use approved providers such as a registered school,childminders, day nurseries, playgroups parents can contact childcare providersor their local authority to make enquiries. If families require additionalhours they can apply for the new 30 hour funding if eligible or pay an extracharge if parents require care outside of the hours offered by the chosenprovision.Following a pilot scheme in 2016 the full roll-out began shortlyafterwards in September 2017 meaning families could access 30 hourschildcare for three, four year olds. This was a major benefit to workingparents that met the qualifying criteria. The amount of childrenaccessing the free hours during the pilot scheme exceeded the governmentsexpectations of a 5000 target.

 During the first Autumn term 2017  202,783 children wereaccessing a funded place The Early Years FoundationStage Framework  was introduced after The Tickell review (2011)  of the former framework in2008 following The Statutory Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage for children(2000)aged 3-5 and Birth to Three matters(2002) non statutory framework forchildren under three .Forall early years providers the The EYFS is mandatory  it is a single framework which combineswelfare ,learning and development requirements with more of a focus on threeprime areas of learning,and further specific areas and theintroduction of the Characteristics of Effective Learning. Theframework contains the implementation of the Progress Check at age two and the Early Years FoundationStage profile at age five using a learning goals scale to measure development .

Using the Development Matters Framework practitioners can identifythe signs of developmental delay against the expected age related outcomes.Evidence suggests that young children from disadvantaged backgroundsare of a huge benefit accessing a high quality preschool with highly qualifiedstaff, helping to break the cycle of poverty ,supporting attainment to help close the gap ,building broaderexperiences for all children accessing funded provisions.  Neuroscienceresearch shows that 80% of the child’s brain is developed by age 3 and 90% byage 5 how a high quality environment and interactions are in the development ofthe child’s brain and the earliest experiences can radically build childrensearly brain development into adulthood. A clip explainingthe sensitive periods in early brain development as described by DR.ClydeHertzman ,Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership. Thegovernments recognition of early years children has advanced over theyears,highlighting the need for investment,encouraging the standards for a highquality workforce to enable children to reach their full potential,especiallyfor the most disadvantaged to close the attainment gap.

Whilst the offer offunded childcare is excellent for families,enabling parents to seekemployment,undertake further training or to work longer hours with none orlittle childcare fees to pay,resulting in more disposable income to put intosociety to support other economic institutions such as retail.It istherefore a different story for some childcare providers,although we do notknow the full impact of the 30 hours more providers are leaving thesector. According tothe NDNA 57% of English nurseries expect to make a loss or break even as aresult of the government’s hourly funding rate being too low and the increasedrise in business costs with 47 local authorities will receive the lowestpossible rate of £4.30 per hour, referring to thepreschool learning alliance with thefunding rates set to be frozen until 2020 resulting in 14% of providers seeing a reduction in funding.

This is notgood news for providers causing nurseries to fear closure. A survey of providers conducted by the Pre-school Learning Alliance (March2017) 62.2% of all early years providers surveyed say that the funding rateoffered by the government is less than the hourly rate they chargeparents,resulting in causing providers to charge top-up fees to parents accessingthe 30 hours ,which led to a campaign for the Government to amend misleading wording “free”from the advertising of the 30 hours funded childcare.Official Ofstedfigures released show a net loss of 1,146 in providers since 2015 in spiteof this childcare on non-domestic premises seem stable


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