LYNNE NICHOLLS, of Lower Drive, Dawlish, writes:
I would like to put on record my thanks to Denise Tupman whose article in last week’s paper was extremely enlightening with regard to the funding problems early years child care providers are experiencing.
It made me curious as to when all this so called ‘free’ childcare started so I did a bit of research.
It seems it all kicked off back in September 2010 when the Conservative led coalition government introduced 15 hours per week of free child care for 3-4 year olds for qualifying working parents.
This offer was later increased to include 2 year olds from disadvantage families.
Come 2015 there was a general election which the Conservatives won. In their manifesto was a promise to increase the number of free hours for 3-4 year olds to 30 per week by 2017.
Just by typing the words ‘David Cameron free childcare’ and then using a search engine, I came across quite a few articles from as early as April 2015 showing that not only was it anticipated that the promised 30 hours per week would be underfunded, but that the already established 15 hours per week had already set such an underfunding precedent.
So there we have it. It seems the consequence of the underfunding of ‘free’ childcare has been a slow burning crisis and one which has been in the making since 2010.
Chronic government underfunding has now led to the present perilous financial state of those businesses concerned with early years child care.
If nurseries continue to close and childminders to leave the profession, then the 30 hours free child care which the Chancellors proposes be extended to children aged from 9 months will prove to be nothing but an empty promise.
Indeed, it could easily make a presently very bad situation into a disastrous one. For an explanation as to why this could be read the article found via this link https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/mar/19/this-will-be-the-end-of-nurseries-preschools-in-england-warn-of-closures-amid-free-childcare-expansion-plan
Free childcare from 9 months is brilliant, but only if there are enough childcare settings to be able to access this care and without the correct funding there won’t be.
Parents (and potential parents) please be aware!
You can read Denise Tupman’s article at: