The Trust has welcomed the development of early years learning for the most disadvantaged two year olds. However, we are concerned that an increased focus on childcare could see poorer toddlers losing out.
More needs to be done in order to employ well qualified staff in all early years settings, particularly where they are working with disadvantaged children. Early learning must be at the heart of such provision.
There should be an offer to all practitioners (including childminders) to qualifications and ongoing professional development which adequately prepares them to meet the needs of disadvantaged toddlers and their families.
The early years premium should be extended so that it enables all settings to make the most of evidence based interventions.
Access to free childcare places should be accompanied by parenting programmes that engage parents or carers and empower then to be their child’s first educator. Health visitors and other children’s services should play a stronger role in supporting attachment and parenting from birth.